More than 12,000 have registered to attend the first QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo, August 8 – 9, QSO Today host Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, said this week.
“Since the Expo is a completely new experience for the ham radio community, it’s great that so many people are excited and already registered,” he said. “And with almost 3 weeks before the event, the number of registrants continues to increase.” Attendance is free and earl-bird registrants are eligible for prizes if they sign up by July 24.
More than a typical web meeting, the Expo is built on a live virtual platform commonly used by Fortune 500 companies and major universities. The platform simulates a convention experience with an exhibit hall and booths staffed by live attendants, a speaker auditorium, and even a lobby. Attendance just requires an internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
The Expo will offer four separate speaker tracks focusing on a range of topics. Speakers will also be able to provide related material, such as slides and white papers, that attendees can download. Every session will have a Q&A where attendees can submit questions in real time via chat.
More than 30 booths will be open for attendees to visit, and exhibitors will have different options to engage with attendees. Exhibitor booths can provide downloadable content, such as videos, spec sheets, and manuals, and attendees can save content in a virtual briefcase to read later. Visitors will also be able to interact one-on-one with booth representatives, using a Skype-like system.
“The experience of a virtual expo is not meant to replace in-person conventions,” Guth said. “However, I strongly believe that virtual events in our community are here to stay. Given COVID-19 and its likely lasting impact on travel, especially given our demographic, this virtual expo enables the ham community to continue coming together to learn and engage.”
Guth said that younger hams who have grown up with the internet will feel comfortable with the Expo platform, “making it easier for them to participate and find their place in this remarkable hobby.”
Access to all speaker presentations and exhibitor booth content will remain on the Expo site for 30 days following the event.
The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo is an ARRL-sanctioned hamfest.