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Author Topic: Disappointed with first Hamfest.  (Read 35535 times)
KK4IKO
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Posts: 67




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« on: October 24, 2012, 06:37:52 PM »

I attended my first hamfest this summer.  While there was plenty of real gear, including oldies but goodies, I was dismayed to see vendors selling lots of new, cheap, flea market-type junk, most of which was not ham related.  They were clever enough to set up close to the entrance where you had to trip over them to get to the good stuff.

Is this typical?

Bruce, KK4IKO
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W2TKW
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 05:48:50 AM »

What vendors get into a hamfest depends upon the hamfest organizers.  Some organizers are very diligent about doing their job, while others are more worried about just getting enough vendors.  I was at the Gray, TN hamfest at the Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend, and I think I saw only one vendor that I would question why they were given space.  The Ten-Tec hamfest was pretty good also, there were a couple of non-ham vendors but 90-95% were ham related.  I would not give up after one hamefest, you just have to ask around to find ones that are worth attending.

W2TKW
Tim
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KK4CPH
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Posts: 154




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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 07:52:53 AM »

Tim is right.  Some organizers are strict about what they allow and others are content with getting money for anyone to sell their junk.  Ten-Tec is a great one.  Gray, TN is a good one and you might also want to check out Waynesville and Shelby, NC.  Also one coming up in May in Spartanburg, SC you may want to check out. 

Eric
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K0JEG
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 09:00:42 AM »

Our club had a hamfest last weekend. 95% of the stuff was ham related. In fact, I think I was the only "vendor" who was selling a few non-ham items (an Android tablet and a PC case), which were looked at but didn't sell. It was very small swap meet with only about 10 tables total, and 2 professional vendors (Arrow Antennas and a parts bin guy).

I've found this to be the case in most of the hamfests I go to in Colorado. Mostly ham gear (running the gamut from parts and junk boxes to fairly new radios in excellent condition), but a few used commercial 2-way parts guys and some networking gear, most of which seems to go back home with the vendors.

Contrast this with some of the big hamfests I used to attend in the DC metro area, where whole buildings were dedicated to the "white box" PC components and rave LED flashlights crowd.

Not sure which I prefer. I know that when I was building PCs it was nice to see what was available, but I usually ended up buying from the local guy when I got home (who usually had as good a deal as at the hamfest). But having just ham vendors is nice too if you have a limited time to look at everything.

Really, what I'd like to see is hamfests morph into more of a convention type model, with more emphasis on presentations and training sessions, and less focus on the swap meet. But I'm guessing I'm in the minority, even though most of the sessions I've attended have been packed if it's an interesting topic.
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K2CMH
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012, 12:23:57 PM »

Quote
Really, what I'd like to see is hamfests morph into more of a convention type model, with more emphasis on presentations and training sessions, and less focus on the swap meet. But I'm guessing I'm in the minority, even though most of the sessions I've attended have been packed if it's an interesting topic.

I second that...I have learned a lot by attending seminars.  They give you a chance to ask questions of the experts in the field.
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W9GB
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012, 10:45:49 AM »

Quote
I attended my first hamfest this summer.  While there was plenty of real gear, including oldies but goodies, I was dismayed to see vendors selling lots of new, cheap, flea market-type junk, most of which was not ham related.  They were clever enough to set up close to the entrance where you had to trip over them to get to the good stuff.

Is this typical?
More COMMON in past decade.  
In 1990s, it was Computer surplus; 1980s, tons of CB surplus; 1970s Vietnam war and LMR tube gear surplus;
1950s and 1960s WW2 surplus.
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K9YLI
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 07:17:07 AM »

 And all  start  too  darn   early..  by startng before Ten  they  eliminate  a large portion of hams that live  in the  75 to 150 mile range.   
 Which  out side of  metro areas,,  is the normal ham  population.
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N0FPE
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Posts: 370




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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2012, 04:27:22 AM »

Starting too early is a relative thing. Maybe too early for you but just fine for those that want to go to the hamfest and still have the rest of the day. And how abt the folks that are working the hamfests? Do you think they want to be there til after dark tearing down and cleaning up? You will not be there helping so what do you care right?

