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Author Topic: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...  (Read 104383 times)
K9MHZ
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Posts: 1215




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« Reply #75 on: June 08, 2017, 07:15:20 PM »

The sellers at fests are NOT more honest than on line sellers.  Believe it or not, I had one clown try to sell me a rusty piece of junk, claiming it was removed from the radio room of the USS Arizona AFTER it blew-up.

LOL!  That's beautiful, man! 
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ZENKI
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« Reply #76 on: June 09, 2017, 05:31:32 PM »

Hams have also got themselves to blame. They the only consumers of disposable electronics equipment who think that  ham radio equipment does not depreciate in value and that what they buy should give them a better return on their investment that Warrent Buffet could only dream of.

Then there is the sheer dishonesty. Just about everything that is sold at a hamfest these days is sold as working when the sellers know that its faulty and has got various faults.

When I sell anything I depreciate the  equipment by  annual CPI figure  and sell it at that final figure. Thats fair value. If most hams did this they would not have to behave in such a dishonest manner when disposing equipment. Its amazing that equipment  that was sold in 70s is selling for more than the new price in 70's! Fools and their money are soon parted!
Whats worst is this so called good old equipment by today standards is crap in performance when you can buy for example radios like the TS590SG and IC7300 that  outperforms most of this old gear. We wont even get started on the Collins mania.

Then we need to blame the  flea market and hamfest operators who seem to very disorganized. So many hamfest operators cant even run a kids koolaid stand.

The biggest bit of stupidity that I see  so much of is this.  There is a massive crowed that has to buy ticket and get into the doors. Where do they place the table to buy the tickets? Right at the  entry door. So those that arrive early who bought a ticket have to work their way or stand in the queue with those who have to pay. This is as stupid as  allowing cars to go both ways on a road in either lane. Talk about lack of planning and intelligence. When I encounter these stupid hamfest operators who do this  I just turn around and go home.  If they cant understand that they need to separate  ticket selling and entry points they will never get it. Most of the hamfests  who act this dumb the hamfests are crap anyway, you missing nothing.

We wont start on the Ebay sellers who buy parts from Russia and China and then sell them at stupid prices at hamfests, and who think that most hams are either senile or crackheads!

The commercialisation of the ham hobby is doing more harm and good, there is no spirit of fraternity  anymore. Its more about "its worth this and sells for that"  "So even if I got it cheap I  have to rip you off, I am not the social security department"  In the past I used to give away parts to help people out, even vacuum variables and tubes.  If I did this today  they will end up on Ebay!

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VE3WGO
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #77 on: June 09, 2017, 06:25:56 PM »

Zenki, I agree with your basic rationale.  I organize and run our club hamfest in Ottawa Canada, and it's hard to do, even with several dozen volunteers, and I been at the helm of it for over a dozen years.  But it is actually growing, not shrinking, for some reason and while that is gratifying, the size is starting to get a little big for our venue and the volunteer team. 

There are many things to keep in line before and during a hamfest, but one thing we do not do is police what prices things get bought and sold for.  Your comment about people buying stuff for cheap at the hamfest and then selling it online is so true. But one bigger problem that most hamfests seem to have that does turn off the attendees who are waiting in line to get in, is that they can usually see the fleamarket vendors are doing shopping between themselves on the hamfest floor before the doors open. There seems to be no easy fix for that, and hamfests have tried out several ideas but it still happens.

I have bought old books for a dollar apiece, dummy loads for $5, ssb rigs for $30, etc at hamfests.  Of course there are always some people who as you say, price their gear for twice what it sold for in the first place and they wonder why there were no takers.  But then be patient, because real bargains can be had during the hamfest packing-up stage, because people don't want to (or can't on spouse's orders, etc) take it back home, so they are a lot more willing to be bargained down, sometimes a lot.

One thing is for sure...  when I have bought things on eBay, I have often said to myself when I received the shipment and had a look at what I bought, that I would *not* have paid that much if I had seen it on a hamfest table in person!  It usually doesn't look so attractive in my hand compared to the photos online, even if they are honest photos.  There is something about an online auction that plays with our common sense and makes us spend too much.  It's the same thing that causes us to buy things online instead of the retail stores which are slowly dying.  But if you are the online seller, then this works in your favor.

So I agree, the high prices are the fault of buyers for the most part.  The internet has a lot more "attendees" than a hamfest does, and the auctions usually last 7 days, not half a day.  The market adjusts itself, and sellers set their prices at whatever moves their stock.  But there are always some fools who easily part with their money and pay amazingly high prices for old stuff, then that kind of ruins it for the rest of us.

73 Ed VE3WGO

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N5PG
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« Reply #78 on: June 09, 2017, 09:48:12 PM »



In the past I used to give away parts to help people out, even vacuum variables and tubes.  If I did this today  they will end up on Ebay!



