RARA Hamfeast (and others...)
This year will go down for me as "The Year of the Hamfests." There has been such a difference in the number and variety of them since moving to NY State from the South--it's really easy to find something within reasonable driving distance every month! This month it was the Rochester Amateur Radio Association' event.
Due to really bad weather last year, RARA has moved the event to the Rochester Institute of Technology, and one of their athletic halls. Inside and outside--there was lot's to haggle over and haul home. The only 'issue' perhaps was that the RARA team was getting a real education of the finer points of first timing it--and the majority of those attending were experiencing similar problems. My surprise came from being directed to park in the middle of the outdoor flea market--something that was not really a problem when you think about it. Close to my SUV, easy to carry 'ham treasures' back, and very convenient to leave from!
I arrived at 6:45, and got back on the road at 10:45. Ran into lots of people I know, stayed away from overpriced and lousy hamfeast food--and managed to bag the following: a really clean 9 out of 10 Amp Supply LK-500ZBX linear with fairly new RF Parts bottles, two Heathkit SB-610 station monitors (both functional), an Eico decade box, a Tenma 72-8155 inductance/capacitance meter (NIB), an Astatic DN-HZ mic on a UG-8 base, a National NC-300/6 6M converter, SoftComm C-40-20 aviation headset NIB, a small VHF/UHF duplexer, and the usual assortment of Anderson PP connectors, N & PL connectors, and some nice oil based scented soap... Total cost $765!
Now of course, if I add the gas, admission, and lunch at the Indian restaurant in Rochester, it's actually about $800. But this is following a trend of good stuff at reasonable prices--one I have repeated previously at Elmira and Cortland this year with similar hauls. The "eBay Mentality" seems to have changed a bit. Sellers are still saying what something goes for on eBay--yet the actual price they begin with is considerably less or half of that. One ham was selling some beautiful Hickok tube testers--at a third of what they are going for on the Bay--complete with printouts to prove it. My guess is that the online price is being used to eliminate totally out of line haggling. I saw quite a few sellers using this strategy for real bargains. Perhaps many have gotten realistic about the fees, effort, and time consumed in dealing with auctions...
I am also noticing less 'junque' such as obsolete consumer electronics, CB rubbish, and misplaced yard sales. I don't know if this is a regional thing--or part of a larger trend. All I do know is that I am pretty happy with it!
Last edited by AE1PT; 07-01-2012 at 06:19 PM.
I think it helps that there are so many swap meets to go to that are fairly close by. There is not so many around Seattle. I used to go all over the place to them but not anymore. I go to Stanwood, Puyallup, Tacoma, and Seaside OR. Stanwood and Tacoma are out there a ways and small but not too bad. In one hour I can go through those two 5 or 6 times and I am done. Puyallup is the big one and the closest.
Perhaps many have gotten realistic about the fees, effort, and time consumed in dealing with auctions...
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to receive."
-Otto Watt Sept. 5 1925
I attended the RARA hamfests when I lived in Rochester and they were a lot of fun!
73 de WW2E
The June RARA 'fest was a "can't miss" when I was in Rochester in the late 90s/early 00s -- it provided a lot of the fodder for the RIT club's projects, as well as my own. Moving it to the RIT campus (and into the Gordon Fieldhouse) was a stroke of genius. The old fairgrounds site was getting a bit tired 10 years ago, I can't imagine it's gotten any better.
Glad to see this one's still growing strong, it was always one of my favorite hamfests!
Andy - The Ham Formerly Known As W2AJW (2008-2013) and KB0WJO (1996-2008).
I have most definitly noticed a HUGE improvement over the past few years. Up until about 5 years ago, I would have predicted the eventual total death of ANY more hamfests, a most distressing thought. I have been to about 500 hamfeasts in my life, and YES they have gone way downhill, in terms of equipment for sale, attitude of buyers and sellers, and infux of 'Computer and 'yardsale type' CB junk..... In the lasty couple years, I am seeing more and more real ham rigs, actual parts, informative sellers, less rediculous buyers, and some genuine bargains. My own ebay sales have taken a bit of a hit lately, but that is an easy trade for enjoyable hamfests, Only thing obviously missing, I don't see anyone at the hamfests under the age of 60. Thats not such a good sign.
"Clear intent is the best predictor of experience"
I guess I was figuring it should only cost someone a grand total of about $15 to ride the city bus, eat lunch from the Wendy's .99 cent menu, and sneak into the hamfest through the back door.
Originally Posted by AE1PT
73 de Charles - KC8VWM
North American QRP CW Club #3159, SKCC# 5752
Glad you had a good time. Please by all means let Frank Schramm know, you can email him at
HFProducer @ RochesterHam.org
As you stated this is the first year at the new venue.
It's only $8 to get in, $5 if you're a member.
Membership is very reasonable also:
Electricity takes ALL paths to ground, not just the least resistive. -Guido