Charleston Hamfest 2016

This past Saturday was another Charleston Hamfest. Pretty good hamfest this year with some cool but nice weather for the morning. Pretty decent sized crowd showed up, and I had a chance to make some eyeball QSOs with some of the Twitter hams that I follow, including Andrew/KK4DSD and Beverly/W3BRB. It’s always a little bit weird to have random strangers come up and say stuff like “hey, I know you”, but I’m glad to have the chance to meet them.

Lots of busy tables at this year’s hamfest, which is good. Saw lots of nice radios and a lot of Heathkits that I wouldn’t have minded taking home with me.

Early hamfest crowd
Early hamfest crowd

Quite a few nice door prizes being given away this year too, including a donated Elecraft K1 and a couple of quadcopters. One of them was given away to the youngest ham present at the hamfest at 1PM.

Donated Elecraft K1 door prize
Donated Elecraft K1 door prize
Donated quadcopter door prize
Donated quadcopter door prize

Makelab Charleston had a table there, which was nice to see. I know there are a few hams in the Makelab.

Makelab Charleston at the hamfest
Makelab Charleston at the hamfest

This year I spent some time at the front of the room helping out with making announcements and giving away some of the door prizes.

With no active projects going on, I didn’t really have much of a shopping list. Still managed to leave the hamfest with a bag of goodes though including this gem that Bryce/K4LXF was going to put on the free table, but gave to me instead.

WB6NOA morse code course on cassette
WB6NOA morse code course on cassette

I’ll see how well (or if) it plays in the car. Could be useful for the drive to and from work.

Also picked up a couple of Mini-Circuits low noise amplifiers, some tools and supplies for the workbench, and a couple of PoV (persistence of vision) kits the Makelab Charleston guys were selling.

Another good hamfest this year, and looking forward to the next one.

2015 ARRL Auction

It’s preview time for the 2015 ARRL Auction. Quite a few items up for auction this year, especially in the Vintage books section. As usual, there are copies of ARRL Handbooks from decades past. There are also a lot of books from the 1910/1920 period, which is different from previous auctions I’ve seen. I’m pretty intrigued by those items.

Also interesting this year are 5 mystery boxes filled with goodies from the ARRL Lab.

So what’s in the box? We don’t know–exactly (more about that below). But Lab Engineers do because they personally put these boxes together and they’ve promised extra surprises in honor of the ARRL On-Line Auction’s 10th anniversary.

Now keep in mind, what they see as treasures may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we did sneak a forbidden peek and think that, if you’re a winner, you’ll be happily surprised once this mystery is unwrapped.

It will be interesting to see what some of the auction items will go for this year. There are a few books that I’ll be bidding on, maybe some of the gear, and at least one of the mystery boxes.

Charleston Hamfest 2015

Had another good time at the Charleston Hamfest today. There were a lot more vendors (including in the tailgate area) this year than last year. The day got off to a bit of a cool and frosty start, but warmed up nicely. Good sized crowd of people attending the hamfest. Here are the early birds. Even shortly after 8 there were a fair number of people browsing around the tables.

Early hamfesters at the 2015 Charleston Hamfest
Early hamfesters at the 2015 Charleston Hamfest.

Started off the day picking up a couple of items off the Free Stuff table: a 1971 edition of the Radio Amateur’s Handbook, and a CueCat.

1971 ARRL Handbook
1971 ARRL Handbook

I’m looking forward to going through the 1971 handbook. I think it will be cool to see what amateur radio was like when I was 1 year old.

CueCat
CueCat

I remember CueCats from my Apple //e days and always thought it would be cool to have one. Should be fun to play with this.

Browsing around the hamfest, I picked up an Ethernet shield, a big bag of resistors and some perfboard to mess around with.

Ethernet shield
Ethernet shield

The Ethernet shield will fit in nicely with the growing collection.

Bag of resistors
Bag of resistors

A big bag of 1/4 watt 1% tolerance resistors. I should be set for resistors for a good long time.

Perfboard
Perfboard

2 large plain perfboards, and 8 prototyping boards with solder pads. I like using the perfboard for quick prototyping and experimenting with circuits.

I was also able to find most of the things I’ll need to build a window pass-thru block for the antenna.

Bulkhead connectors and caps
Bulkhead connectors and caps

Two 3 inch SO-239 bulkhead connectors and some screw-on caps for the cable ends.

There were a lot of other things I wish I could have picked up too (isn’t that always the case?), but I’m pretty pleased with what I got today.

To top things off, I won one of the door prizes being given out too, a $50 ARRL gift certificate. Not sure what I’ll get with it, but it will be something good.

The VE testing session at the hamfest went very well. There were 16 people taking tests today, 9 of whom were taking the Tech (Element 2) test. Everybody left with either a new license or an upgrade, so very successful on all accounts.

Charleston Hamfest

The Charleston Hamfest is coming up in a few more weeks! Looking forward to seeing what kinds of things interesting things I’ll want to pick up. There are a few specific things I’ll be looking for to build some projects.

2015 Charleston Hamfest flyer
2015 Charleston Hamfest flyer

Charleston Hamfest preparations

Preparations are under way for the 2015 Charleston Hamfest. As usual, it’s scheduled for the first Saturday in February and will be at the same location as last year in North Charleston. Door prizes, forums, VE exams, and all the normal fun things you expect at a hamfest. It’s not a large hamfest, but I’ve enjoyed going to the last few and being able to meet other hams. I’ve also managed to score a few decent deals too. Looking forward to this next one.

Charleston Hamfest 2015 flyer
Charleston Hamfest 2015 flyer