10am is WAY to late in the day. Maybe a 7am or 8am start time would be better than odark30.
I can tell you that if a hamfest started at 10am myself and lots of other working folks would not be there. So maybe the late start time hamfests could be just for retirees!!!
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K8GU
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2012, 06:11:50 AM »

Totally normal to have fleamarket types at a hamfest.  There's plenty of overlap in the populations.  Yes, good organizers can help but they are also trying to cover their expenses and maybe make little for the club. 

The best hamfests are the big ones.  But, there are a few good little hamfests out there also.  I almost always find something I was looking for when I attend a hamfest.  I've only been to one hamfest that I would describe as "awful"...it was all computer junk.  These days, I mostly just go to Dayton every couple of years and try to hit a few local/regional hamfests in between.

I think it's great when a hamfest opens at 7 am, especially in the summer.  For me, my fondest memories of hamfests are getting up when it's still dark, driving an hour on traffic-free roads swapping lies about radios, memorable QSOs, and hamfests past with my companions.
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KA9OFN
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2012, 08:43:21 AM »

There is a lot of that going on. Hamfests tend to cross over into computer stuff, cell phone stuff, power tools, etc. Interesting to look at and distantly ham-related, but that's not why people show up.

I get a kick out of the guys who are selling jars of honey, hand crocheted potholders...yadda yadda. Is this a craft show or a ham fest?

Don't let it discourage you. In a way it adds to the flavor of the event.
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KA7RRA
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 04:39:21 AM »

Go to Dayton in 2013  and you well see a lot of ham related stuff
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K1CJS
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 04:43:46 AM »

One thing that has to be remembered is that a hamfest is usually a money making event for the club.  In areas where the club membership may be small the club depends more heavily on hamfest type affairs to make the money the club needs to survive.  So, when the club hamfest comes up, it usually isn't wise to close the dealer area to everything but ham related equipment, and many clubs will allow any type of things that are even remotely related to the hobby, including things that may be used in hamshacks, homes, etc.

Another point is that the club hamfest could usually be regarded by many of the members as a family affair--so they could take their families with them--and invite people who aren't hams so as to get them (hopefully) into the hobby.  Spouses and kids may want to go through the sellers area--so the sellers are allowed to have items that appeal to them as well.

Many hams want nothing but ham equipment at hamfests, but many others recognize that trading off and allowing other stuff to be sold there 'opens the door' to increased participation of their family and friends, and as a result, allows them to pursue the hobby a little more freely--and with less static from their family and their spouse as to how they spend their free time.
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K9MHZ
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Posts: 433




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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 08:32:27 AM »

And all  start  too  darn   early..  by startng before Ten  they  eliminate  a large portion of hams that live  in the  75 to 150 mile range.   
 Which  out side of  metro areas,,  is the normal ham  population.


Starting at 10 would make for a hot, miserable day in many areas of the country during the summer.

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AA4HA
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Posts: 1568




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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2012, 02:49:29 PM »

Any place that has the damned stroboscopic lights and marquee LED displays is a waste of space. Save that BS for a CB radio show or the local flea market.

Something hamfests should consider is giving each entrant a feedback form where they can rate the top three and bottom three booths. The top three booths get in for free in the following year and deserve a mention in the hamfest advertising. The worst three get blacklisted.

I was at the Huntsville fest two years ago with another ham and I had to get him out of the convention hall really fast. He has a seizure disorder and the flashing LED's were giving him auras (warning signs). I do not have a seizure condition but the glaring lights coming off of those booths were very distracting. I just avoided that part of the hall, to the loss of any other sellers who happened to be set up near those carnivals.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
G3RZP
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Posts: 4828




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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 08:02:47 AM »

I have picked up some very good workshop tools at Dayton. Ham radio related? Yes, if one is into homebrewing equipment - which I am. Now if only I could find a cheap set of gear cutters.....
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