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Author Topic: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...  (Read 61211 times)
K6IUZ
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2011, 11:00:18 PM »

I recently got back into the hobby after many years of less-than-ambitious activity  and started looking for local
hamfests (remembering what they had been - at least at the TRW and Foothill sites) to get "stuff" for my
new projects in the works. Was excited to find one that two or three clubs were putting on and drove the
hour extra early to get there so as not to miss the best deals, all with a level excitement not experienced
for sometime with $ in hand..........what a disappointment Sad  maybe two or three dozen
vendors, many of which remember what their stuff was worth back in the day and thought it increased in value.
I bet most of it went home with them. Did enjoy the coffee and donuts though.

Was listening to a QSO on a local repeater that evening where a couple relatively new hams were discussing
how much fun they had. Got to thinking about it and it sounds much like what earlier posters mentioned...
not nearly as much building as there once was, maybe not as many of us Hams around...I was surprised
then thrilled to hear the new guys enjoying it...perhaps there will be renewed interest...and I think us older
guys should probably encourage it too...gets the old creative juices flowing again and not just for the remote!
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K6LCS
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« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2011, 10:13:30 AM »

>> ... the best days of the ham radio flea markets are behind us...Of course we all know the reasons...Flea Bay and the internet, definitely ...

Don't know your definition of "best." But there most certainly are "high quality offerings," "honest people," and "great location" ham swaps still out there. Add to that list of MY qualifications are: low admission fee, free parking, and honest value for lunch.

The Desert RATS festival in January immediately comes to mind ...

http://desertrats.am/pshamfest2012.html

SO ... Great hamfests are still out there ... just maybe not as many as in years past!

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
ZENKI
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Posts: 934




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« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2011, 02:19:14 AM »

The biggest problem with hamfests these days are the professional fleapay traders who  go to every ham fest and cleans the tables of all the cheap and good stuff before the paying public can get  to it. They just get a table and put junk on it so they can get in before everyone else.

Organizers of hamfests  should really prohibit all trading from occurring before the doors open. Most ordinary ham  sellers who turn  up to the hamsfests will be selling stuff at reasonable prices. However its the fleapay traders who buy the goodies at cheap prices before the doors open up and then double the prices at the next big hamfest or sell it on Epay. They all know who they are! I am always amazed   that after attending many hamfests I see the goods listed the same night on Epay for double the prices, they work fast!

The factor thats destroying hamfests faster than any other factor is hams clinging onto the belief  that whatever they have has the same value as gold nuggets. Second hand ham radio equipment is pretty much depreciates fast in value and hams dont want to accept this. Nobody buys second hand computers, TV's and any other consumer devices these days because you can just about buy new stuff for the second hand prices. The price collapse has also occured in the ham radio markets however  hams refuse to accept this  fact. I see equipment from the 80's selling for about 20% less than the new retails prices in 70,80's and 90.. Lets be honest the new ham radio gear today is  more reliable and much better in performance,  hams who say different just are kidding themselves and their customers.

I aint no hamfest sucker!

>> ... the best days of the ham radio flea markets are behind us...Of course we all know the reasons...Flea Bay and the internet, definitely ...

Don't know your definition of "best." But there most certainly are "high quality offerings," "honest people," and "great location" ham swaps still out there. Add to that list of MY qualifications are: low admission fee, free parking, and honest value for lunch.

The Desert RATS festival in January immediately comes to mind ...

http://desertrats.am/pshamfest2012.html

SO ... Great hamfests are still out there ... just maybe not as many as in years past!

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
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N2EY
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Posts: 3879




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« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2011, 02:11:29 PM »

Organizers of hamfests  should really prohibit all trading from occurring before the doors open.

How could they actually do that? It would take an army of volunteers policing the grounds.

The factor thats destroying hamfests faster than any other factor is hams clinging onto the belief  that whatever they have has the same value as gold nuggets. Second hand ham radio equipment is pretty much depreciates fast in value and hams dont want to accept this.

I want to accept it. It makes buying used stuff cheaper!

Imagine - a late-model TT Omni 6+ with all the filters, power supply, etc., in mint condition for $500. Or less. After all, it's second-hand and not made any more. A computer that old would be a give-away!

