Marshall Hamfest a Blast!

Last Saturday, there was a hamfest in Marshall, MI, sponsored by the Southern Michigan Amateur Radio Society (SMARS), called the Crossroads Hamfest. It’s in a perfect spot to draws hams from both southeast and southwest Michigan as well as northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana. Consequently, it’s a really great hamfest.

I had a blast as always. Accompanied by my sidekicks, Zoltan, KD8ABX and George, K8GEO, we got there just as the doors were about to open. Even before I could get in the door, however, I was accosted by Charlier, KB8SFR. What a way to start the day!

Although it looked like the number of sellers was down this year, the quality of “stuff” being offered for sale was excellent. Many folks had trasceivers for sale, and there were lots of little “gadgets” for sale, too. Zoltan, for example, scored an Autek audio filter for $25.

A couple of guys were selling bugs, and I almost bought one, but was beaten to the punch both times. One of them was a Vibroplex for $150, the other a Johnson Speed-X for $75. I really should have snapped up that Speed-X when I saw it, but decided to take a walk around the cafeteria first. When I got back, it had already been sold. It’s just as well, I guess.

I did manage to get a couple of bargains, though. One guy was selling ladder line for 20 cents/foot. Zoltan and I both bought 100-ft. rolls, and in fact, we bought the last 200-ft. that the guy had. The only other vendor selling ladder line was selling 100-ft. rolls for $35, almost twice as much.

I felt a little bad about buying the last of this vendor’s stock. As he was measuring out our 100-ft. rolls, a guy comes up to me and asks me about how to use ladder line. I go into my spiel about how it’s better to use ladder line when the SWR on a feedline is high because coax gets very lossy when the SWR is high. I’m happy because he’s getting the idea and decides to purchase a roll, but that doesn’t last for long when we find out that Zoltan’s 100 feet is the last of it.

I also picked up a 900 MHz beam for $30. This wasn’t the greatest deal, as it looks like new they’re selling for only $50, but this one is in pretty good shape. I doubt that it’s ever been outside.

I also bought some parachute cord from a vendor selling army surplus stuff. This is the same vendor from whom I bought the surplus mitten liners at this year’s Hazel Park hamfest. I got a 1000-ft. roll for only $20.

I was going to sell stuff, but got lazy and decided not to load up the car. I really should have though. Attendance was good, and I could have unloaded a bunch of stuff. Plus, it would have been a lot of fun. Next year, though, I’ll be there with junk stuff to sell.

I had one experience that was really heartening. As I was puzzling over one seller’s offerings, a ham came up to me, put his arm around my shoulders, and said that he was sorry that I’d lost the election. This was such a surprise to me that I forgot to get his name and call. If you’re the guy who offered his condolences, please e-mail me.

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