Good Things Come in Small Packages…

…or in this case at small hamfests.

Yesterday, I attended the hamfest of the Chelsea ARC. As hamfests go, this is generally a rather small one. As far as the fun I had there, it was a great, big one.

I drove over there with Jim, K8ELR. It was cool, and it looked like it was going to rain. I checked the weather report, though, and it looked as though the rain was going to hold off, so when we got there, we opted to set up outside and sell out of the back of the van.

Almost immediately, we had guys making us offers. They were pretty low, though, so I put most of them off until after 8 am. After that, things started to move pretty fast. I sold a bunch of books, an old Radio Shack 2m radio, the MFJ antenna tuner and MFJ keyer that had been donated to the Ham Radio at the Hands-on Museum project, and one of the el-cheapo Harbor Freight DMMs among other things.

Jim and I swapped a couple of things. He had a nice, chrome-plated Bencher paddle that he purchased on Ebay that he sold me for $50, and I sold him an old Radio Shack scanner that someone had donated for $10.

In addition to the Bencher paddle, I also acquired a couple of things from Mark, W8FSA. He had a box of random junk, which we sold from our table. From Mark, I got an in-the-box Simpson meter ($4) and a “beam filter” ($2, picture at right). According to WB8TKL, this is a passive audio filter that used to be used in airplane navigation systems. They were apparently used by ham radio operators as a poor man’s CW filter.

The best acquisition, though, was an Optoelectronics frequency counter. Mark was only asking $2 for it. It came with a wall wart power supply, so I took it into the pavillion and plugged it in. All the LEDs lit up, so I bought it. I cleaned it up when I got home, stuck a wire into one of the inputs, and got it to measure the output frequency of my IC-746PRO. Looks like a great buy for two bucks.

The most fun was had, however, meeting and talking to everyone. At one point, our table became a defacto club table. Not only were we selling Mark’s junk, but we had several members hanging out with us. Now, I can’t wait for the Monroe Hamfest, which is going to take place in two weeks.


  1. David Brodbeck N8SRE says:

    The beam filter was probably for use on “four-course ranges.” They used Morse code in a fairly unique way. If you’re not familiar with them, this site has a good explanation:

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