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eHam Forums => Hamfests => Topic started by: K2LGO on September 08, 2011, 04:12:57 AM



Title: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K2LGO on September 08, 2011, 04:12:57 AM
   At the risk of starting a firestorm, I do indeed believe that 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
dealing the majority of the death blow, closely followed by the lack of interest in building and buying parts...
   As for new radios, MOST (not all) dealers can sit behind their 1-800 facade, and probably realize a greater profit than by horse assing themselves across a couple of states to show their wares...
   I was introduced to the ham radio flea market by my dear friend W2OQI(SK) in 1974, and I believe one of the first ones was LIMARC, possibly at the old Islip Speedway which used to exist here on L.I.  When I walked into that atmosphere I thought I was in ham heaven, with hundreds of sellers, and more buyers than I can describe...  But alas most(once again not all) L.I. flea markets are now held indoors.
   I now understand that my last bastion of hope, TIMONIUM has been reduced to one day, and will be all indoors, and of course I understand the reason.
   So it appears that if you cannot sell all your acquired treasures in your lifetime, they will wind up at the landfill..


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N2OIO on September 11, 2011, 04:51:11 AM

 Sign of the times..

 Remember when Radio Shack sold radio gear and parts? Those were great days...

 I was always a big fleamarket fan since a young child....Those have dried up as well unless you want knockoff pocketbooks or cheap socks...

 I decided to get back into 2m/70cm lately only to find nobody around to talk to...All the packed repeaters of years past are dead quiet all day now..

 I guess I will hold off on picking up a new H.t. lol



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: AB4D on September 11, 2011, 07:15:48 AM
All the ham fests I have attended lately are much smaller than in the past. The quality and quantity of gear available at the tailgate areas has also declined, I hate to say this, but the mentality has also declined.  I remember up through the 90's most ham fests were bustling places to find quality gear and parts, a great experience.  Now, its loaded with computer and cb radio junk, and maybe a handful of radios I would say are worthy of taking home.  A lot of the gear I've see in the tailgate area is old corroded or smoke stained junk that appears was stored in someone's shed, parts aren't much better. I've seen folks trying to sell heavily pitted and corroded variable capacitors.  Don't they know this part is basically ruined?  I would say at least 50% of the stuff I see at ham fests should be placed in a trash can.  I've literally seen someone with an HF rig,  setting on ground in a mud puddle during a rain storm, asking a ridiculous price.

I suppose most of the high quality gear ends up on places like e-bay, where bidders caught up in the moment pay nearly new prices for 20 year old gear. Who can blame a ham for trying to get the most he can for a piece of gear.  Our hobby is not inexpensive.   Unfortunately, I don't see this trend reversing, until the ham radio community decides otherwise, by participating more in their local ham fests.

73

Jim

73     


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WB7X on September 11, 2011, 08:48:32 AM

 Sign of the times..

 Remember when Radio Shack sold radio gear and parts? Those were great days...

 I was always a big fleamarket fan since a young child....Those have dried up as well unless you want knockoff pocketbooks or cheap socks...

 I decided to get back into 2m/70cm lately only to find nobody around to talk to...All the packed repeaters of years past are dead quiet all day now..

 I guess I will hold off on picking up a new H.t. lol



And Lafayette.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W5DWH on September 12, 2011, 10:31:15 AM
 I have only been a ham for 4 years so I don't know how it was years ago.

Some of the smaller ones may be declining but the larger ones are going strong.

These seem to be doing fine:
Ham-com in Plano Texas,
Belton Hamfest in Belton, Texas
Ardmore OK Hamarama, is actually growing. This year they have rented more space in the Ardmore Convention Center.

My only complaint about hamfests is that they shouldn't let vendor sell stuff that's not ham related - except for food of course.  :)

A hamfest is not just about the flea market, it's meeting up with your old friends and making new ones.

I will however admit that if I had any newer gear to sell I would put it on Ebay as I have a  larger audience.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K8AXW on September 13, 2011, 10:04:38 AM
I enjoy my homebrew linear amplifier.... which was constructed mostly by parts acquired at two hamfests I attended.  It took me 5 years to accumulate the parts but they were found at these two hamfests.

Since then, I now attend only one hamfest and it is waning each year.  I also make it a point to look for components for a linear.... not because I want to build another one but because I use this 'search' as a yardstick on what is available.  I've concluded it would be extremely difficult to find enough parts to build one these days.   >:(

4D, Jim's observations and conclusions are spot on.  It's a very sad thing.  

The new hams have missed a great facet of ham radio!


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W1ITT on September 13, 2011, 01:56:38 PM
For 34 years, my pals K1RQG (sk), W1GWU and I ran the Hosstraders hamfest, New England's largest.  One of my measuring standards for a "good" hamfest was whether I could build a full kilowatt amplifier with 99% of the parts available at that one hamfest.  For many years it was easily possible.  Other people have differing interests and goals.  We fought hard to keep the non-ham junk and general flea market stuff out, but increasingly, the better radios and components were consigned to Ebay for access to a wider and perhaps more lucrative market.  And Pentium I computers, old 386s and old 23 channel cb radios started showing up, in the hopes that some greater fool would buy them.  Many of these ended up in our trash at the end of the day and we had to pay for the disposal of special "e-waste".
Finally, after 34 years, and $1.3 million in contributions to Shriners' Hospitals we gave it up.  My work travels take me around the country, and I rarely miss the opportunity to see how the other guys do it.  Things are going the same way everywhere.  I think the 80's and 90's were probably the best years for hamfests.  I'm thankful that I was around to enjoy those good times.  I still enjoy visiting a hamfest and seeing old faces with more gray hair atop the heads.  Old friends are fun, but the flea market is now in its elder years, heading for the "home". No amount of nostalgia will change that.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: FORMER_K0PD on September 15, 2011, 06:00:08 AM
Where i live there is no Ham Store or Ham fest or even a radio club. I'm in western Kansas the Ham fest we once had in our area are all long gone. Colby Kansas used to have a well atteneded one but the last time i went over ten years ago it was 90% junk and computers and it is now no longer. There was a couple of small ones that are no longer but the one at Beaver Oklahoma was a really nice one with a well balanced pick of ham gear but was more like a Ham operators get together and very friendly. I agree E bay and the internet has done a lot to kill the Ham fests but i think it has more to do with the aging of the Ham population and in general lack of interest.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N9LCD on September 18, 2011, 07:52:52 AM
Some observations:

The cost of driving to a flea market is well into the "PROHIBITIVE" range.  KARS fest in Peotone is about $36 worth of gas.  The CFMC fest at Belvidere is about $75.  Every buck spent on gas is that much less for spending on radios.

