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Author Topic: THE SLOW DEATH OF HAM RADIO FLEA MARKETS...  (Read 135995 times)

Posts: 22

« Reply #45 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

Posts: 591


« Reply #46 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."

Posts: 591


« Reply #47 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.

Posts: 31

« Reply #48 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.


Posts: 60

« Reply #49 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.


Posts: 1803

« Reply #50 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...

« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 12:42:42 PM by W4KYR » Logged

The internet and cellphone networks are great until they go down, what then? Find out here.,111948.0.html

Using Windows 98 For Packet...

Posts: 1

« Reply #51 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.


Posts: 787

« Reply #52 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.

Posts: 180

« Reply #53 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

Posts: 24

« Reply #54 on: February 29, 2012, 04:47:06 PM »

Our 'fests in central NC are doing pretty well! Come on down!

John K5MO

Posts: 48

« Reply #55 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.        
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 02:44:57 PM by W5TTW » Logged

Posts: 58


« Reply #56 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

Posts: 27

« Reply #57 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.

Posts: 11

« Reply #58 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.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 08:54:03 PM by KD2AKG » Logged

Posts: 6

« Reply #59 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.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 04:57:36 PM by N0LNY » Logged
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