When is the next Ham Expo?
Please check the ham expo schedule page for details.
What is Ham Expo?
Ham Expo is billed as the friendliest ham radio swap fest in Texas. It is a one-day event held on a Saturday in both the Spring and Fall. It is an indoor event that offers commercial and non-commercial vendors the opportunity to sell new and used ham radio equipment from both tables and vehicles.
Why only indoor?
Manpower and logistics. TARC does not have the membership to organize and run Ham Expo as both an indoor and outdoor event. We do not have the means to announce door prize winners outdoors.
Why only a one day event?
Again manpower. With early set up taking place on Friday from noon to 10:00 P.M. and doors opening for vendors at 5:30 A.M. Saturday morning there just aren’t enough energetic bodies to make it a two day event.
What is early set up?
Early set up is where vendors arrive and set up their tables or vehicle spaces on Friday. Since Friday is intended for set up we ask that only vendors be in the building.
Why only vendors on Friday?
Courtesy. The commercial vendors may need hours for set up. It is easier for them if they are not interrupted. Security is another reason. During the day the vendors are most responsible for the security of their property. Many vendors travel long hours to Ham Expo and will cover their tables with sheets or blankets and leave the building before it closes at 10:00 P.M. Fewer people in the building on Friday reduces opportunities for property to grow legs and walk away.
Are there exceptions to the Friday vendor only policy?
Yes. Someone may need to be able to wash his or her hands, ask questions, etc.
What kinds of things can I sell?
While ham radio related items are preferred other items can be sold.
What about selling guns and ammo?
No. Ham Expo is not licensed or insured for these types of items.
What about selling guns and ammo outside?
Ham Expo has been told that the seller must be licensed to sell these items.
What items are not allowed inside the building?
The Bell County Expo Center policy is NO smoking, NO alcohol, NO firearms and ONLY service animals.
Can I bring my pet?
As part of the contract, Ham Expo is given a copy of the rules and regulations for the facility. It states that only Service animals are permitted. If you bring your pet into the building and the Expo Center receives a complaint, you may be asked to leave the building. Should this occur Ham Expo would not issue a refund.
What kind of security is at Ham Expo?
Paid security is in the building when it is locked for the night. Ham Expo workers and the vendors themselves make up most of the security while the building is open. Two TARC members are members of the Bell County Posse. When possible they ask other Posse members to volunteer as security.
Are Ham Expo workers paid?
No. All workers are strictly volunteers.
Why does a raffle ticket now come with admission?
This change was made for two reasons. The first was to make the admission process quicker and easier. By combining the $6 admission ticket with two raffle tickets and charging $10 combined it made making change much easier. Second it presented a more stable amount to cover the cost of the three main prizes. Admission show to show does not vary as much as the raffle ticket sales did when it was separate.
Can I buy additional raffle tickets?
Yes. $2 each.
Can Ham Expo volunteer workers purchase raffle tickets?
Yes. Ham Expo has never prohibited workers from purchasing raffle tickets.
Do I have to be present to win?
YES. Main prizes are drawn at 1:00 PM. Smaller vendor donated door prizes are drawn throughout the morning. Ticket holders have 15 minutes to claim these smaller door prizes before they are redrawn.
What do I put on my raffle ticket?
If you want you can put your name and callsign.
What time are the main prizes drawn?
Does Ham Expo offer VE testing?
Yes. A group of VE’s hold testing starting at 10:00 A.M. Location is the Special Event room, which is upstairs near the dome.
Are there any other activities such as seminars or speakers?
There are limited small rooms available at the Bell County Expo Center for these types of activities. The complex was designed and planned around large group events.
What are some of the commercial vendors that are at Ham Expo?
Ham World, Tower Electronics, Sign Man, Flex Radio Wired Communications and others.
Where are the commercial vendors located in the building?
Most are on the left side of the building with others along the back tables.
When commercial vendors were first added to Ham Expo the left hand side was a convenient area to keep their tables and displays away from the early Saturday parking rush as non-commercial vendors hurried to be parked prior to the start of the event.
How can I advertise my location?
Signs, banners, flyers, etc. Be sure not to cause damage to tables or walls when hanging or attaching these items.
What about using lights and sound?
Due to building acoustics and input from attendees Ham Expo does not allow amplified sound devices such as bullhorns or PA systems. Likewise other noisemakers like bells, horns, gongs, etc are not allowed. Strobe lights could potentially lead to seizures and are discouraged.
Conducting door prize drawings, paging attendees and announcing lost and found items require being able to hear the PA system used by Ham Expo.
Can I bring my RV or Travel Trailer?
Yes. Please refer to the parking map posting on Eventbrite, and the TARC webpage and Facebook page.
Is the Exposition Building ADA compliant?
The building does meet ADA requirements for the designed use of the building. Ham Expo lies somewhat outside the designed use therefore two port a potties (one being handicap) are located outside in front of the entrance.
When does the building open Saturday morning?
Vendors are allowed to enter beginning at 5:30 AM. This allows them to make last minute preparations prior to the start of the event.
Public enters at 7:00 AM.
What should I do as a vendor?