So true Sad
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W9FIB
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Posts: 1941




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« Reply #79 on: June 10, 2017, 09:33:23 PM »

Anything is worth what someone will pay for it. If it is priced too high, no one will buy it. If it is too low, its sold fast. That's how the free market works.

Artificial depreciation is great for figuring your taxes and deductions. But the market sets the purchase price.

And no one is holding a gun to you to pay more than your willing to pay. Don't like prices on E-Bay, don't bid. Inflated prices at a hamfest, make an offer. Or just walk on by.

If you pay too much, that was your decision, not the seller.
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WD4HXG
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Posts: 280




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« Reply #80 on: June 12, 2017, 07:15:35 PM »

Here is what I see as killing hamfests.

1 Amateurs do not build equipment like they once did.

2 e-Bay provides a year round flea market

3 component parts sold by distributors are shipped the
same day as ordered and are delivered in 2 to 5 days
as compared to past years when distributors waited for
checks to clear, then the part pull order took another
week, and then the shipper took 2 to 3 weeks.

4 Amateur equipment dealers no longer attend the shows
as there are few sales. Equipment buyers realize they can
skirt a $350.00 plus tax bill ordering online when buying a
$5,000.00 rig.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist.
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W4KYR
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Posts: 1511




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« Reply #81 on: June 13, 2017, 06:20:28 AM »

A hamfest would be better suited for large, bulky and heavy items. On eBay the cost of shipping would be the same if not more than the price of the item unless there was local pickup. At that point just bypass eBay altogether and save the fees.
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The internet and cellphone networks are great until they go down, what then? Find out here. 
https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,111948.0.html

Using Windows 98 For Packet...
W3ALG
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #82 on: June 16, 2017, 05:14:50 AM »

I try to attend most Hamfests as long as they are not a 100+ mile drive, exception being Dayton. It's a day out meeting other hams and socialization. I find that along with other opinions that some sellers want "top $$ " for depreciated items that just are not worth the asking price.

Most of the time if I am interested in purchasing something, I won't even bargain if it's supporting a club. Money put towards good use I would hope.

I think what really brings down Hamfests lately is some of the "JUNK" that people try to sell. Now I'm not talking about items that have a resale value to be used and refurbished, used for parts, or even homebrew projects, I'm talking just plain junk. This is the crap you see year after year with the same vendors dragging it around hoping someone will take it off their hands.

Rusted to the point of bonding it with something short of taking it to a body shop. Broken wooden radios that have been drug through the mud. Rusted, chipped circuit boards, and you get what I mean. This is what brings a hamfest down when there is a charge for attendance. Who wants to pay to get in and look at a bunch of stuff that should have been discarded years ago.

Lets clean it up a bit. Sell what's worth selling but please leave the junk at home, better yet, throw it out, its not worth a penny. 
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W9FIB
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Posts: 1941




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« Reply #83 on: June 16, 2017, 06:08:44 AM »

Ah yes but 1 man's junk is another man's gold. It is a matter of your own opinion which one it is for you. Wink
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W6EM
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« Reply #84 on: June 18, 2017, 06:38:27 AM »

....... This is what brings a hamfest down when there is a charge for attendance. Who wants to pay to get in and look at a bunch of stuff that should have been discarded years ago.

Lets clean it up a bit. Sell what's worth selling but please leave the junk at home, better yet, throw it out, its not worth a penny. 

I've said this same thing before, but here in the Southeast, no one seems to listen.  If what is billed as a "hamfest" really is nothing more than a flea market, there should be no buyer admission charge.  Oh, sure, heard this many times: "it's for a good cause."  It should be enough for the "good cause" folks to charge sellers for a space.  Not people attending to wander past tables.

Go to any large general purpose flea market, and they don't charge admission.  If they did, not many would come.

If there are presentations, new equipment demos, etc., then fine, it's truly a hamfest.  Charge admission.  But, all of the just tail gates and flea markets should be free to buyers.  I find myself saying after most of them "why did I come here to pay to walk past row upon row of old stuff?" 

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AH7I
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« Reply #85 on: June 18, 2017, 05:36:26 PM »

I go to a ham fest to see other hams in person and look at the treasures they bring. Maybe have dinner with some friends. Show off my treasures. I price them high because I don't want to deal with the clown who is buying low for his eBay store. If someone comes along and appreciates a piece I may offer to him cheap just because he likes what I like about it. That's why my stuff is high. If you want to buy stuff cheap, get to the ham fest a day early. Catch people coming in to unload an estate or move to a retirement home.

Why complain about the price of old inferior gear if it's not worth having?Seriously. Think about it a minute. Some folks in the thread are complain that the stuff is not worth the price because it's junk. Why do they care?

