Join me on August 4-5 at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Central City, Iowa for the 2018 American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Midwest Division Convention - and First Annual Midwest STEM TechFest.

The grounds occupy a 39 acre site along with six acres of free parking, so there will be plenty of room for convention activities. The event is hosted by the Cedar Valley Amateur Radio Club in Cedar Rapids and a large attendance is expected from not only the Midwest Division states, but also neighboring Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois as well.

I’m especially intrigued by the innovative approach being taken for this event:

“Based on declining attendance at hamfests across the country in recent years, CVARC has chosen to modify the traditional hamfest / convention format and include other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) organizations in addition to amateur radio groups. It is our belief that this cross-pollination of STEM organizations will help strengthen each other with a win-win event for all involved”.

There will be traditional convention activities such as Forums, Organization Meetings, and Hands-on Activities for kids and adults alike. But other planned events are not the typical fare for hamfests and reflect some outside of the box thinking:

“We have enough space to include balloon launches, drone races, rocket launches, and radio control hobbyists in the track centerfield”.

There will be a banquet Saturday night with a Wouff Hong ceremony afterwards. There’s limited camping onsite and a large campground (Pinicon Ridge Park Campground) across the 4-lane highway for those wishing to camp at the event.

Hotels are 15 minutes away and they expect block-room pricing. VE Testing will be available Saturday and Sunday. Kids under 18 are FREE, adults $10 per person. $10 per indoor table ($15 after July 1), $10 per outdoor flea market site (car/truck/tent/table) ($15 after July 1). $20 per banquet ticket and $20 RV camping per night.

I’m anxious to see how well this new-concept is received and am making plans now to attend. Save the date and see you there!