Last Saturday, 2-7-2015, the annual Richmond, VA Frost Fest took place at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR) complex. It was one of the best ham fests I have attended in years. There were a lot of national vendors as well as some regional ones. They had a good set of speakers including the inventor of APRS, Bob Bruninga (WB4APR), and the current ARRL President Kay Craigie (N3KN). I found some great deals for myself and had the opportunity to meet and talk with Bob Bruninga. He is a pretty sharp guy and a real asset to the hobby.
Over the last two decades ham fests all over the country have been downsizing or disappearing altogether. What was very encouraging about the 2015 Richmond Frost Fest was that it was packed almost as soon as the doors opened. It took me almost two and a half hours to get from one side of the exhibit hall to the other. I also found some great deals. Which I have not had time to play with yet. There were many hams from all over the mid-Atlantic region at this ham fest. It was certainly very encouraging to see all of the people that were there.
The Amateur Radio hobby is seeing a resurgence. However it seems that the same people who are spearheading the major ham events are same guys who were my Elmers when I was a young ham. They are getting older and it is my generation, the 30-40 somethings (20 somethings too for that matter), that need to step up and offer to carry the torch. Bob Bruninga did many awesome things for the hobby over the last three decades and continues to innovate today. Where are the Bob Bruninga’s of my generation? I can’t think of anyone in my age group that has made that kind of impact on the hobby or even has the potential to do so.
If Amateur Radio is to continue we need people of all ages to step up and take leadership and mentor ship roles. When I was a teenager the hobby made an impact on my life. It lead me to the path that my professional careers would take. Some say that ham radio is a dying hobby. I don’t believe that it is true. However, those who are involved in the hobby today need to innovate to attract continued interest and involvement. If we don’t act the hobby will fade away. Corporations are eager for our spectrum and the QRM is getting louder thanks to the same technological advancements that bring us sub $50 Dual Band HT’s. Hams still impact the community and its citizens for good every day. The only question left to ask yourself is, “What kind of impact am I going to make with Ham Radio today and for the generations to come?”
Pictures From Frost Fest 2015
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