I'm hesitant to pay much more than $100 for gear that's been outside who knows how many days. If it's been sitting out in blowing dust (or worst), it's at least a "clean'er up" if not a "fix'er up".  If it's inside, I'd be more willing to consider it.

It's EASIER, MORE CONVENIENT AND CHEAPER to find something I'm looking for on line.  When's the last time you've seen anything other than junker Racal, Watkins-Johnson, or Hewlett-Packard gear at an expo?  If you see any at all?

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.

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

 :(

         


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KB1TXK on September 19, 2011, 11:16:52 AM
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.

Well that explains why its so rusty, doesn't it?  God you guys nitpick too much.


(That was sarcasm, btw ;) )


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W3NUS on September 20, 2011, 07:23:15 PM
Ebay+Hams=Greed! No one goes to hamfests because they want to have some ignorant, jerk who doesn't know a thing about electronics or radio bid up the price of an item and end up with it. Then they probably get on ten meters without a license and try to talk to someone. No one else goes because they are tired of being jerked around by these greedy jerks. The last hamfest I went to there were pages on tables taken directly from Ebay stating what Ebay's prices were! Hams themselves have taken the fun out of hamfests. Pitiful isn't it?


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N3WD on September 20, 2011, 10:26:25 PM
I have been involved in running the Timonium Hamfest for their entire existence. Many people are complaining about the decline of hamfests and YES hamfests are declining.  Before everyone slams hamfests on non-ham radio items please remember why hamfests are held. They are held to raise money for the sponsoring organization.  Timonium is now one day and one building for one simple reason. It costs $14,000 additional dollars for the second building and second day. Why has outdoor tailgating been dissolved? Simple you have to rent at least 2 buildings to have control of the fairgrounds. If anyone wants to pony up $14,000 we will get the 2nd building, go back to 2 days and have outdoor tailgating. Heck, if someone gives us $14,000 we will even have FREE outdoor tailgating. Also, why is it there are over 30,000 hams within 150 miles of Baltimore and we can only get 5,000 to attend? Where are the other 25,000+?

There are a few reasons for the decline. Of course the internet in general and the ability to sell equipment at anytime without leaving their homes. E-bay and all the other sites that have virtual hamfests, but also remember that today there are many more hamfests than in the past.

Second, where are the ma and pa radio stores of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s… GONE. I can name 7 ham radio dealers that are out of business that were located within 100 miles of Baltimore. We now have 2 HRO of Delaware and HRO in Woodbridge, VA.

Third, COMPUTERS. Yes, computers are what made Hamfests so large. Back in the early 90’s most hamfests were 70% computer and 30% ham radio show. Even the people attending were 70/30 in favor of computer. Why have hamfests declined? Back then you could not get a computer anywhere BUT at a hamfest. Now every store sells them. How many stores and how many on-line sites are computer related.  So take 70% away from 10,000 in attendance and you get 3,000. Take away 70% from 100 vendor spaces and you get 30.

Fourth, is the aging ham radio population and how one gets involved in ham radio. How many clubs have had declining membership and participation due to age? Where are the new younger hams? They are not around. Between our lives getting so busy and the entire technology boom, ham radio is suffering. Yes people will say that there are more “NEW” hams than ever before but how many of those “NEW” hams actually get involved? How many of those “NEW” hams never renew their licenses 10 years down the road. I remember getting involved in ham radio by having someone who actually worked with me and once I got my licensed taught me how to operate on the radio, introduced me to the ARRL, and took me to my first 3 hamfests and walked around with me giving me advice. How many hams now get the book and sit at home studying? Then they go to a testing session and take the exam. They pass the exam walk out the door and most are never seen again.

Want to help out hamfests, ATTEND them.  The more people who attend hamfests the easier it is to get more ham vendors.

Bill, N3WD


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K2LGO on September 21, 2011, 04:44:18 PM
Hello Bill(N3WD)
   I started this thread, and I'm sure we have met as I have attended the Timonium hamfest for the last 5 years, and counted it among the best...
   I was actually going to query one of your members about why they did away with the outdoor flea market, but you indeed answered that for me...
   I believe most hams (me included) have no idea of the cost of running such a large venue...I think you put everything in perspective, so no need to beat a dead horse any longer...but I must admit that I have this feeling that next year, your group will find a way to have an outdoor flea market once again...
   Thanks for all your past efforts...I traveled 270 miles to get there, and never regretted it...and I really liked that Crown Plaza hotel...BOB :)


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N9LCD on September 22, 2011, 08:09:06 PM
Bill:

I've been on committees for a lot of events over the years.  Yes, major events are not cheap.  Hopefully you get enough "sponsorships" so that the "gate" is pure profit.

I agree with your point that MORE ATTENDANCE = MORE HAM VENDORS.

In the Chicago area, we have about seven club-sponsored fests.  All but one are shrinking.  I've always felt that one "big" fest would beat five or six marginal ones.

But one "big" fest means working together, sharing revenue based on the number of tickets each participating club sells.  Has anybody done that?  Will they ever do it?

PROBABLY NOT!

Why?

EGO!

