How to Get a Good, Free Meal at the MTT

 
Food at the  
MTT
Food is one of the best deals at the MTT symposium. There is no need whatsoever for you to spend a cent of your own money on food at the MTT. Here's how to get the best free meals.
Get on the right mailing lists
    Join the IEEE, MTT Society, subscribe to the Microwave Journal, Microwaves & RF, etc. These guys supply some of the mailing lists used by vendors to publicize their hospitality suites. 
Register for the banquet
    But only if your company is paying. This way, you can bury the cost in your registration fee instead of having it come out of your per diem. The banquet costs about $50, but even at that price, it's subsidized. (The MTT cost is something over $100.)

    ARFTG has a luncheon that is included in the registration fee. 

Suck up to the vendors
    The vendors often have hospitality suites and parties for their customers. These are often surprisingly lavish. 
Take full advantage of the free food at the symposium
    You can find free meals at the following places: 
    1. "Badge cash": your badge works as a debit card, charged with around $45, useful at eateries in the conference center. This has been done in 2010 through 2014 instead of the (very expensive) attendees' breakfast. This is not a fixed tradition (it wasn't done in 2015, for example), but it is likely that most future symposia will do it. 
    2. Speakers' breakfast, open only to presenters on the day of their presentations.
    3. Exhibitors' reception. This has shrunk considerably in recent years. Held in the trade-show area.
    4. RFIC reception.
    5. MTT opening reception and (sometimes) a closing reception.
    6. Other specialized receptions (e.g., Ham Radio Reception, Women in Engineering, ...).
    7. Refreshments at the Interactive Forum sessions. Not provided every year, though. 
    8. Special functions (e.g., the Technical Program Committee luncheon, for TPC members only.)
    See the program for the locations of these events. Not all of these are real meals; many are hors d'oeuvres, wine and cheese, and so on. But, if you're an impoverished grad student, it still might be better than the garbage you normally eat. 
The Hospitality Suite
    The Hospitality Suite is one of the best-kept secrets at the MTT. It is for the spouses, children, and other guests of the attendees. In the past, no one would have kicked you out if you were a registered attendee and didn't act like a jerk. Things are getting stricter, though; in 2011 (Baltimore) it was absolutely necessary to have a guest badge for admission, and there was a $65 charge. An unpopular policy, which has, unfortunately, continued, although usually at lower cost. 

    The suite always has some kind of food, usually muffins, fruit, coffee, sodas, coffee, and similar fare. It's also a good place to relax and socialize a little in the midst of the MTT's hectic pace.