Winterfest is one of the first hamfests for the calendar year and is hosted by the St. Louis and Suburban Radio Club. The board of SLSRC and the Winterfest committee are trying to improve the experience of Winterfest and are listening to the participants and the vendors to learn what you need. We had 45% more professional vendors, 18 of them major vendors, based on your comments from last year. Some vendors have been with us from the beginning, some for over a decade and some that were here for the first time. You asked for it and we wanted to deliver. We also continued to have our flea market folks that had antique gold for those of you who know your history of amateur radio. If you wanted a project, it was there, if you wanted nostalgia, you could find it too. If you needed a boat anchor, well…... (and it was all inside.)
Winterfest had at least fifteen clubs and groups that were enjoying the luxury of the Gateway Center. There was plenty of opportunity to talk with others and find a club or group that held an interest and a goal similar to your own.
This year with the help of the Mississippi Valley DX/Contest Club we had QSL Card Checking. This allowed amateur operators that enjoy contesting to get their contacts verified and submitted for rewards within their grasp. I suspect that this new feature of Winterfest will continue.
This year we brought back the forum, and we did so with passion. We had three great forums this year. Mel Whitten (K0PFX) spoke on the transition from analog to digital HF voice communications and the continuing significant role in the Amateur Radio communication using technology found in the open source free software application, FreeDV. (I got lost in it too.) This was followed by Mark Allen (W6PC) who instructed us on how to install our towers. He also told us how to deal with maintenance on the towers that are already in place. The last forum of the day was from a HAM that made most of us feel old. Chris Barber (WX5CW) described the development and deployment of a 5GHz based network.
A special thanks to the Cliff Cave VE testing team for coming out to administer a testing session. Several new HAMs were born along with the growth of many others, as they advanced their classification within the Amateur Radio community. Don’t forget that if you were not able to get your upgrade or you license this past Saturday at Winterfest, the Cliff Cave team does weekly testing on most Tuesdays. Check www.slsrc.org for details. Did you know that the St. Louis Metro ARES gave each new ham a new Baofeng radio? Nice job ARES.
This was a great year for Winterfest and we want to see it get even better for next year. Help us improve the best Hamfest in the Midwest and join the St. Louis and Suburban Radio Club. We want you to be involved and improve the amateur radio community in our area. We are already planning Winterfest 2017 and would love to have your help. Join us and have fun in the hobby of Amateur radio.