"It's our fest.  We've always done it that way.  And we'll keep doing it that way until nobody walks through the front gate."

N9LCD


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N3WD on September 23, 2011, 09:44:57 AM
I was part of another Hamfest that was a shared venture between two clubs. It got to be a big fight over who did what and we deserve more because we did more work and had more volunteers etc.

Major dissapointment.

N3WD


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K6IUZ 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 :(  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!


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K6LCS 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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: ZENKI 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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N2EY 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



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W8QZ 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.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WD5GWY 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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N9NFB 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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: NO2A 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.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: AD6KA 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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N4FBW 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 :)


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KK4CPH 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!  8)  )  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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N9LCD 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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N5HNY 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.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K7RBW 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.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W9CLL 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

 :(

         

Yeah I miss both of those as well.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N8WWM on November 07, 2011, 01:43:15 PM
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

Absolutely...but you know, it sure is a pain in the butt trying to find a good used horse these days. I want them (whoever "them" is) to bring back the town stable like on Gunsmoke.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KA7RRA on January 05, 2012, 12:43:32 AM
I enjoy going to hamfest but here is my take on flea markets/hamfest

I well not buy a radio that is covered with yellow smoke stains. you can not give me that radio.

clean your gear up  if it looks to scumy,dirty I won't talk to you

cut your prices in half I well not buy a use radio for 20.00 dollars,less than a new one( I bet more people would show up)

bring all of the asseroies mike power cord batteries,manuals,chargers, and have the batteries charged up  I well walk away from a radio that has no power,and I really don't want to mess with you after its over

make sure it works before you sell it,and be honest  I'm not that dumb

don't tell me I need to buy it now,because you can get twice or 3 times a much on E-bay, then do it, put it on E-bay,I like a good challange,and I well walk away from you.






Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: VE7REZ on January 07, 2012, 01:04:38 PM
Indeed most areas that have regular Swap Meets seem to be decreasing.  Even at events like the Southwest Convention and Yuma Hamfests seem to have less guys out there.  I think because you have to pay for a space it's too risky going out when you know you aren't going to be selling enough to pay your way and come home with some loose change.  That's why the Desert RATS Club and Palm Springs Hamfest have chosen not to charge commercial vendors for their booth spaces or Swap Meet sellers either. They treat their event like a gift to the Ham community!  They treat this as just an event to get together and have some fun ...meet your on air buddies over a cup of coffee or lunch and use the proceeds from food sales to pay to run the event.  So it's up to the attendees if they can afford lunch or not. This year it's under $10 for a days worth of fun ( attendees pay only $2 to get in and less than $8 for a good home cooked meal by the XYL's of the Desert RATS Club.  Just like the good ole nostalgic days Palm Springs is famous for.  Some interesting hands on Demos running through out the day and  3  seminars that are really interesting not the same old stuff.  There are now over 35 Commercial Vendors coming with companies like Alinco with their under $550 HF rig on demo for you to try. Yaesu, HRO etc etc and There have actually been many many enquiries about the Swap Meet Space.  Almost disbelief that it's so cheap is mostly the reaction of the  callers!  Commercial Vendors all kick in raffle prizes instead of rent and the Raffles are held all day long.  Swap meet is free to sellors what a concept... hope to see you all there I'll be the one drawing your winning raffle ticket.  hi hi! Come join us under the Palm Trees ...for all the details of ARRL Palm Springs Hamfest goto http://desertrats.x.am  and http://desertrats.am for directions talkin info daily Nets & other  info etc.  See the info on RAT RODS /Hot Rods/Classic cars etc in the D-RATS Forum

73 Peter VE7REZ


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W3HKK on January 07, 2012, 01:44:30 PM
Sounds like the time is ripe for "Club Fests"....maybe 2x3 times per year, club members bring in items they'd like to sell to a club meeting.  Everybody adjourn after the business and go into the parking lot for a walk around looking in the back of  vehicles.

Being a "clubfest" prices would be more reasonable,  as guys are dealing with friends.  Plus it's a good way to clean up the shack and get the XYL off your back!


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N5USS on January 14, 2012, 10:48:26 PM
Where i live there is no Ham Store or Ham fest or even a radio club. I'm in western Kansas the Ham fest we once had in our area are all long gone. Colby Kansas used to have a well atteneded one but the last time i went over ten years ago it was 90% junk and computers and it is now no longer. There was a couple of small ones that are no longer but the one at Beaver Oklahoma was a really nice one with a well balanced pick of ham gear but was more like a Ham operators get together and very friendly. I agree E bay and the internet has done a lot to kill the Ham fests but i think it has more to do with the aging of the Ham population and in general lack of interest.

Are you near Derby KS  (Wichita)?  There is a nice one, it's a Radio Shack, in the back of an appliance store.  The owner is a ham, super nice guy.  Not just a Radio Shack store, he has a LOT and I mean a LOT of ham radio gear. 


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N5USS on January 14, 2012, 10:49:46 PM
It's just not ham radio stores and flea markets.

Ever try to find a good military surplus store nowadays?
Nothing but chinese made imported crap and other stuff that needs to be in the dumpster.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WB4TJH on January 19, 2012, 09:59:40 AM
Too costly to go to hamfests? That's a poor excuse for not going.  That's a simple issue to deal with: just carpool. I'm going to the St. Louis, Mo., hamfest at the end of the month, even tho it's about 300 miles one way from home in SW Missouri. I'm carpooling with a couple of other hams to split fuel costs. That's a simple solution to a simple problem.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KC7MF on January 21, 2012, 05:18:15 PM
A couple of weeks ago I attended a hamfest in Phoenix.  There were two commercial vendors but quite a few individuals.  Some observations.

If I see one more radio with an eBay print out taped to it I am going to spill my coffee in it.  As someone said earlier.  If you want to pay to sell it and have your money refunded if someone complains then sell it on eBay.

