AUBURN — More than 400 people flocked to Hamfest in Auburn on Saturday to shop for radio equipment and meet other “hams” — amateur radio enthusiasts.
“A lot of people come to Hamfest just to meet other people they have talked to on the air,” said Jack Dold of Auburn.
“We came up to Auburn basically to meet some of our amateur radio friends,” said Ed Thomas of Starlight in southern Indiana.
The Northeast Indiana Amateur Radio Association, a local group with around 75 members, sponsored the event. For the first time, it took place at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. It went so well, Dold said, that the group plans to return to the museum next year.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on the budgets of some “hams,” the event offered free admission and sold raffle tickets to help meet expenses.
Hamfest featured 57 tables of vendors who set up inside the museum, with even more vendors outside in the parking lot — all selling and demonstrating amateur radio and electronics products. Vendors came from as far as Michigan and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Dold, an 11-year amateur radio hobbyist, said he enjoyed meeting with fellow members of the Little Red Barn Net, an informal group of some 40 hams who talk at 9 a.m. every weekday. Dold said the group was founded by the late Bob Sievers, a beloved WOWO personality who hosted the Little Red Barn show for decades.