What Would You Do at a Farmer’s Market?

On the ARRL’s PR mailing list, someone asked, “I’m thinking of suggesting a Amateur Radio Display at the local farmers market. Does anyone here have any experiences to share on this type of display?”

There were many responses:

  • I replied, “Hang a big banner, making it obvious that you’re there demonstrating amateur radio.”
  • Jim, KB9LEI, said, “My suggestion would be a battery-operated emergency setup with natural antenna supports–if possible,and use speakers instead of headphones, so those standing around can hear what’s going on.” He also suggested that they have a display of QSL cards.
  • Steve Sanders (no call mentioned) said, “I took some articles from QST (Katrina, Boy Scout Convention, etc.) and blew them up to 11″ x 17″ and laminated them. “
  • Dawn, KC9LQS, noted, “As a former Farmer’s Market manager, I know that displays are a big draw. You might consider some form of audience participation in addition to your demonstration — perhaps letting guest operators make contacts under your direction.”

Some other suggestions I’d make include:

  • Set up a base station, and have one or more rovers reporting on the wares of the various vendors.
  • Have a variety of brochures, including the “Hello!,” “We Do That,” “When All Else Fails,” and the “Leap into Ham Radio” brochures.
  • Also make up and distribute a brochure that describes your club and its activities.
  • Set up a little code practice oscillator, along with a chart of the characters and encourage people to pound out their names.
  • Offer to send radiograms. Of course, you have to find someone in your club that still knows how to pass traffic!


  1. Have a VE team available, just in case.

  2. To take a page out of field day, setup a GOTA station and have people talk to other people on the other side of the country. This would require some way to draw them in first and get them to understand what is going on. It would also work best during a contest so the visitors don’t need to have something to talk about, but can still say “Hey, I just talked to someone in XX”

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