I saw for sale:  GI Joe toys, flashing lights, bowling balls, old stereo equipment, new stereo equipment, a package of tube socks, 1,247,612 beat up computer speakers, 8 track tapes, some floor jacks, a carburetor, a monopoly game, used clothing, several hundred baseball caps, a dusty 706MKIIG without a microphone or power cable for $750.00(firm), some guys ford, a girl's bicycle and more microphones that looked like they had been fished out of a grease pit than you could shake a stick at.

It was such a good hamfest that I bought some RG8x jumpers (great bargain from a nice guy named Roger) a copy of the Graceland CD from the same guy, a book on Satellite radio from another nice guy (whose name was probably not Roger but I forget) and some coffee.  Then I went to HRO right down the street and bought a 2 meter antenna. 

So it was worth it.  Though it was frustrating that people were not selling radios, non-greasy microphones or amplifiers like I had hoped, and the prices they were asking for the few that were there seemed pretty high, it was a diversion.  I got to take out my HT for its semiannual walk and I finished my book on CD during the 5 hour drive.   After all, these things are over before noon and you meet a lot of people.  You might find some highly sophisticated tchotchke that you were dying to try out or even the ultimate find.  A hat with your call-sign on it that was only worn on Sunday, as a backup hat, in its original Walmart bag from the nonsmoking home of the SK who had it before you. 


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W2TKW on February 02, 2012, 06:01:14 PM
Sounds like the time is ripe for "Club Fests"....maybe 2x3 times per year, club members bring in items they'd like to sell to a club meeting.  Everybody adjourn after the business and go into the parking lot for a walk around looking in the back of  vehicles.

Being a "clubfest" prices would be more reasonable,  as guys are dealing with friends.  Plus it's a good way to clean up the shack and get the XYL off your back!


That is so true!

At last years Field Day one of the guys brought his Yaesu FT 107M basically to see if he could sell it.  It had both the internal and external power supplies, the VFO and the external speaker with phone patch.  It was in immaculate  condition, very clean with no scratches.  When I got it home and fired it up, it worked beautifully, as I would expect since I know this guy takes great care of his equipment.  I have seen these radios easily fetch $600-700, sometimes much more depending upon the extras, on fleabay.  I was fortunate be be able to get it for much less  ;D, and I am certain I had far fewer problems getting this radio on the air than if I had bought one off of fleabay or one to the hamfests I have the habit of attending.

We definitely need more clubfests.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KD5RGJ on February 02, 2012, 07:05:37 PM
HUNTSVILLE IS FANTASTIC  !!
KD5RGJ


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N0LNY on February 05, 2012, 04:20:17 PM
make sure it works before you sell it,and be honest  I'm not that dumb

I've been attending hamfests for 20+ years and I'd say 90% of the gear I've bought has been as advertised. I will also say that I've been rarely lied to when buying gear via Ebay or various forums... but I've been outright lied to my face on several occasions at hamfests.

When buying hamfest gear, I always have a good idea what the stuff is worth and always assume a piece of gear has some sort of problem. I make offers, generally low, based upon that assumption. I will not pay "top dollar" for a piece of gear solely based upon a seller's word that it works perfectly. If I want to make a substantial investment in a piece of gear, I'll be buying from a professional who backs the gear with a warranty, service, and support.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KI8BL on February 06, 2012, 08:29:00 PM
yes i have been lied to,over ebay and hamfest.. you know they will get the same,some where else. hamfest and buying used equipment. get the guys call and name!! easy to track and will not to be stuck,with flipping junk.

 we had our hamfest just two weeks ago. turn out was low,and venders was high,looking bad!!!

 73 DE Ki8bl


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KB4QAA on February 06, 2012, 09:52:49 PM
It's just not ham radio stores and flea markets.

Ever try to find a good military surplus store nowadays?
Nothing but chinese made imported crap and other stuff that needs to be in the dumpster.

Knock, knock:  Our Army and Navy our the smallest they have been since before WWI (ONE).  There isn't much surplus to be had, pal!  ;)


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KC7MF on February 06, 2012, 10:22:39 PM
Quote
Knock, knock:  Our Army and Navy our the smallest they have been since before WWI (ONE).  There isn't much surplus to be had, pal! 

Knock Knock...  No its not.  Not by a long shot.  It is 4 times bigger than it was in 1939.   In fact it is bigger than it was in 2000 by nearly 90,000 troops or 20%.   Funny how we forget these things.   ;D


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: AF6AU on February 08, 2012, 01:49:45 PM
Oh, it's so late in my posting.

First, like many things Amateur radio, you get out what you put in, what you have done for your club or event lately? Who have you tried to stir interest in our hobby to, in the last year?
How many of your club actually go into the field, for field day? My club seems the idea of "Field" is the backyard of a member, and we plug into his 20M cube quad and 40M delta loop.

Don't be a do-nothing, get off your arse, and at least do something.

True, E-bay is easy, using the internet, pictures, and having delivery services do the work is convenient. But the attraction is simple, no admission fees (if applied to some 'fests), lots of variety, no walking all over, nothing to carry around, food, drink as close as the kitchen, and a bathroom that's familiar (big ++ for the XYL). And that's why things sell for good money there too.

I don't have an issue with Ham swaps becoming tech swaps, many of us have side hobbies and interests into computers, gaming, robotics, SWL, HiFi, even guns, hunting, and survivalists etc. We are a subset of an eclectic group, just as Radio Amateurs have Lowfers, Hf, repeater nuts, satellite lovers, even moonbouncers. You never know what interest you may rub off helping some kid filter out alternator whine from his 500 watt window rattling car stereo.

In pondering this, perhaps setting up a Ham Radio club table at a gun show, computer swap meet, or even a star trek convention would not be a bad idea.

I reside in Southern California, and finding a really good hamfest is getting even tough here. Your best chance is a tech swap, and who knows you may be able to sell that old pentium pro computer for $20 rather than giving it to the scrap bin.

