Higganum Village Market Recap

15 Aug

Friday was the Higganum Village Farmer’s Market Public Safety Appreciation Day. The Market Master expressed her appreciation for our attendance and our setup with 2 HF rigs, an FT-8900 and portables. Antennas were a buddistick vertical and hamstick dipole, and a 2m/440 J-Pole.

We were really excited to have had help from hams from Region 2: Douglas, WA1SFH (DEC) came up from Milford, and Barclay, WU1B joined us from Haddam (Higganum Village is part of Haddam).

An Excellent Rapid Deployment Test

We learned a LOT from this event. We had some issues with the antennas – detuning from other objects, and some coax problems. Having the graphical analyzer helped a lot. Problems were quickly resolved but it was a very good test of our abilities – making this very valuable ARES experience also. The visitors who stopped by included 2 young kids who made a QSO on 2m and a prospective ham who has been studying the books.

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The Markets are For Us to Learn Too

Overall traffic was a bit light, but we got terrific feedback: the setup we had was a bit “technically intimidating.” Lots of radios, antennas – may give the impression that “no I can’t do this – way too complex – I’m not a technical person.” We also decided that putting the antennas out front, more prominently but with flags or pendants promoting amateur radio may increase our visibility. Both were ideas Douglas mentioned and afterwards several others also suggested the same.

Given the first concern about coming across as too technical, the new signs say will be something we need to work on. Also, the message for each event needn’t always be the same – each market or community event tends to draw a different crowd in terms of technical abilities, and even interest – those living in the city may not be as excited about big towers as someone with 15 acres in a rural area (or they may be interested but won’t even stop by, assuming amateur radio is something they won’t be able to pursue).

Douglas and Barclay were invaluable in helping us set up and teardown, and in all of our discussions we had on booth design, promoting amateur radio, getting into schools, and more. These market events are also getting hams together for more than public service and club meetings – they are providing an opportunity to work with other hams from all over the State, share ideas, and get to know one another.

Thank you again Bill, AB1LZ, Don, K1IN, Skip, W1FTE, Douglas, WA1SFH, Barclay, WU1B, Betsey, K1EIC and Chet, and everyone else who helped make this and the other events this summer possible. We have two more Markets scheduled in Hartford on the 18th and the 25th, both from 11AM to 2PM at Billings Forge. Bill and Don, K1IN will be managing the event on the 18th and I look forward to seeing everyone on the 25th! See you there!

-Josh, AC1N

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