Nobody buys second hand computers, TV's and any other consumer devices these days because you can just about buy new stuff for the second hand prices. The price collapse has also occured in the ham radio markets however  hams refuse to accept this  fact. I see equipment from the 80's selling for about 20% less than the new retails prices in 70,80's and 90..

Is it actually selling, or being offered for sale but nobody's buying?

The real issue is that while an old computer or analog TV has extremely limited usefulness, an old ham rig in good condition has lots of usefulness.


Lets be honest the new ham radio gear today is  more reliable and much better in performance

Not necessarily. It all depends on the rig in question. Do you really think a bottom-of-the-line 2011 HF-VHF-UHF rig has much better performance than a top-of-the-line rig from some years back that costs the same?


hams who say different just are kidding themselves and their customers.

Some are. Not all.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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W8QZ
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2011, 07:07:56 AM »

I think a lot of the change has come from 'personal economics'.

By that, I mean: what can you or I get at a hamfest that you *can't* get somewhere else?

Think about that one.

I believe that is the main factor. New ham stuff? On line! Used ham stuff? On line!

The one thing you can't get over the internet is a fresh donut, and a chance to chat, face-to-face, with your ham buddies. That is probably  the main reason people go to hamfests. (I realize there are some other reasons, but they are diminishing). Before the internet, to shop for used gear, there were several 'ham trader' flyers, some on-the-air listings, and - hamfests!

Yes, I miss those days, too. But, the internet is here to stay, like it or not.
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WD5GWY
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Posts: 395




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« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2011, 04:56:03 PM »

One other reason to attend hamfests, is if you are into boatanchor rigs at all,
it is much better to find one at a hamfest than to buy online. Shipping a radio
that weighs in from 45 to 100+ pounds can be a nightmare for both the seller and
the buyer. It requires a lot of work to safely ship a radio that heavy. And for it to
arrive in good condition. So-called, "professional packing" by shipping companies
is a joke. They have no idea how to properly package a rig like that to where it will
take the abuse it will get from riding in a truck and being miss-handled by all of the
people that will come in contact with it during shipment.
  james
WD5GWY
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N9NFB
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2011, 09:42:29 AM »

Pay attention to nomenclature:

Locally, hamfest without flea is doing great.  Oddly enough, they don't even call themselves a hamfest.  Mfgr reps, about a dozen co-located ham club meetings, continuous formal scheduled volunteered technical presentations, some tech demos, food ... just no flea.  Some pre-scheduled private unauthorized transactions in the parking lot, or so I hear, but no formal flea.

Locally, hamfest with flea is doing great.  Basically above with fewer/no mfgr reps and rented space across the street for a small but active flea, but if you strike out at the flea, you can do "other stuff" in the meeting room across the street.

Locally, flea without hamfest is imploding.  Oddly enough, they call themselves hamfests despite just being fleas.  Used to be two just in my little suburb, one shut down years ago, the other went from the big building, to the small building, to 2/3 of the small building.  Meanwhile the starving municipality wants ever more rent money.  Not a good trend.  The big outdoor summer flea is still doing OK, when the weather holds anyway, the key is its held in a family park so the entire family goes as a picnic event, so technically its not just a flea, but a picnic and mobile/portable operating event too.

73 de N9NFB
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NO2A
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Posts: 779




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« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2011, 12:51:41 PM »

As much as I always loved going to hamfests,there is just far too much non-ham related junk. Tables of old phones,computers,cb`s,cb amps,nothing even remotely related. Anything that`s halfway decent they want an arm and a leg. Do you think anyone really wants an old military radio from WW2? At least some radios old or new would be nice. That is,a radio that wasn`t left in someone`s water-flooded basement. And actually is a ham radio. I didn`t come here to buy a fishing pole. The last fest I attended there were a few good buys,but not many. I agree it`s nice to socialize and meet friends.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2237




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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2011, 10:27:55 AM »

Quote
THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Yeah, so what?
The same can be said about ham radio.
Things change, times change.
Ken  AD6KA
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N4FBW
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2011, 05:07:58 PM »

Radio Shack still sells parts, in fact, they have nicely organized bins of parts. You can also get on their website to see what the local Radio Shack has in the way of parts. The selection isn't huge but it's decent.

