Traveling to Hamfests

I’ve spent the entirety of my life living somewhere between seven and 31 minutes from Dayton Hamvention. Growing up, this meant nothing to me since I had no exposure to ham radio.

As an adult I thought, “Yeah, that is nice for some of my friends, I guess.” Then I became a ham and suddenly I was excited to have such great access to this show every year. The issue with this is that it was the ONLY hamfest I had ever experienced.

Then I learned other cities have hamfests and thought, “Heck yeah, let’s go!”

blimp being pictured through a window of a convention center
(Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)

I imagine it is much like growing up inside a golden castle and going to the outside world for the first time. I have had some of the greatest experiences of my life thanks to hamfests, and now I enjoy attending every show that I possibly can.

amateur radio hamfest lanyard
(Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)

Possibly because I started my hamfest life with unreasonable expectations—or possibly due to a great stroke of luck—my first opportunity to travel to a hamfest took me to Friedrichshafen, Germany.

I could write an entire piece on this place. It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you ever have even half a chance to go there, do not hesitate. Spend a lot of time in the international section…you will thank me later.

palm tree with 81 degree F superscript
(Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)

My first out-of-town show back on our rock was Orlando HamCation. Florida in February? I did mention that I was an Ohio girl for life, right?

HamCation is fabulous.

personalized ham radio coffee cup
(Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)

The weather is great and the show is even better. I met so many great hams and started a fulfilling time of networking. Found a lot of great buys, too. As the second biggest hamfest in the U.S., you do not want to miss out on being a part of this yearly meeting.

dental tools and radio rf connectors on a table
(Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)
vintage motorola ham radio on charging stand
(Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)

I went to many hamfests of all sizes after this, in big cities and small—so many that I don’t recall the order anymore. The above pictures are some treasured finds from one of the Cincinnati, Ohio hamfests that I attended. Not far for me to drive, this particular event makes me enjoy the flea market areas more than usual. I enjoy talking to the people running them and finding some wonderful items.

Some hamfests I visited were discontinued after Covid. It is a shame, too. HAMCOM in Plano, Texas, is one of these events. I was able to attend the last one they ever held, and I enjoyed it very much…even though Texas is very hot!

young boy holding a baby goat at fair
My son, KE8PZB, pictured above, was able to join me for a hamfest in Columbus, Ohio. He was thrilled to hold a baby goat this particular year. (Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)

There are several other hamfests throughout the Ohio area that I have visited. We seem to have a great state for the shows! However, I will finish this blog post talking about a bigger show and the friendliness that comes along with it. Coming up soon this year (August 19 – 20, 2023), I present the Huntsville Hamfest.

dayton hamvention team at restaurant for group dinner
Pictured above is a contingency of Dayton Hamvention people who represented our show in the beautiful town of Huntsville, Alabama. (Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)
outside of a nasa space camp visitors center
And hey, while you’re there, be sure to take an extra day and check out the fabulous NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. (Image/Elizabeth Klinc, KE8FMJ)

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at


Leave a Reply