If you know of decent swaps left in So. Cal. near north Orange County please let me know.
AF6AU




Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KI8BL on February 09, 2012, 06:16:12 AM
Oh, it's so late in my posting.

First, like many things Amateur radio, you get out what you put in, what you have done for your club or event lately? Who have you tried to stir interest in our hobby to, in the last year?
How many of your club actually go into the field, for field day? My club seems the idea of "Field" is the backyard of a member, and we plug into his 20M cube quad and 40M delta loop.

Don't be a do-nothing, get off your arse, and at least do something.


Exactly we that do for our clubs,are working hard! trying to keep it going. there are those that complain,but dont help. then try to take the credit.we as hams,need to work for our hamfest. to keep the hobbie alive.. i love hamfest, the friends,and coffee lol. buying old gear,tubes and all.. its on a major down slide. keep the hamfest going,support your club! keep on the bands and repeters!!

73 DE ki8bl en90


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WB8NUT on February 12, 2012, 04:34:06 AM
Ebay+Hams=Greed! No one goes to hamfests because they want to have some ignorant, jerk who doesn't know a thing about electronics or radio bid up the price of an item and end up with it. Then they probably get on ten meters without a license and try to talk to someone. No one else goes because they are tired of being jerked around by these greedy jerks. The last hamfest I went to there were pages on tables taken directly from Ebay stating what Ebay's prices were! Hams themselves have taken the fun out of hamfests. Pitiful isn't it?

Years ago I asked a friend, "what do you think it is worth?" His reply was simple, "it's worth what anyone is willing to pay for it."

eBay and hams use of it to sell radios is NOT greed. It is the seller's chance to get a fair price for what he/she is selling. It also provides a level of protection for both buyer and seller if you follow the procedures. I recently bought a couple of radios on eBay and they were not as represented by the seller. eBay quickly intervened and the seller refunded my money and I shipped the radios back. This was on a "all sales final" auction.

If people are bidding up the price to get the item, it is because that is what it is worth to them. Also, eBay reaches many more buyers then flea markets ever will reach. eBay and the Internet are just better and easier ways of selling and open your wares up to so many more buyers.

Unlicensed jerks and uneducated buyers buy from flea markets also. I've never seen a seller check a buyer for a ham license or try to talk them out of buying something because they were too stupid to operate or use a piece of equipment. Not to mention, with flea markets you never see or hear from the seller again. Flea markets are the ultimate buyer beware situation.

People who are most upset with eBay and Internet sales are those folks who have been used to underpaying and ripping off sellers. No more as the highest bid wins on eBay and fair prices work with Internet sales because there are so many more buyers exposed to the item for sale.

So when people talk about eBay and the Internet taking the fun out of flea markets it's because they were underpaying for years and cannot get away with it anymore.

Hamfests are still alot of fun. New products sales from commercial vendors are the reason I go. Parts, new radios, educational sessions, forums, clubs, friends, parties during the big events like Dayton are the real reason. Trying to used stuff in the flea market has no real interest to me. I buy on the Internet and eBay.

To those who cry and whine about the changes in amateur radio, this quote is so appropriate. At a recent business presentation, the speaker made this great statement: "If you don't like change, then you're really going to hate extinction."


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WB8NUT on February 12, 2012, 03:39:46 PM
I hope not. With the internet taxation push I hope folks will go back to these and other face to face deals. Sales tax will cool off the internet pretty fast.

Except that we have never applied sales taxes to casual sales. If we did, they would also have to apply sales tax to flea market sales and personal sales. So while it could apply to businesses, it would not apply to sales by individuals.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N3JJT on February 16, 2012, 10:36:36 AM
We all know that the internet sales have taken a large bite out of the hamfest venues.  Whether it is Ebay or ham radio stores itself.  I just went to a somewhat local hamfest this past Sunday.  What I saw, and what seems to be a common site at hamfests,(comments made earlier reflect this), people seem to think they are sitting on gold.  Now I understand that yes, there are some items that bring in regular cash flow, but this does not pertain to everything.  For example, on  a table Sunday there was a FT1900, in a box with a tag on it for $215!!  Why?  I have no clue!  Around the corner was a FT817 for over 800 dollars.  I guess that would explain why folks pack the things back up in their vehicle and take it home.  There is also a ham that has been toting a set of Bencher paddles around for a few years with a tag of 110 dollars.  With a sign attached:  "Do Not Touch"!  Things of this nature causes some of the knee jerk reactions that we all have.  However this will not stop me from going to hamfests!  I enjoy the atmosphere, and watching all of the people there with a common background scurrying around looking for that special part, a certain key, or certain rig.  I will continue to go to Dayton each year and stroll the flea market in hopes to cross paths with folks that I have worked, or have met each year while attending.  It is US, the ham operators that make the decline apparent to others.  When we stay home, and do not support the hamfest, this will be the outcome.  Go, participate, whether big or small, enjoy the visits, and take a look see.  Enjoy it, it is part of the hobby!  There is not a mandatory purchase requirement!  Others may vary.  My 2 cents.

73..Scott..N3JJT


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WB6RLC on February 17, 2012, 12:15:18 PM
What WB8NUT said, 100%. On the money, word for word.

 Ebay is 100% free enterprise, good old Yankee ingenuity and pure capitalism at its best (with the occasional bad apple). Just because you're too cheap to pay a fair price does not mean that it's not a fair price. I've sold stuff at give away prices, because I want to clean out the shack or I didn't pay much for it in the first place and am willing to pass it on.

BTW, the Palm Springs Hamfest has been growing 4 years in a row. In fact, we are looking for a new place to hold it. We've run out of room. So the bad economy or Ebay does not seem to be slowing it down. Neither does a long drive. Maybe it's what they are offering.

Glenn


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W4KYR on February 18, 2012, 08:15:41 AM
There are positive things and negative things about E-bay and hamfests.

