Hundreds of ‘‘crusty’’ old amateur radio enthusiasts are set to converge on Shepparton this weekend for the annual Hamfest.
‘‘It’s like a radio swap meet and our event here in Shepparton is one of the bigger ones in Australia,’’ Shepparton and District Amateur Radio Club secretary Andy Ashley said.
Amateur radio is described as the use of a radio frequency for the purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, recreation and/or emergency communication.
‘‘There is some weird people out there ... it’s a funny hobby,’’ Mr Ashley said.
‘‘It’s the original social media.’’
Mr Ashley, a radio technician from way back, got involved in amateur radio some years ago for the social aspect of the hobby.
‘‘It’s a hobby that is really underneath the radar ... (but) we’re trying to get the public more aware of it,’’ he said.
‘‘You can talk to people around the world from your bedroom, or even further, you can speak to astronauts in the space station.
‘‘There are some general rules though, you can talk about anything from prostate cancer to the weather, but topics such as religion and politics are avoided.’’
Sunday’s event will provide a chance for enthusiasts across Victoria to meet each other face to face — often for the first time.
‘‘Anyone with an interest in technology or radios should come on down ... plus Azem (Elmaz) will be there with his food truck to feed you,’’ Mr Ashley said.
Shepparton and District Amateur Radio Club’s Hamfest is on Sunday at St Augustine’s Hall, Orr St, Shepparton.
Table bookings can still be made through John VK3PXJ, phone 58241188 or email [email protected]