Greene County Fairgrounds & Expo Center

Hams and vendors hoping to attend Hamvention 2022 are asking questions about plans to deal with COVID. Hamvention management is monitoring the situation closely. General Chairman Rick Allnutt, WS8G, has issued the following statement:

“We strongly anticipate that the Hamvention 2022 is a go. We cannot guarantee what government may decide about unknown changes in the pandemic. It has become obvious that the State of Ohio is very unlikely to call a halt to large gatherings anytime soon. Despite a recent large spike in Omicron COVID cases and hospitalizations, there is no move to restrict large indoor or outdoor events such as sports events.”

Allnutt added that he anticipates the official state guidance may be to recommend (but not require) wearing a mask and social distancing. Hamvention will support state guidance. We do not anticipate checking immunization status on site.

Some have asked whether COVID testing will be available at Hamvention. At this time there are no plans to have testing on site. Watch for any updates dealing with the COVID situation.

By the time you will read this the “Hamvention” will be just a few days away. The Dayton Hamvention is generally considered to be the world’s largest hamfest. Hamvention will be held May 20, 21 and 22, 2022 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center near Xenia. The Hamvention offers forums, exhibit space and a flea market and usually claims to have over 20,000 visitors. Many amateur radio enthusiasts go out of their way to attend the Dayton Hamvention, traveling from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and various parts of the world and maybe even as far as Australia.

The entire staff of Hamvention volunteers is working hard behind the scenes to make 2022 a year to remember as they complete plans in the post covid era. For more information, please select the tab below to visit pages of interest.

You never know what you’ll find at the Dayton Hamvention. Chances are you’ll find equipment ranging from radios made in the 1950s with vacuum tubes to modern computer-controlled transceivers. If nothing else, you’ll get an education on the wide range of amateur radio equipment that’s out there.

You’ll find more than used equipment at Hamvention though. Many dealers will bring new equipment to Hamvention and have inside booths to show off their radios. This is your chance to look at a number of different radios that you may have only been able to look at in catalogs and compare different models. In addition, dealers often offer “hamfest prices,” so you may be able to get that radio at a slight discount.

Hamfests are also good places to connect with other hams. Quite often, you’ll meet guys that you’ve only talked to on the air. It’s a lot of fun to connect a name and call sign with a face. Sometimes, different ham groups, such as NTS groups, FISTS, ARES/RACES groups or QRP clubs, will set up a table to promote their group. You can use this opportunity to find out more about these groups and their activities.

Hamfests are basically swap meets/flea markets geared towards ham radio, electronic, and computer enthusiasts and almost anything else electronic. There are a lot of reasons to go to Hamvention, including:
You get to see a lot of ham radio gear in one place.
You might be able to get a good deal on some used (or new) equipment.
You might find something that will be fun to play with.
You get to meet hams face-to-face that you’ve only talked to on the air.
You can learn something new at one of the programs or forums

If you plan on attending a hamfest for the first time, try to go with a group or someone who has experience. In either case, alone or with experienced hams, the following will be helpful.

Bring lots of cash – most sellers will only take cash, and you don’t want to miss out on something because you don’t have enough money on you. Make sure the cash is in small bills, not 50’s and 100’s which may scare off the seller.

Try to haggle – many sellers price stuff above what they expect to get for it because they know most buyers will haggle. So don’t be afraid to offer a lower price for something. However, don’t be a jerk. Most prices are negotiable; more so after lunch, but a good deal goes quickly. Most vendors are not interested in trades, but you do no harm by offering.

Don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose – Most hams are honest about what they sell, and try to test used items and describe them accurately. Still, sometimes stuff is defective or worked when it was tested but got knocked around in transit.

Also keep in mind that not every seller knows that much about what they are selling – there are a lot of resellers who just buy lots of stuff at auctions or the like and drag it to the hamfest.

BUYER BEWARE. If you are going to buy used equipment at a high cost, ask to test it to make sure it works. Ask the seller for contact information. If a vendor refuses to demonstrate a supposedly functional piece of gear, or won’t open up a used piece of equipment for inspection, you may want to move along. Be familiar with the smell of burnt or overheated electronics, especially transformers and sealed components. Direct replacements may be difficult to obtain.

If you are looking for something specific, know what you are looking before you go. You can’t ask for a widget for your radio and not even know what model radio you have. If you need a part, research the part number or specs before you go. If you know exactly what you are looking for, check the auction Web sites and radio swap sites, such as,, and, before you attend the hamfest. You can get an idea of the going price and average condition, so you’re less likely to get taken.

Remember if you buy it some one has to carry it to the car or bus. The vender is not expected to help in this carrying endeavor.

Now to the Hamvention itself, those that get there early can get the really good stuff, which will sell really fast. Those that stay late will get the deals where people hate to lug stuff home, so you can sometimes get some great deals to just take merchandise off the seller’s hands.

Take a pen and pad of paper. At the Hamvention flee market, it’s almost impossible to remember where something was you saw 30 minutes ago. Keep track of that item by writing down where it is when you see it. Then you can easily find it again later. Writing down the price is also a good idea for comparison bargain hunting.

Don’t count on smaller hamfests having food available, but the larger hamfests like Hamvention almost always have a hamburger stand. Expect the same level of quality as that of the concession stands. Taking along several bottles of water is a good idea, especially if it is going to be hot and sunny.

In conclusion, hamfests are a great place to pick up interesting pieces of equipment, both new and used, and also picked up a lot of unique items you may never find anywhere else. If going to a hamfest, carry cash and give yourself a budget. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t see something in your price range. Buyers remorse for spending too much is worse than the feeling of letting something get away. There’s always the next hamfest. And most importantly, Have fun.