Albuquerque Duke City Hamfest

Duke City Hamfest 2017: Bigger, Better, and in a New Location!


◉ 5/18/2017 – Registration for vendors is open. Click on “For vendors” in the menu above for information and to make reservations.

◉ 5/5/2017 – We are accepting volunteers and proposals for forums (see chairman’s note)

From the Duke City Hamfest Chairman

The rumors are true. The Duke City Hamfest has a new location this year, and if it works well, for years to come. During the past year, hotel prices have skyrocketed, with price increases of more than 100 percent. We would have had to add $10 or more to the price of each admission just to pay the hall rental, and we would have been forced to jack up the price of the banquet meals even more. We were not willing to do that to the hams of New Mexico.

After a long, exhaustive search, we are proud to announce that we have moved from a hotel venue to a large “community center” setting: the Sid Cutter Pilot Pavilion at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park. This facility is located on the south-central side of the park, on the south end of the soccer fields. This is a positive move. The venue will be different, but it will give us more flexibility to add additional events and activities during the coming years. It has ample space to handle our event, with lots of parking and easy access. The facility is brand new, so it’s nice, clean, and bright. It will allow us to have a three-day event, as before, with space for commercial vendors, indoor flea market, outdoor tailgate, and several simultaneous forums, presentations, and outdoor activities.

Program highlights

This year, we will host a new and improved HF University aimed at getting people active on the “low bands”, i.e. HF, and introducing them to all forms of HF communications. We will also have a new Emergency Management track this year, as well as a track for new hams and those that want to bring new people into the hobby. We will be setting up a satellite ground station and working some of the satellites, as well as providing a program(s) on a new CubeSAT development project that we are supporting in conjunction with Albuquerque Public Schools. We are “this close” to having a commitment from a ham in Texas to bring his “Small Form Factor” moon-bounce rig with him, allowing him to make moon-bounce contacts with a fraction of the antenna system required in the past. We are also working to bring a Digital Signal Processing track to the event, as well as a track on kit-building and equipment construction. This year is all about getting active and presenting different technologies and hands-on activities.

Here is some more good news. Starting this year, we are offering free admission to anyone who prepares and delivers a forum program or volunteers for at least four hours to help with the hamfest. Please notify us in advance. We will also be granting free admission to educators (with ID) and youth.

Revamped meals

From a social perspective, we will have a complimentary Friday night mixer, with appetizers and finger foods provided by the Duke City Hamfest Board of Directors. We will have a short address by our celebrity guest(s) as well, to kick off the event. We are close to being able to announce who the special guests will be, but I am still waiting on final confirmation. We will have a continental breakfast as part of Friday’s HF University. The Albuquerque DX Association will sponsor the breakfast buffet on Saturday with a Contesting / DX theme. We will have a full-up BBQ dinner on Saturday evening, with 3 meats, 4 vegetables, dessert, drinks, and all the fixings. We’ll have a cash bar on Saturday before and during the banquet.

We will host a breakfast banquet on Sunday, with a program aimed at new hams and education, as well as a review of breathtaking images from the Saturday High Altitude Balloon missions. All the meals will be catered by real restaurants — no more disappointing hotel food. Our meal prices will much lower than last year, because catered meals are a much better deal than hotel food, and we are passing on all the savings to you. We are holding the line on admission fees and will not raise admission prices this year. In addition, we are lowering prices on flea-market tables and commercial booths. The lower cost to sell, along with significantly reduced meal costs and the opportunity to volunteer for admission, will make the cost of attending more attractive than ever before. By the way, we will have “lunch wagons” on site during the lunch periods during the hamfest.

Additional activities

We are offering a Tech license class, and will conduct VE testing on site. We will have QSL card checking for WAS and DXCC. We will be providing a complimentary table to any club or related charitable organization, but we ask them to staff the table for the entire event.


Friday, Aug. 11: program, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; mixer, 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 12: outdoor tailgate market, 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; program and indoor flea market, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; banquet, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 13: breakfast, 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.; program, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; prize drawings, 12:00 p.m.

A detailed scheduled will appear in June.


The Sid Cutter Pilot Pavillion at Albuquerque’s renowned Balloon Fiesta Park, site of the city’s annual international hot-air balloon festival.

9401 Balloon Museum Dr., NE
Albuquerque, NM  87113

Since we are right off of the soccer fields at the park, we will be having 2x High Altitude Balloon launches that will be run and managed by our high school students, the very same students that we got into ham radio over the last few years, and New Mexico Space Studies. We are trying to organize a drone demonstration, as well as some high-altitude rocket launches.

We expect to have several Emergency Management trailers on display at the facility during the event.

We are reserving a block of rooms at a local hotel off of I-25 near the venue. We are working on getting a deal at a local RV park. As of now, we don’t have permission for overnight RV parking in the Balloon Fiesta Park parking lot, so we are trying to figure out the best alternatives.

Since it took us so long to secure a venue this year, we are a little behind schedule getting the website up. We are working to have it up by the end of May. We need everyone to help spread the word. We have started updating our Facebook page for the 2017 event. Just go to Facebook and search on Albuquerque Duke City Hamfest and follow our event. You’ll find our Facebook page here.

Are you a commercial vendor and have questions? Please email Margaret Goga. You’ll find her address here.

If you would like to volunteer to present a forum or help with the hamfest, please contact me. You’ll find my email address here.


Bill Ripley, KY5Q
President, NM Hamvention Inc.
Chairman, 2017 Duke City Hamfest

What is the Duke City Hamfest?

The Duke City Hamfest (DCHF) is held in Albuquerque every year during the 2nd weekend of August. The DCHF is the perfect combination of a traditional tailgate / flea market, ARRL convention, ham-radio conference covering a wide array of topics for the new or seasoned radio amateur, and an exhibition of the hottest radios, antennas, and accessories from a variety of manufacturers, dealers and merchants.

The DCHF attracts hams from throughout the US Southwest, Rocky Mountain states, and Mexico. The DCHF has been growing every year since pivoting from a one-day enhanced tailgate to a “full-service” three-day regional ham-radio convention.

The DCHF has a solid reputation for bringing in the best speakers from around our great nation to host its banquets and speak to the assembled hams about the latest hot topics. From Friday morning to Sunday afternoon, the DCHF runs three to five parallel tracks of programs, forums, and demonstrations. Each relates to the themes carefully chosen annually for the Hamfest.

For several years, the DCHF also has supported the efforts of local schools to bring science, technology, education, and math (STEM) into the curriculum, by providing resources and volunteeres to work with local educators on matters relating to high-altitude balloon experiments, robotics, electronics, ham-radio licensing classes, setting up a radio club and station, search and rescue communications, and currently, the design, construction, and eventual launch of a student-designed CubeSat.

We believe that the future of ham radio lies with our kids, and we are doing all we can to bring new blood into the hobby, reinvigorate the existing ham population, and infuse enthusiasm back into hams that drifted away from the avocation.

Let’s get active together! You have always wanted to enjoy New Mexico’s famous green chile and its warm hospitality. This is your chance.  See you in August!