I just got back from Pacificon and it was a bit smaller than some of the larger Hamfests I went to back East (in the 70's) such as the  Gaithersburg, MD. 'fest which was huge!. Pacificon had a good mix of vendors and flea market folks, though. I didn't get any fleas this time, maybe next time Smiley
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KK4CPH
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Posts: 154




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« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2011, 12:16:48 PM »

As much as I always loved going to hamfests,there is just far too much non-ham related junk. Tables of old phones,computers,cb`s,cb amps,nothing even remotely related. Anything that`s halfway decent they want an arm and a leg. Do you think anyone really wants an old military radio from WW2? At least some radios old or new would be nice. That is,a radio that wasn`t left in someone`s water-flooded basement. And actually is a ham radio. I didn`t come here to buy a fishing pole. The last fest I attended there were a few good buys,but not many. I agree it`s nice to socialize and meet friends.

^^^^^^^^^
This!!  The one I went to on Saturday had computers, car stereo's, toys, blankets, quilts, overpriced vendors.  The only deals were in the tailgating area. (And I got a deal!  Cool  )  CB radio's and scanners are ok as are people sellings hats and bumper stickers with your call sign.  But I'm not there to buy sunglasses and a video disc player.  (where the heck would you even get a disc for that?)

Eric
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N9LCD
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Posts: 170




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« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2011, 07:59:50 AM »

WD5GWY:

There ARE places that can properly pack and ship almost anything.  They're called "crating" services or something similar.

AND THEY AREN'T CHEAP!!!

To pack, foam-in-place, double-boxed, AND ship a 45-pound Racal RA-1795 to California with full insurance, $225.00!.  My would-be buyer bolted fast on hearing that estimate!

N9LCD
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N5HNY
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2011, 10:13:15 PM »

I remember going to my first hamfest. It was 1974 and it was all tailgate outside. It was in the parking lot of a state technical school. I walked away with a lot free junk in boxes because nobody wanted to take them home. Me and my buddy got free headphones, straight keys, wiring, connectors.... We got a bunch of parts to help out meager junk boxes.

Ten years later and I'm walking around Dayton Hamvention. Wow! Talk about a hamfest!

Think about the two. One is gone and the other greatly reduced. However, the hamfests that were once free and outside seem to be returning. The indoor hamfests that are still hanging in there are reporting a modest increase in numbers. Most of these are held in public places like schools and civic centers where there is no or low fees to use the space. I've also gotten reports of people selling things at resonable prices.

I personally am using other places to find my gear because E-bay has become too expensive and the stuff is junk or misreprested. I look through the site but now go to Eham or Craigslist.

Yeah we are getting old and I do wonder where the kids are. I think they just need some exposure and that takes time on the part of all of us.

Things are constantly changing but then again, they stay the same too.  The basic thrill of making radio contacts and friends the world over would still excite some people if they only knew about it.
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K7RBW
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Posts: 391




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« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2011, 06:45:09 AM »

Things are constantly changing but then again, they stay the same too.  The basic thrill of making radio contacts and friends the world over would still excite some people if they only knew about it.
I think the Internet took away the novelty of talking to people around the world. I talk to my kids about this and the "you can talk to people all over the world!" and their response is, "meh! I can text, e-mail, video chat, talk over the cellphone, skype, etc. with anyone in the world already. What do I need some big-ol' ham radio for?" If they want to geek out over electronics, it's to buy the latest video game or graphics card or quad LCD monitor, etc. If they want to wire stuff up, they wire up a bunch of computers for a LAN party (to use with their new games and computers).

Ham radio has a lot more competition, these days.
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W9CLL
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2011, 06:03:38 AM »


Yeah, I miss the big "ol' time" fests, especially HamFesters at Santa Fe Speedway and CFMC at Grayslake.  I also miss my 440 Cordoba.  But times change!

N9LCD

 Sad

         

Yeah I miss both of those as well.
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