The Findlay Hamfest

One of the perks of attending the ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention on Saturday was a free ticket to the Findlay Hamfest on Sunday. Many of the convention attendees were up bright and early to eat breakfast and get over to the Hancock County Fairgrounds when it opened.

As hamfests go, I didn’t think this one was all that great, to be honest. Most of the rigs for sale were well past their prime, and none were really bargains.

What did catch my eye was the number of antique radios there. There were quite a few wood console radios from the 40s and 50s, and one guy even had a couple of Crosleys that were older than that. I also saw a couple of Zenith TransOceanics for sale as well.

Another radio that interested me was a Lafayette HA-600. The HA-600 is not an antique radio by any means, but it was one of the first all-transistor sets in the late 60s/early 70s. I used that radio for several years as an SWL before getting my ham license, at which time I “upgraded” to a Hammarlund HQ-101.

The radio was in really good shape, and I may have even bought the thing, if the vendor hadn’t been so snotty. He had it tagged at $100, and when I told him that I’d had one as a kid, and had even paid that exact same price for it, he got all huffy and said that they cost $200 new way back when. I wasn’t trying to start an argument, and after that response, I just walked away.

I also enjoyed the fact that I was not selling at this hamfest. Selling is fun, but as I don’t have a partner, I don’t get to look around and see what else is for sale. And while I didn’t find all that much at Findlay, it was fun to get the chance to do so.

One thing I did pick up–and which I think was a bargain– is Gap Titan DX antenna. I paid only $100 for the antenna, and new they cost well over $300. It looks like all the parts are there, and the guy selling it even had the installation instructions. So, I think I got myself a pretty good deal. It’s supposed to cover 80 – 10, including all the WARC bands without radials. We’ll see about that.


  1. Don Colbert says:

    I just bought a fairly decent HA-600 for all of $10 as a ham swap meet.

    He originally wanted $15 for it, but when he thought I might be losing interest, he said “I’ll take ten for it”…

    I said what the heck so now I’ve aligned it as best I could and just love how it looks.

    My first “real” shortwave was a Knightkit Star Roamer that I build as a lad.

    I just got one of those too from ebay. $40 for that one. Replaced the caps, fuse holder and meter pot and it at least plays now.

    The only problem I’ve got with the -600 is the lightening like noise all the time. I’ve heard this is caused by silver migration, but not sure how to cure it.

    Once it stabilizes, I have no problem copying SSB and CW.

    It sits right next to my Realistic DX-200.

    See a pattern?



  2. Dan KB6NU says:

    Great deal! I eventually purchased an HA-600 for $30 at a hamfest. The thing seems to work OK, except that it has a flakey RF gain control. Unfortunately, the control looks to be a dual, ganged pot of some kind. Don’t know if I’ll ever be able to find a replacement for it.

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