In both cases you pay extra for an item, with E-bay you have to pay shipping costs (unless the seller offers free shipping). Hamfest you pay for the admission and the cost of gas to get there (not to mention drinks, food and parking).

Hamfests Positives
You can look at the item close up and in some cases ask the seller if they can power it on and test it. Can't do that on E-Bay

You can buy a large or heavy item (such as boat anchors, HF antennas and towers and generators) and not worry about shipping costs (if you have a hand truck, help and a vehicle large enough to drive the large item back to your QTH.) Try doing that on E-Bay Note: Some sellers allow for local pickup, this is good ...unless it is like 1000 miles away.

You might be able to negotiate for an item in the form of a trade, partial trade or bargain the price down. Can't do that on E-Bay, once a minimum price is establish on E-bay..that is it or it goes higher from there...but never down...

You don't have to wait 9 days for the auction to end (in hopes that you bid high enough to win the item or be at the computer to see if someone outbids you the last minute and you counter bid in the last remaining seconds) Some of us do not have the time to sit at a computer to watch an auction end. I rarely if ever bid on auctions, prefer Buy it Now.

E-Bay positives
You have some recourse through E-bay and PayPal if the seller didn't send the item, or misrepresented it. No recourse after buying at a hamfest unless it is from a dealer.

There might be better deals than a hamfest. I have seen SGC 2020 sell for $385, TS 50 $350, FT817 $400, IC703 $295 all from people with at or near 100% ratings but only as Buy It Now.

It is less expensive to buy through E-Bay than a hamfest if you are looking to buy one or two items. The Shipping cost (s) might be less than if one would spend the admission cost, gas, parking and food and drink at a hamfest.

Hamfest negatives.

Poor selection, over priced items SGC 2020 $750, IC706 first generation $550, TS 50 $600, HTX 202 $150.

EBay negatives
 
Overpriced items IC730 $400, IC703 $800, TenTec 1340 $110 (used), MFJ 971 qrp tuner $181, HTX404 $250??? for a $60 HT ?


Must wait up to 9 days for the auction to end (that is if you win the item) and another 3 to 5 days for the item to arrive after that. 14 days for a item that is nearly half a month! Not too convenient if you need it right away, like a part, or to replace a rig before a contest. More sellers should offer a Buy It Now option, not everyone has time to sit on their computer to keep bidding until the end of the auction.

You don't know if the item works or not despite what the seller claims. The popular way to dodge responsibility on E-Bay seems to be for the seller to claim they have no way to test it. Anybody hear of batteries? No way to test a CB? I guess their vehicle must run on 24 volts or something... if a person can't at least vouch that the item works in some fashion I am not parting with one cent of my money.

I'll still go to hamfests, despite E-Bay. And I will occasionally use E-Bay if I need something, but it will be a Buy It Now from a seller with 100%. If you want one item, get it from the internet. Got a list and want an experience? Go to the hamfest...



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K2ROU on February 25, 2012, 10:48:40 AM
I have been a ham for over 50 years and still enjoy hamfests. There is still good bargains out there along with the
fun of meeting old friends along with new ones. My only complaint is several I have attended in the last two years
close earlier than advertised. I have driven long distances just to arrive with an hour to spare when over half of the
sellers have already packed up and gone. So please remember us who still are willing to support your cause by staying
open till the bitter end. Have fun and see you at the next fest.

Bill
K2ROU


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K3AN on February 26, 2012, 10:57:09 AM
That banging noise you hear is Four Dollar Gas pounding the last nails into most hamfests' coffins.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K2LGO on February 27, 2012, 01:07:05 PM
K3AN Hit the nail on the head....What flea bay hasn't done to hamfests, the price of gas will certainly will....BOB


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K5MO on February 29, 2012, 04:47:06 PM
Our 'fests in central NC are doing pretty well! Come on down!

John K5MO


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W5TTW on March 07, 2012, 02:39:20 PM
I can find what I want online and have it shipped to my door.  My valuable leisure time is spent on the air, not on the road looking for gear.        


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KB9TMP on March 14, 2012, 08:14:02 AM
Hamfests are declining because of fuel prices and eBay but the hamfest has to do it's part also to be attractive to the consumer. We have changed our hamfest trying to help those who attend. We are not renting the whole fairgrounds this year. (cost saving) We have also went to a one day hamfest. (cost saving) We are also passing along those reductions to the attendees. Admission price is now $5 instead of the $8 of years past. We know times are tough and everyone is doing some belt tightening so we are too. The hamfests have to be proactive about this and not just whine about declining attendance and eBay.

Come visit the "New" Hoosier Hills Hamfest in Bedford Indiana this Oct 6th and see how we are trying to make it more cost effective for our fellow hamfest lovers!

73 de KB9TMP
2012 Hamfest Chairman for
The Hoosier Hills Hamfest
http://www.hoosierhillshamfest.org (http://www.hoosierhillshamfest.org)


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WA3YAY on March 23, 2012, 08:48:53 PM
Went to Orlando Hamcation again this year a thought it was one of the best I'd been to in a long time. Boat anchors galore, parts by the ton and deals to be had. My friend got an Icom PCR-1000 for $180. Didn't perform like he expected, but that wasn't the Hamfest's fault. On the other hand, I've been to some in the Philly area in the last five years that have taken all of 15 minutes to walk though. But I did pick up a vintage Heathkit HR-10B in good shape for $60, so again, deals to be had.

That being said, times change, equipment falls apart and wind up in the trash, rigs from estate sales of SK Hams wind up in private hands, etc. Besides, it's a lot more expensive these days to restore a Hallicrafters SX-101A than just buy an old Kendwood TS440 and just stick it on the air to the internal battery dies and it goes into a box in the closet.

Hamfests, by the nature of the equipment, can't be self-sustaining forever. Nature of the beast.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KD2AKG on March 24, 2012, 08:52:06 PM
I went to my first hamfest today. It seemed like the dealer turn out was much lower than expected. I saw some good deals, but I also saw way too much junk for too high a price. It sparked a conversation-Did the gear/accessories/ etc. look worn and beat up the whole time the seller had it, or did it get that way because he keeps putting it out for sale because it's overpriced and nobody wants it?

