Charleston Hamfest 2018

This year’s hamfest was a busy one for me and a far cry from last year’s hamfest where I could only stay a short while.

The day before the hamfest was a full day of helping set up tables and chairs for the hamfest, and then helping some of  the vendors that showed up early to unload and set up. Hamfest day started at 6AM helping more vendors unload and set up followed by the doors opening at 8AM.

One of the nice things about being around to help with the set up is that as the vendors are unpacking, you get to see what everybody has and, if you find something you really want, buy it before the crowd gets there.

I gave my two short forum presentations to an audience of maybe 6 or 7 people I think. Got some decent interaction out of them, so I was pleased with how they went.

Found a few things to pick up at this year’s hamfest, and a bunch of other things that were in the “ooo, I want” category.

Someone left a stack of old QST magazines from 1951 and Popular Electronics from 1962 (a year before ZIP codes were introduced).

1951 QST
1951 QST
1962 Popular Electronics
1962 Popular Electronics

I’m going to enjoy reading through these. The ads in these old magazines are almost as fun to look through as the actual content.

There was only one person tailgating this year, but he had a neat looking RCA VOM that I thought would be neat to have in the toolkit. He also threw in this odd HP probe with an N connector, so I also picked up an N/SO239 adapter from another vendor to go along with it.

RCA WV-98C Senior VoltOhmyst
RCA WV-98C Senior VoltOhmyst
HP Probe
HP Probe

Hamtubes.com was a new vendor at the hamfest this year (making a stop here on their way to Hamcation next weekend) and they had a pretty large selection of tubes. Found all the tubes I need for the Hammarlund, although I failed to notice on my list that I needed two 6BA6 tubes instead of just one.

Tubes for the Hammarlund restoration project
Tubes for the Hammarlund restoration project

Most of the tube replacement kits I’ve seen on eBay were in the $65 range, so at $33 for these ($36 if I had gotten that other 6BA6 I needed), I’m pretty pleased.

A copy of VHF/UHF Manual (4th ed) from the RSGB, some Anderson Powerpoles to replenish my stock, and a blister pack of SuperGlue rounded out my hamfest purchases for this year.

VHF/UHF Manual
VHF/UHF Manual

The afternoon VE testing session had a pretty decent sized crowd of 17 testers. I think 14 of the 17 left the session with either a new license or an upgrade.

It was a pretty good hamfest this year. Lots of full tables and lots of vendors. Heard attendance through the door was down a little bit though, but the crowds didn’t seem too much smaller to me. I had a good time this year. Looking forward to the next one.

A couple of hamfest forum presentations

I’ve been roped into filling in one of the time slots for the forum presentations at the Charleston Hamfest coming up in a couple weeks.

Rather than doing one long presentation, I decided to do two shorter presentations. One of them will be pretty easy to do, the other one I’ll have to research and make up as I go along.

This will be the first time I’ve done a hamfest forum presentation, but not the first talk I’ve done. It’s been a while though.

Also on the list for presentations at the hamfest are ARRL SC Section Manager Mark Tarplee, N4UFP, ARRL Roanoake Division Director Dr. Jim Boehner, N2ZZ, and ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF.

Charleston Hamfest 2017 haul

Managed to get to the hamfest for a little bit today, but because of a pinched sciatic nerve, I was only able to stay for less than an hour before giving in to the pain.

Early morning hamfest crowd
Early morning hamfest crowd
Early morning hamfest crowd
Early morning hamfest crowd

There was a decent crowd when I got there around 8ish. A few empty tables, but the ones that were there had lots to offer. Didn’t get to make it out back to see if there were any tailgaters though.

I did manage to find a couple of books to add to the library. If I was able to stay longer, I probably would have left with a lot more stuff.

One person at the hamfest had a bunch of books he was selling including this ARRL Antenna Modeling Course book.

ARRL Antenna Modeling Course
ARRL Antenna Modeling Course

He also had an old copy of Single Sideband for the Radio Amateur that I picked up.

Single Sideband for the Radio Amateur
Single Sideband for the Radio Amateur

The SSB book was one I heard mentioned on an episode of the Soldersmoke podcast. It seemed like a good one to look for to add to the bookshelf. Nice coincidence to find one at the hamfest.

Disappointed that I couldn’t stay longer, but glad I made it even if it was just for a little bit.

Charleston Hamfest 2017

The 2017 edition of the Charleston Hamfest is coming up in a little over 3 weeks!

The hamfest is happening February 4 this year. Same location as the past couple of years, Armory Park Community Center, 5000 Lackawanna Blvd., N. Charleston, SC. Doors open at 8AM and I’ll be there all day helping out with announcements throughout the hamfest and the VE testing in the afternoon.

Looking forward to this one. I’ve been saving up my spending money and hope to pick up a few items this year for the shack and the workbench.

TARC swap meet haul

The Trident Amateur Radio Club has a small swap meet/tail gate every year that usually has a handful of people with stuff to sell. It’s not huge, but it’s a nice little gathering and an opportunity to meet up with other hams that I don’t get to see often.

This year’s tail gate gathering was this morning. I usually go more for the hanging out aspect than to find  stuff to bring home, but this year I managed to find a few things to bring home with me.

One of the older hams was giving away a bunch of his older amateur radio books, and being a sucker for old vintage books, managed to get a few of them. A 1979 ARRL handbook, an old ARRL antenna book (from 1958 or so I think), an ARRL Radio Fundamentals book from 1972  and a 1959 Rapid Radio Repair book were the ones I grabbed.

He also had an old US Navy AN/URM-26B signal generator in a big heavy duty looking case that still worked (according to the sticky note he put on it anyway), so I bought that from him too. $10 for what looks like a neat piece of equipment (even if it doesn’t work) seemed like a pretty good deal. I’ll wait to check it out once we’re settled in the new house.

The last couple of items I grabbed were off Tom/W4DAX’s table, an MFJ SWR/watt meter and a dead power supply that he didn’t have time to fix up. The SWR meter will be useful in the shack, and the power supply will be a nice project to work on once I get the bench back in operation.

MFJ-815C SWR/Watt meter
MFJ-815C SWR/Watt meter
Dead power supply
Dead power supply