Don, KB9UMT, the moderator of the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list recently asked the following questions:
Do you support or go to your local area Hamfest(s)?
If you go then why do you go?
If you don’t then why don’t you?
If you go what do you see at them?
What kind of equipment?
What kind of prices?
Do you buy that $5 hotdog or take your own….
Here’s my reply…
There are quite a few hamfests within an hour or so drive from Ann Arbor–there were two last weekend alone! Since that’s the case, I can’t say that I get to all of them every year. I do try to make as many as I can, though.
Why do I go? Well, mostly because they are fun!
Meeting people is the most fun. At most hamfests nowadays, I always meet someone I know, either because I’ve spoken to their ham club, or they were in a ham class of mine. I also try to organize carpools, and it’s a blast to talk ham radio to and from the event.
I also go to check out the gear for sale. At a recent hamfest, I picked up a Lafayette HA-600 shortwave receiver, a radio that I bought as a kid with $100 I earned delivering newspapers. And there’s always supplies to buy. My friend Ralph, AA8RK, says that you should never leave a hamfest without a handful of connectors and adapters.
The hamfest I attended Saturday—the Crosssroads Hamfest in Marshall, MI—had a great assortment of radios for sale. There was a lot of vintage gear as well as more modern radios. There were also a couple of bugs for sale. I should have snapped up that Speed-X bug for $75, but by the time I had decided to do it, it had already been sold.
I never buy the $5 hot dog, but I do often buy a donut and coffee.
I think everyone on this list should go to at least one hamfest this year, even if it’s a bit of a hike. Find people that are near you to carpool with to keep down expenses. When you get there, make an effort to speak to the hams selling stuff about the stuff they’re selling. Make an effort to speak to the other hams while you’re having a coffee or while you’re wandering the aisles. If the hamfest has an ARRL table, check out and pick up some of the literature. Do all this, and you’ll not only have a lot of fun, but learn something in the process.