Also, dealers still setting up tables 1/2 hour after opening time, and packing up 2 hours later.

Also- lots and lots and lots of CB's....

I think hamfests are good for searching for deals, but good deals are few and far between. Unfortunately Ebay may be the better choice.

Spending time with ham buddies made the fest worth it though.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N0LNY on April 01, 2012, 04:25:08 PM
What gets me a bit "upset" with hamfests are those with high admission charges and very few sellers.

Went to one last year about 75 miles from home. Admission fee was $10. It was held in a church, so I doubt they had much of a rental fee. They had the entrance arranged so you couldn't look into the hall before you paid. I got into the hall and found 6 sellers set up along with 50 buyers looking around.

I felt "ripped off"... but, of course, didn't say anything. $3 may have been a fair amount to charge, but $10?

Now... this year they're promoting this hamfest as the ARRL state convention. A state convention at a hamfest that had 6 sellers show up last year? It sounds good on paper and the net... but I don't think it's worth the gamble to try again. $4 a gallon gas and $10 admission?... ain't gonna happen.





Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KC0KEK on April 11, 2012, 05:49:19 PM
I saw for sale:  GI Joe toys, flashing lights, bowling balls, old stereo equipment, new stereo equipment, a package of tube socks, 1,247,612 beat up computer speakers, 8 track tapes, some floor jacks, a carburetor, a monopoly game, used clothing, several hundred baseball caps, a dusty 706MKIIG without a microphone or power cable for $750.00(firm), some guys ford, a girl's bicycle and more microphones that looked like they had been fished out of a grease pit than you could shake a stick at.

Check out this thread for some even more bizarre examples: www.eham.net/articles/5599


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WD5GWY on April 14, 2012, 05:18:26 PM
The Belton, Texas hamfest today had a lot of interesting stuff. And some of
it even had something in common with Amateur Radio!  ;D
  Seriously, there was very little there that was not Amateur related. Given
the high price of fuel and reports of impending bad weather, there was quite
a turn out today. Found some things I wanted at a good price and a few things
that were a bit high priced. (in my opinion) But, overall, I think it was a great
hamfest. Belton's hamfest is twice a year. And I try to go to it and HAMCOMM
in Plano, Tx each year. One of these days, before I croak, I hope to make it
to Dayton. I have driven by it many times over the last 40 years. (when I was
a long haul truck driver, now I'm a local driver...........and love it)
I just never had the time or opportunity to go. I am saving up this year to go
next year!!
Hamfests are not dying out in this area. There are others, around that when
I do get the chance, I go to those as well. Just the three I mentioned are the
"must go's" that I tell my boss I have to do.
james
WD5GWY


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W0CKI on April 16, 2012, 07:54:38 PM
They ought to die, same old junk every year. Overpriced and brought back year after year. :o
73 to all, Gary, WOCKI


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: AD5TD on April 18, 2012, 06:57:36 PM
I just got back from the Belton Tx Ham Expo, last weekend and it was better attended than in the past.  I don't think they are dead yet but they are on the way out. 

Yes, fleabay and others have ruined the haggling ability and that just sux.  You offer a price and they just say, "well the last one sold on fleabay for $SSS.  We that was some idiot that just has more money than sense.  It has ruined it .


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KW4H on April 19, 2012, 01:06:12 PM
An interesting topic!!

I've been licensed since '74, have always loved going to Hamfests and will continue to seek them out and go no matter what.  I go mainly for the eyeball QSOs and to browse around for a good deal on things small and useful.  That being said, there are two things about many Hamfests that annoy the living daylights out of me.  One, non-ham vendors.  If I want to buy crappy jewelry and plastic toys with flashing LEDs I'll go to the dollar store (and probably pay less).  Two, fellow hams who are asking ridiculous prices for broken-down junk.  You seriously think I'm going to pay hundreds of dollars for that TS-520 that looks like it was dredged up off the bottom of the river?  At a 'fest a few years ago, I saw a guy selling a used Yaesu handheld for quite a bit more than the new price.

Even so, I'll continue to go.  I've just learned to expect the non-ham vendors and the outrageously priced junk.  Between it all, there are plenty of good eyeball QSOs to make and some small diamonds in the rough to buy.

Steve, AI7AZ
Tucson, AZ



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: ZENKI on May 19, 2012, 12:23:42 AM
Reminds me of a guy at the hamfest who had a old pair of shoes and rusty nails on his tables. He said to me "those shoes belonged too Art Collins and Collins used those nails on the shipping crates  for Collins equipment. He called them Collins Nails"  It was amazing watching the number of hams e who took him seriously! I asked him why he played this joke, he said everyone was looking  for the treasure of King Tut and wanted to get it for 5 dollars,  he just put ridiculous prices on the shoes and nails so that people  would  tell him  "thats too much for nails and shoes" can you do it for cheaper! He had $800 dollars on the shoes and 500 dollars on the box of rusty nails.

Anyway all the treasures at hamfests are gone....... and whats left is really junk.  I used to enjoy collecting collecting amp building parts, these days its cheaper really to  buy new stuff or a new amp. The unfortunate point is that  those who hams who own this stuff down really know how ridiculous their prices are,  and until they wake up  hamfests will not  be  a place to get reasonable priced goods. Since nobody is building stuff you might as well give all the electronic parts away for nothing or ask for a donation, it really is worthless. I worked for a electronics manufacturer who actually buried tons of surplus through hole parts under the foundation of their new plant. Nobody was interested in the stuff and I could not even be bothered carting the stuff to the hamfest because I could not even give it away for free, the game has changed!


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KB3YLQ on May 28, 2012, 04:36:01 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.

