'Ham' is a term used to refer to amateur radio operators who are licensed by the FCC to use portions of the radio spectrum.
Desert RATS 2nd Hand Shop
The $5 entry fee to Palm Springs Hamfest 2014 included access to the vendors in the Pavilion, the Swap Meet, the informational seminars, and an entry into a Grand Prize raffle to win a Alinco DX-SR9T 1.9~29MHz SSB/CW/AM/FM/SDR All-mode Desktop Transceiver.
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) had a booth near the Palm Springs Hamfest entrance. The ARRL is the national association for Amateur Radio in the US.
I felt a wave of nostalgia as I visited the Ham Radio Outlet booth - I'd purchased my beloved Yaesu FT-60R from their retail store last year. I discovered Hamfest was celebrating the 10th birthday of the FT-60R.
I learned HDSCS is a specialized unit of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consisting of about 80 Ham Radio operators who have volunteered to provide backup internal and external communications for critical medical facilities in Orange County whenever normal communications are interrupted for any reason. The organization celebrated its 30th year of service in 2010.
April explained the distinction between Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) varies based on geological location.
I also learned in the event of a widespread disaster in Northern or Southern California that paralyzes hospitals, critical care patients would be transported via airlift from Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base to a functioning medical facility.
I also attended April's 'Making Your List and Checking It Twice - A check list to help your group provide Amateur Radio support for local hospitals (or any other disaster preparedness)' afternoon seminar.
After my failed game attempt, I met a ham who was a SKYWARN spotter for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Weather Service (NWS).
SKYWARN uses amateur radio as one method of communicating with spotter groups and emergency management organizations.
After talking to the SKYWARN ham, I was inspired to pick up a second copy of the beautiful NOAA NASA Sky Watcher Chart.
I went outside to the RV camping area and admired the antennas mounted on the RVs and the personalized call sign license plates.
I stopped by the Riverside Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) truck and discussed emergency disaster preparedness with the CERT members.
I thoroughly enjoyed Palm Springs Hamfest 2014 and I'm looking forward to future ham events and fests.
The Green Girl KK6WBC