What Are They?
Well it’s a get together of Ham radio operators and enthusiasts interested in Amateur Radio. During these fests or festivals, Amateur Radio operators or “hams” as they are called, like to setup swap meets to buy and sell Ham radio related items as well as talk shop and provide ham radio courses and lectures. Recently, as in this year (2014), I discovered the term Hamfest and found out that people bring some of their older vintage and antique gear including microphones to swap and sell. For those looking to find vintage and antique radio equipment you might get lucky and find exactly what your looking for.
Why Should You Go To A Hamfest?
Many of the Hams are also very knowledgeable about early era radios and mics. Because many Hams are of the older generation, at least for now, they tend to shy away from Ebay and Etsy, so you can often find cheaper deals on vintage equipment like microphones. Another benefit to going is talking hams, since they are usually more than happy to share their knowledge on radios and often antiques.
The very first Hamfest I attended, I came home with a wonderful looking 1930’s Double Button Spring Carbon Microphone by Universal Microphone. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have found one of these at an antique store, at least the ones in my neck of the woods. Finding them on Ebay is pretty tough, since they don’t come up all that often and the ones you do find usually fetch a premium. Beyond mics though there are all sorts of radio parts and people to gain knowledge from. Heck by going to these you might just become a ham yourself.