The History of ham-com
It all began in 1977 when a small group of hams met to discuss the possibility of reinventing an Amateur Radio gathering that had been held in the Dallas area. This meeting precipitated the first annual Ham-Com in June 1978. It was held at a small Dallas hotel on the north edge of town called the Royal Coach Inn. The Royal Coach has since burned.
Approximately 800 persons attended this first show.
The next year we moved the venue to the Le Baron Hotel which had a five-story parking garage we could use for flea market area. Well, as things would have it in Texas in the spring, a thunderstorm struck the city about eight weeks before the June date and the torrential rain and wind brought down the ceiling of the hotel ballroom. This necessitated a last minute site change. The North Park Inn on US 75 filled the bill. We had a parking lot for the outdoor flea market, a downstairs parking garage for the indoor flea market as well as ballrooms to house the commercial exhibit area. This became the home of Ham-Com for the next seven years.
That original group of Ham-Com organizers, John, WA5OHG, and Ann, KA5TZD, Fleet; Dr Byron Landress, W5IBE; Don Smith, W5DS; Tom Gentry, K5VOU and wife Stephanie; Tom Eanes, K5AU; the late Jack Morgan, W5LQR; Walt Jackson, W5ZYA and Gordon Cathey were able to change the location and provide the backing for moving the event and getting everything ready. A number of others put in the time needed to keep the show going. As Dallas and its surrounding Metroplex grew, so did Ham-Com.
In June 1986, Ham-Com was moved from the NorthPark Inn, which was being razed for more office buildings (we have been hard on our host hotels!), to the newly constructed Arlington Convention Center. We were the first official event to hold our function at the Center.
As the Arlington Convention Center grew so did Ham-Com until it completely filled the venue. Our growth made the event one of the major events on the national calendar for our vendors on the second weekend of June. Unfortunately as the City of Arlington grew they had priority to use the Arlington Convention Center for High School graduation, which preempted Ham-Com on the second weekend of June. This causes problems with the vendors trying to juggle a national calendar. After looking at many venues, logistics at those venues and costs we moved to the Plano Centre.
The Plano Centre was a great venue with the room and features we always wanted. Smaller that the ACC but comfortable and affordable. The Ham-Com Directors kept an eye out for a larger venue based on vendors and attendees input, we all wanted to see the event grow in a positive manner.
After visiting many venues and talking with their staffs and many Convention and Visitor Bureau groups we decided it was time, so the Ham-Com Directors announced the 2015 Ham-Com would be moving to the Irving Convention Center to help accommodate its continual attendance growth and to provide 1st class facilities to exhibitors and visitors. In 2018, we moved back to the Plano Event Center for the 40th Anniversary to bring back the sought after outdoor flea market!
Ham-Com has always been a volunteer effort, and that is its greatest strength. Thanks to the original volunteers and those who've kept it going, Ham-Com has grown through a quarter century to the position it holds today. The crew lineup has changed as life for each has changed, but new hams with the same vision and desire have stepped up to give the essential element to make it work: their time.
Ham-Com is a 'communal' effort as well, with local clubs providing support. Many of the clubs assisted by putting on programs, helping with security, holding transmitter hunts, VE sessions, talk-in and supporting the Boy Scout Merit Badge sessions..
We look forward to seeing you at Ham-Com for many years to come.
The Ham-Com Board of Directors