As for the old circuit boards. I've recovered some really hard to find and expensive components for repairs and projects from some of those boards.
Once the cat hair was washed off they worked like new!

73, -Bob ah7i/w4
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N2SR
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Posts: 483




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« Reply #86 on: June 19, 2017, 05:37:26 AM »

....... This is what brings a hamfest down when there is a charge for attendance. Who wants to pay to get in and look at a bunch of stuff that should have been discarded years ago.

Lets clean it up a bit. Sell what's worth selling but please leave the junk at home, better yet, throw it out, its not worth a penny. 

I've said this same thing before, but here in the Southeast, no one seems to listen.  If what is billed as a "hamfest" really is nothing more than a flea market, there should be no buyer admission charge.  Oh, sure, heard this many times: "it's for a good cause."  It should be enough for the "good cause" folks to charge sellers for a space.  Not people attending to wander past tables.

Go to any large general purpose flea market, and they don't charge admission.  If they did, not many would come.

If there are presentations, new equipment demos, etc., then fine, it's truly a hamfest.  Charge admission.  But, all of the just tail gates and flea markets should be free to buyers.  I find myself saying after most of them "why did I come here to pay to walk past row upon row of old stuff?" 



That is true, however, most flea markets are held weekly or monthly, in an established place where the flea market "company" owns the land.  The company hires full time workers to maintain the buildings, security, parking lot attendants (if the place gets large enough) and in general, run the place.  Everyone knows where the place is, the flea market company continually advertises in various media.   Many people become "commercial vendors," because they are there each week/month.   Those commercial vendors attract shoppers, who do not pay to shop.  Private parties are also welcome to come and sell their personal property.  They are charged a lower rate than the "commercial vendors," but enough to cover some overhead established by the flea market company. 

Ham radio, hamfests are typically run by a radio club, and are held once per year.  Those in the radio club are not in the business of running a ham radio flea market.   The local hamfest is typically a fund raiser for the radio club, which allows them to buy some equipment for their club station, or buy/upgrade the repeater that most attendees chat on every morning on their way to work.   The hamfest location is typically not owned by the radio club.  They typically have an established place that they use every year - that most of the local area hams know about.  They may rent it for some small fee, or if they are lucky, will get it for free.   Typically the radio club will have to show the venue that they have an insurance rider for the event, which will protect the venue from a lawsuit if some idiot trips on his own two feet and splatters his head on the sidewalk. 

While I agree that I do not like to be charged to enter a hamfest because I don't care to look at old junk, much of which should have just been tossed out.  But, word tends to get around about various hamfests that are either "good," or "not too good."   Many clubs have tried to stop the downward spiral.   Several years ago, a local club advertised "free tailgating."   If you were tailgating you did not pay the $10 (if you were under one of the pavilions, you did).  That seemed to bring back many sellers, and it also brought back many buyers.   For some reason, that gimmick only lasted a few years. 

Maybe the answer is to team up with a local commercial flea market company.  If the place has a large amount of space, then maybe a deal could be worked out where the hamfest is somewhat separated from the regular flea market.   The buyers are not charged entrance, and they also get entrance to the regular flea market.  The only thing that would need to be worked out is how is the money from the hamfest sellers split between the flea market company and the local radio club?

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W6EM
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« Reply #87 on: June 19, 2017, 08:46:17 AM »

Something is awash in the definition of "hamfest."  Since this post is mainly focused on flea markets, it brought me away from what I think a hamfest is.  At least a state or region wide event, complete with presentations and talks of interest to a large audience.  Almost always it involves an indoor venue.  And, yes, to lease an indoor venue along with liability coverage, it definitely is an expense.

But, when I think of "fleamarkets" I think of tables on an asphalt parking lot somewhere.  Sure, there are a few indoor fleas associated with hamfests, usually.  But, for the most part, low overhead, outdoor tail gates and tables.  Use of some business's parking lot on a weekend couldn't cost much.  I've attended a few back in CA on Jr. College parking lots and such.
There used to be a very big one at TRW's parking lot in SoCal.

If there is a decline in attendance to what are somewhat frequent (once a month, once every other month) tailgates then we are dealing with what is happening to ham radio.  Those who build, experiment and repair/restore are leaving.  Age, different demography, disinterest thanks to smell phones, etc.  Not much can be done, I'm afraid, to turn back the clock.  Things electronic today tend to be small and non-repairable.  No salvage value to parts and pieces.  Little actual use of leaded components anymore....to say nothing of their disappearance from stocks of distributors.

Those who truly are looking for parts at fleamarkets (like me) are willing to travel significant distances to peruse what's offered.  I may carp about the way the Southeast seems to operate flea markets, but admittedly they're almost always part of a true hamfest, so I pay up.....
There isn't the need for frequent plain old fleamarkets here as there was out West 20 years ago.  Maybe not there now as well.

73.

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