[AMRadio] Warren ARA Hamfest Report

Merz Donald S merz.ds at mellon.com
Mon Aug 16 12:27:29 EDT 2004

I attended the Warren ARA hamfest in Warren Ohio yesterday. It was about an hour and 45 minutes drive for me--longer than I would have liked, but easy to find. Fest management was excellent and  the breakfast food was good. They had space for probably 200 vendors and about 35 showed up. Many of these were hamfest nomads who bring the same stuff to every fest in my area over and over again. I can't really criticize this because without their fees, the local fests would probably all have to fold up shop. 

One of my 16 year old boys condescended to go with me. I was in a Kia Amanti rental car since my minivan was pulverizingly rear-ended by a guy in huge Dodge Ram 3500 pickup on the way home from the last hamfest...

Boatanchors were limited, but available. Seen:

SX-62 $150 unsold 
HT-32 Nice+ $250 sold (seller took a check--unusual)
HQ-180 not A and no clock $225 unsold
HQ-145X Nice $295 unsold of course
HQ-145X Beat up $150 unsold
Homebrew 3-1000A amplifier, unfinished in rack $150 with tube sold
Drake RV-4 VFO $80 sold
SX-101 $150 unsold
EFJ Viking II with VFO $175 sold, I think
S-20 Nice shape $75 unsold
SB-300/401 station with PS and mic. Nice. Was at Portage fest. $325 unsold again
HW-100 with PS and speaker. Beat up for sure. $150 unsold
Heathkit AT-1 Antenna Tuner $10 sold one step ahead of me
Elmac AF-54 (not sure--the first model) $60. Restored in a very haywire fashion. Unsold.
Drake Gear: Same guy as at Portage. TR-3, TR-4, B-line gear all high priced.
National NC-88 with modification of tuning dial and wrong tuning knob. $95 unsold
National NC-125 with lots of scratches and light blue knobs from NC-270. $125 
Huge homebrew antenna tuner with 2 big breadslicer caps and unique tapped coil in center, all on a slice of plywood with a disassembled Bird wattmeter (no case) in line to measure output. $110 unsold
Various BC-221 meters for $10-$15 sold, I think

Tubes: None to speak of, just misc used pulls, mostly miniatures, in small lots here and there. By the way, it turned out that I should have stuck with my usual moratorium on buying hamfest tubes for that group of tubes I bought at Portage. Of the 5 globe tubes (3-46's and 2-45's) I bought for $65, three were bad. Hamfest tubes are always a real risk unless you can get them so cheap that you can afford many of them to be duds or unless you know the seller.

Parts: Very little BA parts: I picked up 2 hefty 1930's Kenyon 5V transformers for $2 each and one modified BC-610 coil for the same price. But there really was a minimal selection of BA parts at this fest. One of the nomads showed up with a box full of aluminum chassis, all separately priced from $3 to $10. I should have bought them and didn't. But someone did.

Test Gear: Saw a couple pieces of Eico blue-face gear in poor condition, a nice BK sweep gen in good shape for $20, Tek 534 with plug-ins and manual for $35 (sold I think), some junky wooden cased emission type tube testers, 3 or 4 Precision signal generators and sweep generators, the usual selection of Heathkit VTVMs, Ballantine 300, wooden case Supreme RF gen from the 30's, several Leader and other brand TV sweep generators, and more. Almost all unsold. Prices typically $5-$15

Literature: Riders at $10 a volume, many 40's-50's common books on electronics and electricity for $3-$5 each.

Vintage Broadcast: A guy showed up with an AK breadboard for $1200, a Mu-Rad 3 dialer and some other sets, two other guys showed up with a bunch of 3-dialers for $125-$175. I think they took them all home.

In all, I found very little to interest me. Some of the sellers were flea-marketing with the contents of their garage--tools and toys. 4 or 5 of the vendors showed up with vans full of old PCs and monitors. At today's low computer prices, who buys that stuff? There was the usual selection of Kenesucom appliances. I brought home some General Radio items that I will clean up and sell the ones I don't want. I picked up a nice looking Heathkit transistor tester with manual that I want to try out, plus a heavy duty floor mic stand for $5. But pickings were slim.

73, Don Merz, N3RHT
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