Actually, it doesn't. Sure, they can text email, video chat, skype, etc...as long as a third party network is up and running. But none of those services allow them DIRECT communication to the other person or people without first going through that network or service.

When those go down or are switched off (like BART did in California, for example), ham radio keeps the communication going.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W1RC on April 20, 2016, 06:12:43 PM
Okay gang, here is my .02.

My buddies and I run the largest hamfester in the northeast.  If you judge a hamfest by the flea market alone then there is no argument.  They are not the same as they were 20 years ago.  We all know the reason and I won't bother to get into it.

However if you look at the role of the hamfest in 2016 it definitely has a place in the radio community.  It is now primarily a social event where you can meet and greet your buddies, attend a seminar or symposium, comparison shop the candy stores, check out the flea market (there is still a lot of good stuff out here's), upgrade your license  and have a great time. 

We are thankful we have a wonderful venue and enough attendees to make sure we can pay the bills.  We even have enough left over to funnel back into the hobby in some small way. 

An earlier poster commented on the vendors buying up all the goodies before the general public gets in and suggested that they not be allowed to do this.  To try to regulate and enforce such an edict is near impossible.  We don't even try.  However our solution, low tech as it is, but it seems to work. We let buyers and sellers in the fairgrounds at the same time.

73,

Michael, W1RC


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K2LGO on April 21, 2016, 07:26:29 AM
OK Mike...Of course your right on...and from the couple of times I have been to NEARFEST, you guys do an admirable job...and the idea of letting buyers and sellers in at the same time is right on target....Putting on a hamfest these days is a BRAVE undertaking...73/BOB



Okay gang, here is my .02.

My buddies and I run the largest hamfester in the northeast.  If you judge a hamfest by the flea market alone then there is no argument.  They are not the same as they were 20 years ago.  We all know the reason and I won't bother to get into it.

However if you look at the role of the hamfest in 2016 it definitely has a place in the radio community.  It is now primarily a social event where you can meet and greet your buddies, attend a seminar or symposium, comparison shop the candy stores, check out the flea market (there is still a lot of good stuff out here's), upgrade your license  and have a great time. 

We are thankful we have a wonderful venue and enough attendees to make sure we can pay the bills.  We even have enough left over to funnel back into the hobby in some small way. 

An earlier poster commented on the vendors buying up all the goodies before the general public gets in and suggested that they not be allowed to do this.  To try to regulate and enforce such an edict is near impossible.  We don't even try.  However our solution, low tech as it is, but it seems to work. We let buyers and sellers in the fairgrounds at the same time.

73,

Michael, W1RC
[/quote]


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KB4MNG on April 22, 2016, 05:44:43 AM
Yeah, if you base Ham Fest success on the uses stuff it's over. I went to Shelby Hamfest and the only stuff there was junk that would not sell on ebay. Big undesirable boat anchors and stuff that needed to go into the trash can.

They had all the vendors in a nice air conditioned building but there were not many there.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K8KVN on April 24, 2016, 03:36:16 PM
I visited the Athens Ohio hamfest this morning. Barely on my schedule but a funeral in WVa and an open Saturday evening in Parkersburg lined up. Better quality gear, as I expected. I didn't bring enough cash this trip, but I do hope to see these dealers again. Maybe in Dayton, maybe Parkersburg, maybe Mansfield or Findlay. I hope these people keep dealing and remember the XYL's may be licensed (for real), Ralph! You don't know how hard I worked for that. And dealers, bring cool things for our new youth to buy. And dads, buy it. I'm betting on local events.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KC2QYM on April 25, 2016, 08:38:40 AM
Here are a few things I've seen at hamfests that can turn your stomach...
A toaster oven with caked on, baked on crumbs and crap. Microphones with the original spittle of the silent key who previously owned them.  Radios with serious finger grease embedded in the knob grooves. Filthy old QSTs and other publications that were obviously bathroom reading material from some old SK's house.  A chair used in a shack with living color 'Tire Marks' on the seat.  There are many hams out there who are absolutely disgusting people.  Although they don't make up the majority of hams at hamfests they definately bring the experience of visiting one into the sewer.  The clubs that sponsor such hamfests have no concept of how to manage them and set some minimal standards for display (and cleanliness) at their events.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N9LCD on May 21, 2016, 05:52:43 PM
I try to make the local Fests.

I may not buy but seeing all those guys suffering from Dunlap's disease is a strong encouragement to keep up the two 10K's and 90 minutes a week pumpin' iron


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: KD4EPG on June 08, 2017, 04:04:04 AM
One of the problems with Hamfests is too many folks think their used gear is worth way more than it is and too many buyers aren't willing to pay a fair price for gear. Everyone wants a bargain and everyone is a top negotiator, in their own minds. What I have seen is most folks have no real clue how to value a product, they just believe you should give them a 30% discount no matter how good your price is. No wonder prices seem high. Vendors have to protect themselves.

I have seen folks pay more for an item because they got a "great deal" of a "discount." If you want a discount, Walmart is open 24/7. If you want decent Ham gear, they don't have that either. Don't let a couple of dollars keep you from some great gear. Remember, a dollar is just as valuable to the guy you are trying to beat up as it is for you.

Do your homework. Know what you are talking about before you haggle. People will respect your viewpoint and you will know when you are seeing a fair deal and just buy it without haggling.

Just my observation on Ham gear and other types of items....


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W9ZIM on June 08, 2017, 08:54:01 AM
I think there are probably a lot of people trying to score dirt-cheap gear at the flea market so they can turn around and sell it for a ridiculous mark-up on eBay.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: K9MHZ 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! 


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: ZENKI 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!



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: VE3WGO 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



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N5PG 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 :(


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W9FIB 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.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: WD4HXG 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.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W4KYR 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.


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W3ALG 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. 


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W9FIB 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. ;)


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W6EM 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?" 



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: AH7I 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


Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: N2SR 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?



Title: RE: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...
Post by: W6EM 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.