Come prepared. That includes bringing tarps, sheets, blankets, etc to cover your items when you leave the building. Ham Expo tries to prevent things from growing legs and walking off and having your things covered is an important first step.
Chairs and extra tables for vehicle spaces.
There should be plenty of chairs available. Tables are another matter. Ham Expo is probably the largest user of tables for any event at the Expo Center. There are usually a few additional tables to rent beyond what are set up and assigned to vendors but they go quickly. If you can bring your own, do so.
Should I pre-register?
YES. Ham Expo has grown in popularity and there are no guarantees that there will be any tables or spaces available if you just show up.
What are the requirements of pre-registration and early set up?
As originally designed pre-registration meant you intended to arrive on Friday and set up early.
Due to the success of Ham Expo this has had to be altered. Please do your best to arrive on Friday. You are allowed to enter as late as 9:00 PM. But you will likely have to finish setting up on Saturday morning.
If you cannot arrive until Saturday morning you must show up NO LATER than 6:00 AM. This is so we can get your vehicle either parked in your space or unloaded and back outside before the public enters at 7:00 AM.
If you show up later than 6:30 AM. you will have to carry your items to your spot.
How do I get my vehicle in and out of the building?
Come to the front tables and ask for assistance. Ham Expo workers must help you when entering or leaving the building. It is also a good idea to have your lights on, including hazard lamps.
When can vendors leave on Saturday?
After the main prizes are drawn. The first and foremost duty is to the safety of everyone walking inside during Ham Expo. If you find that you must leave before the grand prizes are announced, (the crowd thins after this point) you have to come to the front tables and request assistance from Ham Expo workers to spot for you and direct you and your vehicle in and/or out of the building. If it is determined that it is not possible to get you out when you like you may have to wait until it is safer.
Is there an ATM?
There is an ATM located on site. There is one located next to the concession booth and one located in the entrance to the Dome.
Are there refreshments?
There is a concession booth inside the building that is in operation for Saturday.
When is Set Up on Friday?
Commercial vendors are allowed to set up beginning at Noon.
Non Commercial vendor set up begins at 2:00 PM.
Ham Expo needs time to number tables, check table layout, hang banners and signs, mark spaces, etc. Please do not ask to come in prior to the listed times.
What is a commercial vendor?
A person whose primary source of income is the selling of merchandise (usually new) and has a tax ID number and business name.
What is a non-commercial vendor?
What is going on in the parking lot?
Some people choose to sell outside. They are part of the Ham Expo experience. Outside vendors do not receive a wristband pass to inside the building. Ham Expo does not have the means to announce door prize tickets outside.
Can I sell outside?
Yes. A $5 donation is requested from each outside vendor that is selling. We ask that outside sellers follow the parking area map that is posted on Eventbrite, the TARC webpage and Facebook page.
Can I have my vehicle in my space?
Yes on two conditions. If you want it left inside overnight you must also follow the Bell County Fire Marshall regulations pertaining to vehicles inside the building. If you need to bring your vehicle inside prior to the public entering at 7:00 AM on Saturday you must arrive by 6:00 AM. All vehicle traffic ends by 6:30 AM.
How big are the tables?
30 inches by 8 feet.
How big are the vehicle spaces?
Approximately 10 feet by 15 feet.
Can I get more than one vehicle space?
Yes. In the Special Needs section of the online registration please indicate whether you want the spaces side by side or pull through (as in leaving a vehicle and trailer hitched together.
What if my vehicle is too big for a space?
Tape measures are your friend. Hitch that trailer up and measure instead of guessing. Pickups are getting huge. If you have a quad cab, crew cab, long bed, etc try to let us know.
You may not be able to put a table in front of your lowered tailgate if it intrudes too much into the walking aisle. Bottlenecks only prevent people from circulating; they don’t get you more sales.
The length of your truck may require you being located on the right most aisle which is wider due to table layout.
Can I change what I want when I show up? Table or space, how many?
Possibly. The earlier you show up on Friday the greater the chance that you can be accommodated.
Can I be located next to a friend?
Both parties need to indicate in the Special Needs area of the online registration that they need to be located next to each other.
Be sure to use the first and last name of both parties as used on the registration.
Or have only one-person register but buy both spaces. Then when each of you shows up you can be shown the location.
Can I get a certain location in the building?
The policy is to locate first based on longevity, taking into account where vendors were located the past two events, as well as the number of tables or spaces wanted.
We have to do some juggling when vendors change the number of tables or spaces from previous shows. Logically the largest vendors have to be placed first working down to individual tables or spaces.
We also consider any special needs such as health related requests, etc.
NOTE: An increase in the number of extra long pickups may force changes on vendors that traditionally had they vehicle space on the right most aisle.
As Ham Expo grows what can I do to help?
Conservation of space.
Take time to examine how you layout your items and how many tables and vehicle spaces you use.
While it may be nice to have your stuff on the floor in one vehicle space while your vehicle sits unnecessarily in another consider leaving your vehicle outside. That frees up a space and allows an additional vendor to join in the experience of Ham Expo. Just pull in to load up after it is over.
If you and your buddy only have a few items each on your tables why not share a table? It also keeps an eye on your stuff while you look around and you can do the same for your buddy.