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Author Topic: The internet and hamfest flea markets  (Read 1100 times)

Posts: 105

« on: August 26, 2005, 02:16:50 PM »

I notice that many hamfests, including a local one, have been cancelled this year. I wonder if the lack of attendance may be attributed, at least partially, by deminished flea market vendors. In the past, a hamfest flea-market was about the only way you could get up and close to the used equipment. Now, especially with e-bay and the like, flea-marketeers may not be as interested in selling their goods the old fashioned way, preferring bidding wars on the internet. Any thoughts on this subject?

Posts: 21764

« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2005, 03:19:13 PM »

True, some of the hamfests are going away.  May be related to the lack of success of flea market vendors, but maybe not.  Problem is, it takes a lot of planning and energy, not to mention expense, to organize and hold a hamfest of any sort and the ROI may be disappearing for all but the very best-rooted ones.

Here in Los Angeles, we have about 45 hamfests annually within driving distance of downtown.  There are three monthly events (2nd, 3rd and last Saturdays of every single month) that have been running for years, plus various annual events.  I think attendance is a bit down from what it was years ago, but they're still going, and still successful.  One reason might be the weather is almost always very good, so the chances of having a meet canceled due to inclement WX is very slim.  In fact, the TRW Swap Meet has been held every single month for the past 30 years and has never been canceled.

The Dayton Hamvention and other very large venues are still running, and still successful.  I didn't go this year but understand it was "better attended than the last few years," and attendance was >20,000.  Not bad, in the "internet age."  The annual hamfest/flea markets at Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, Ft. Tuthill (AZ) and many other locations are still going strong and well attended.

When it comes to buying equipment, I recommend people do what I do, which is use eBay as a resource, but always "make a local deal."  No matter where you live, some of the eBay sellers are near you, or near enough.  Find those, and buy from them with the "will pick up the goods" stipulation, which allows you to see the goods before you take them.  I also use the classifieds here on eHam, as well as those on,, and everywhere else, looking only for goods from "local" sellers -- same reason.  And don't forget the local "trader" magazines, and even the local newspapers!

I found a mint condition Collins S-line in the L.A. Daily News, listed under "hi-fi/stereo" equipment, being sold by a widow.  Incredible deal, nice lady, we were both extremely satisfied with the transaction.

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