[AMRadio] Hamfest Report: Portage 2004 Hamfair

Merz Donald S merz.ds at mellon.com
Mon Jul 26 12:21:19 EDT 2004

I attended the Portage Ohio Hamfair 2004 yesterday and thought I would throw out a quick report for those of you that like to monitor hamfest health in a BA context. I live in Pittsburgh and Portage Ohio is about an hour and 45 minutes drive for me. This is probably as far as I go for any hamfest. The last time I attended this one several years ago, it was terrible for BAs. I picked up some power supplies and parts sets but that was it. So I had strong reservations about going to this one. But I hadn't been to a hamfest in almost 2 months so I thought I'd make the trip along with one of my 14 year old boys--Mishe.

The PARC group has a great facility at the County Fairgrounds. It has clean bathrooms(!) and a well-equipped food service facility (not a shack on wheels). The hamfair is extremely well run  with spacious indoor accommodations and lots of outdoor tailgating space. Some sellers came from as far away as Albany, NY. Weather was perfect all day. PARC has the best food of any hamfest I attend--offering a home cooked breakfast like I am too lazy to make for myself for just $2.50. My kid ate 2 of them... 

Seller attendance seemed good with maybe 60 or 70 sellers present. Another nice thing about the sellers was that they almost all seemed to be hams. There were only a couple "computer-city" types selling. Buyers, OTOH, seemed scarce. I'd be curious to know if PARC counted them and how yesterday compared to previous years.

I saw Mark Folartz there and several other prominent AMers that I recognize but do not know by name. Sam Hevener (of The Signal Corps and re-enactment fame) was there too and I had not seen Sam in years so we spent some nice time catching up. 

There was a fair group of boatanchors at this fest. Here's what I can recall...

Heathkit Marauder: $100 sold. It was gorgeous and I was tempted.
Collins R390 (not A): $250 sold (to me)
Collins 75A1 in average condition: $550 unsold
Collins 312B5 VFO: $700 unsold
Hallicrafters PM-23 speaker, poorly repainted, 2 holes in side: $80 unsold
Hallicrafters S-41G (not white): $45 unsold I think
Heathkit DX-100: $125 sold. Did not appear to be in very good condition.
Hallicrafters SX-42 with R-42 Reproducer: $325 unsold
Heathkit SB-300/SB-401 station in great looking shape: $325 unsold I think
Hallicrafters SX-100. $250 Looked nice. Unsold, I think
Drake tr-4 w/MS-4 and PS: $275. Average Condition. Unsold
Drake R-4B/T-4XB/MS-4/AC-4: $450 Average+ condition. Unsold
Hallicrafters S-38E: $50 nice. Might have sold.
EF Johnson 6n2 Transmitter: $30 beat-up. Unsold.
Hallicrafters S-108. No price. Unsold.

Hallicrafters SX-24 with PM-23 speaker. $195. Unsold. Sam Hevener has this if anyone is interested. The PM-23 has the H on the grille and the PM-23 cabinet is excellent. But the grille on the speaker and on the sides of the radio is rusty and would have to be re-done or replaced somehow.

Drake: The same guy that had 2 long tables full of Drake gear at Breezeshooters back in June had what seemed like all the same gear here at Portage. I don't think much if any of it sold. He has it all priced high. 

Heathkit: Another guy who was also at Breezeshooters. He's got several dozen low-end Heath items like the single banders and the green VFO that he stacks up on a couple tables, all priced high. I think he took it all home.

Tektronix: A small selection of Tek scopes and carts, plug-ins and manuals at various sellers tables. Prices on this stuff continue to fall like crazy. 

Homebrew: I always look for this stuff and picked up a real junker amp for $20. It was the WORST haywire job I have ever seen. But last night it yielded up 2 good 813 tubes and roller inductor that looks like it should handle a kilowatt, plus a bunch of other great parts. I also picked up 5 or 6 other small homebrew items that I haven't had time to evaluate yet.

Military: Almost nothing. I saw one command receiver. I picked up a junker ham-modified 40M command transmitter. I also picked up a Bendix RA-12 receiver that has been so heavily ham-modified that it is barely recognizable. 

Tubes: Lots to choose from as long as you a) wanted to pay eBay prices, or b) needed tubes for your old tube-type TV. Lots of sellers trying to pass of tubes as "new" just because they are in a box. I picked up some globe-type 46's for $10 each and some globe 45's for $15 each. I have not tested these yet and I feel like a real risk taker for buying them.

Parts: Transformers everywhere. Some chokes. Didn't see any new-old-stock ham parts to speak of. 

Literature: Lots of older, small-format QST available cheap. Some good books. I picked up the Henney 1938 print of Principles of Radio for $2. Some very high-prices "antique radio" type magazines and literature.

Broadcast Antiques: Lots of interesting sets available and a few were sold. But mostly these went begging. I saw a couple of gorgeous broadcast antiques there that would tempt any tube radio collector.

And that's it. It was a very nice event all around. 

73, Don Merz, N3RHT
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