Author Topic: hamfest shopping list  (Read 1403 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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hamfest shopping list
« on: March 09, 2018, 10:32:22 AM »
Tomorrow is the biggest annual ham swap meet in my region.

I'm not seriously in the market for anything in particular, but am keeping an eye for:

1) cheap scanners, particularly if they support air band
2) cheap dual band mobile with 6-pin data jacks (this makes packet work considerably simpler)
3) cheap spare microphones
4) cheap coax
5) QRP/backup HF rig
6) cheap USB signalink

Notice "Cheap" is prefix for most of my list.  I don't need anything, so I'm not going to waste money unless it really is a good value.

What kinds of things do you all look for at swap meets?

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 05:30:15 PM »
What kinds of things do you all look for at swap meets?
Some things I didn't think I needed at the time but in fact needed after all:
- connectors of any sort: UHF-BNC, UHF-SMA, BNC-SMA, barrel, etc.
- 450 ohm window line
- antenna insulators
- solar components; we have a local ham/solar guy who often shows up
- an FT-857  ::)

Good hunting, good luck! 

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 06:30:39 PM »
Mostly I just look to see what local companies - if any are supporting the event.

Mostly I like to eyeball hardware I have only seen print ads for.  Often I am surprised how small a lot of the hardware really is.

Sort of hoping there would be a "loca" big ham fest here; but nope.

Online Carl

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2018, 04:59:37 AM »
  Don't forget a low cost MANUAL antenna tuner (good back-up) and especially 3/8 by 24 antenna hardware from 'junk boxes' as they are made of gold when you NEED such antenna parts ,yet nearly FREE when someone has to make space.

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 12:18:54 PM »
I spent more time driving to Shelby NC Hamfest last year than I did on the grounds---and that included me chatting with the Wireman for 10 min....

Less than 1 hour to see that it was an indeed waste of my time, gasoline and effort  :'(

I've lamented about it before-not gonna do it again.  Doubt I'll attend any 'fest' this year (Skipping one as I type-Charlotte NC)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 11:19:17 AM »
SCW: Pros/Cons of living in a metro area I guess.  You probably don't experience car burglaries on an annual basis, or sit in traffic for an hour to travel 15 miles.
I'm sure your sweet tea and BBQ is better too ;)

Aside from cheap end pieces and connectors I got:


a CW paddle. $40 and it cleaned up nicely. This was on consignment for an estate sale broker.

Also got a spare signalink including all interface cables for $50. 

Once my ft450 returns home, I'll practice with the built in keyer.

But there's always the social aspect too. I'm tall and goofy looking, so stand out in a crowd. People always come up that I met over the years. Also, through ARES drills I know some of the WA state guard folks. They come out to every regional ham event, and a few of the officers are big fans of wire antennas and will talk your ear off about NVIS.

I plan to take the family down to Seaside, OR in June for the ARRL SEA-PAC event.  That's a bigger swap meet for sure, as people travel from 3 states.
That's a better place to score a radio I think. Also have many more commercial vendors.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2018, 11:51:31 AM »
Nice finds, Smurf.  Good price on a signalink.  How's the CW coming along?  (not dogging you on this one!  my CW effort has stalled out again)

Looking at the ARRL's hamfest search page (here), it'll be a while until one pops up locally for me.  Slidell LA is usually the best nearby, and that's not until July and not listed yet.  Yeah, the social aspect is a big part of it for me too.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2018, 08:27:26 AM »
Nice finds, Smurf.  Good price on a signalink.  How's the CW coming along?  (not dogging you on this one!  my CW effort has stalled out again)

Looking at the ARRL's hamfest search page (here), it'll be a while until one pops up locally for me.  Slidell LA is usually the best nearby, and that's not until July and not listed yet.  Yeah, the social aspect is a big part of it for me too.

CW stalled a bit for me, so I bought this paddle to guilt myself into resuming.  Seems silly to have to manipulate myself like that but it's worked in the past.

Offline armymars

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 01:20:30 PM »
  At one swap I bought a Vibroflex bug. 1954. Almost as old as me. I had to slow it down with a piece of brass tube six inches long. I've been at about 13 WPM for 20 years. With both counter weights it was still too fast on the dots. My Vibroflex paddles were also bought at a swap. I have only two keys I bought from a dealer.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2018, 05:32:20 PM »
CW stalled a bit for me, so I bought this paddle to guilt myself into resuming.  Seems silly to have to manipulate myself like that but it's worked in the past.
Sometimes you just have to do something like this to get things rolling again.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2018, 10:29:43 PM »
Sometimes you just have to do something like this to get things rolling again.

Once upon a time, a shiny new bicycle motivated me to train for 100, 150, and 200 mile events.  My neck hurts thinking about it now of course...

Online Carl

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Re: hamfest shopping list
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2018, 04:36:23 AM »
Once upon a time, a shiny new bicycle motivated me to train for 100, 150, and 200 mile events.  My neck hurts thinking about it now of course...

Maybe you were doing it wrong??