Ham Expo began Fall of 1992. It was the result of three local hams that felt there should be a ham radio swap fest in the Temple-Belton area. From the beginning Ham Expo was designed to be a one-day show.
The first Ham Expo was held at the VFW post located near the Bell County Expo Center, which Ham Expo now calls home. Ham Expo quickly outgrew its first location and soon moved to its current site.
By the third Ham Expo it was clear that only three hams was not enough to operate a fast growing swap fest. Since the three founders were members of the Temple Amateur Radio Club, TARC was approached to take over Ham Expo.
Ham Expo changed from an annual event to a twice-yearly event in 1994.
Ham Expo remained an all tailgate event for several years with inside space for about 150 vehicles. Ham Expo has also remained an indoor event. Some prefer to sell outdoors for which a donation is suggested but technically the outside vendors are separate from Ham Expo.
Within a few short years it was recognized that the addition of commercial vendors offering new ham equipment would be necessary to keep Ham Expo successful. For the first time, tables made an appearance at Ham Expo.
It was quickly discovered that a couple of hours for set up on Saturday morning was insufficient for the commercial vendors to prepare their wares for sale.
So the building was rented on Friday to allow commercial vendors more time to unpack and set up. At about the same time some tailgaters wanted to set up on tables rather than sell from their trunks and pickup beds. So more tables were added and vehicle space reduced. Ham Expo remained a one-day event.
The non-commercial vendors became interested in setting up early too. This was a surprise because with less equipment less time is needed for set up. It was decided to allow non-commercial vendors the same access to early set up as commercial vendors. Ham Expo again remained a one-day event though it was acknowledged that non-commercial vendors would buy and sell amongst themselves.
Early set up has resulted in most non-commercial vendors now selling from tables rather than vehicles. But Ham Expo has tried to stay true to its roots. To be a simple, friendly swap fest.