|The 2010 Glacier-Waterton Hamfest|
The attendees include hams from Montana and quite a few from Canada. The Canadian side of Glacier National Park is called Waterton hence the name Glacier-Waterton hamfest. It is truly an international event with a great many friends from both sides of the border.
I must say that I've been to many hamfests and this one is by far the most unique that I've ever attended. What sets it apart from all the others that I've known is an atmosphere of family and friends for whom the gathering itself is much more important that the swapmeet, the seminars, or the club meetings. Many of the attendees have been attending the event for most if not all of their adult life and there were several father and son / mother and daughter pairings to meet. The brotherhood of amateur radio is truly a family affair in Montana and these were among some of the nicest folks I've ever met.
|One of the many rows of Ham campers|
|A beautifully crafted spark gap transmitter reproduction.|
I really love swap meets. I love old and new radios, and junk of all kinds. I will often spend hours just looking at tables and tail gates full of equipment and talking to the people that are selling their gear. G-W, however, wasn't that kind of place. There were a few swap tables, one or two here and there, but overall, there were far fewer than one might expect. I'd say 50% of the attendees didn't even setup a swap table. Nobody seemed to mind, however, and there was plenty of cheap, and even free stuff if you had to fill the urge to go home with something. But again, this hamfest isn't about the swap meet, it's about family and friends.
I gave my presentation on The History of QRZ to a packed audience. Everybody wanted to hear about QRZ and it was a great pleasure to meet and talk to the them . In years past, several commercial vendors, some from as far away as Portland, Oregon, would attend. This year, however, QRZ was the only commercial entity that showed up we were enthusiastically received and treated like royalty. We were taken aback by their warm and generous hospitality.
Saturday night was host to two big events, a pot luck dinner followed by a live band that played into the night. There were substantial libations and Robin and I were treated to generous portions, so much so that finding our motor home in the dark became somewhat challenging. All turned out well, however, and we slept well, awaking to a wonderful breakfast gathering with hot egg burritos that were delicious.
If you have a camper or even a tent, and you ever get the chance, the G-W hamfest should be on your must-attend list of great summer gatherings for amateur radio. For more information, see their website, http://gwhamfest.org
We hope to attend again next year. Thanks to all our hosts for the wonderful experience.