[AMRadio] Hamfest Report: Butler (Pittsburgh)


Merz Donald S merz.ds at mellon.com
Tue Sep 14 12:37:24 EDT 2004


I attended the annual Butler ARA hamfest and Western PA ARRL Section Conference last Sunday, September 14th. Weather was perfect. The Ellwood City club set up a food concession and had some decent food (mostly the food is bad at this hamfest). Attendance by both buyers and sellers was light. The Butler County Fairgrounds were less than half full. I would say that there were 75 sellers set up and maybe 800-1200 attendees. This is way down from last year.

Some trends I have seen with sellers recently at hamfests in this area are 1) the guys with the loads of junk computers and monitors salvaged from their work don't show up as much. (I guess they figured out that nobody wants that junk). 2) I see more people show up with junky plumbing tools, toys and flea market stuff. Their radios for sale will generally consist of one old 23 channel mobile CB. Yuck.

Boatanchors were lightly represented. Even the Drake and Heathkit guys didn't show up. 

Boatanchors Seen

Hammarlund HQ-180, near mint with correct, large speaker: $400 Unsold
Hammarlund HQ-180, also near mint, no speaker: $325  Unsold
Allied SX-190/SX-190 Pair with matching speaker: $200 Might have sold
Collins KWM-2A: $450 Unsold
Several BC-348s: $125 each Unsold
Heathkit 301/401 set in great shape: $275 Sold
Harvey Wells Z-Match: $40 Sold
NC-57: $60 unsold
NC-300 in good shape. Didn't get price. Sold.
PRC-6: $15 sold one step ahead of me.
Hammarlund HQ-140X. Lots of paint chips and scratches. $75. Sold, I think.
Elmac AF-67/PMR-6A, PS, looked great. $225. Unsold, I think.
R-390A. Looked good with covers and meters. No tag. $500. Unsold.
Command set transmitters. Didn't get price. Sold.
S-40A or B. Looked great. Didn't get price. Unsold.
Drake TR-3 with AC-3. Didn't get price. Sold.
HT-37. Price unknown. Unsold.
Hallicrafters 7 inch TV, in the metal case. All knobs gone, rusty. Didn't get price.
Empty original Globe King rack. $20. Sold.
Hallicrafters SX-17 that was a rusty mess. Didn't get price.
National NC-183's. Several $200-$250. Unsold, I think.

Stuff I could not resist...

Harvey Wells Bandmaster Deluxe with VFO, HW Power Supply and original manual and service bulletins. $125. The seller was a local ham I know. He is great to buy from because his stuff is always in top condition. This is no exception.
EFJ 275W Matchbox. Ham-modified but looks nice. $25
Heathkit HO-10. Seller said it works. $25
Regency ATC-1 Amateur Band Converter with manual. Way cool. $10
One seller had a large parts cabinet with maybe 100 2"x2"x6" drawers, all full. At the beginning of the day, he wanted $100 for it. By the end of the day, I was walking by and he said "$25". I could not resist. Got it home and discovered that one drawer had Greenlee punches in it!
Parts: By the pound. Cheap. I brought home probably 150 pounds of used and new parts.
Tubes: I try not to buy hamfest tubes but.... A guy had a Dodge trunk full for $200 and a quick look through told me that I had to buy them. The lot included a pair of 4-250A's, some 4-125s, 4-65s, many 811As, 2 used type 50s, an 801a, many 6L6s--both glass and metal, 809s, many 6146s and variants, 6360s, 7360s, 5763s, many 807s and 1625s, a pair of NOS 8122s and a whole bunch of Eimac glass/ceramic 4X150A and 4X250A. There was much junk too. But I thought this was a good deal.

Antique Broadcast: One guy had a bunch of low-end floor consoles and a 1950-ish console TV at give-away prices. Otherwise, there wasn't much except another guy with a spread of plastic radios. This category was under-represented at this fest.

Tubes: Tons of tubes for sale in bulk, mostly used pulls. I talked to an eBay tube seller that I know who comes to all the local fests and he said that he had a good day. I am not surprised.

Parts: No great parts stashes showed up, just little pockets here and there. You had to do a lot of walking to accumulate any parts.

Literature: I saw very little. One guy  had about a whole set of the 1960's ARRL handbooks in great condition for $5 each, They all sold. I picked up a 1936 booklet titled "Amateur Builder's Guide" published by Ohmite. It is really sharp and I am glad to have it. Contents are along the lines of the Stancor Hammannuals or the Thordarson 340-series booklets.

Test Gear: In abundance. Mostly sold for $5 each or unsold at any price above that. I saw a Tek 2240 Storage 'scope that was nice but overpriced. There were many small, old 'scopes there. And I have to say that it bothers me when I see sellers facing oscilloscopes directly into bright sunlight. But oh well...

Homebrew: I saw a homebrew 80/40 SSB transmitter that was a hay wired mess using some command transmitter innards. The front panel looked like the design goal was randomness. At beginning of day, it was $50. By 11AM, it was $20. Unsold, I think. I also saw what was once a decent AM rig that had been allowed to rust and deteriorate. It sold but I didn't get the price.

The early solid state/tube final rigs seemed to be going begging. I saw some great-looking early Yaesu and Kenwood gear there that did not sell. One of my friends had a Kenwood TS-520S in perfect condition with a non-matching Yaesu speaker for $180 that did not sell all day. If anyone would be interested in it, I can put you in touch with him. 

The usual troop of AMers was lightly represented. I saw Pete Markavage and Rich Sperling. But many of the "regulars" were no-shows.

My son manned the mini-van and sold everything! I was shocked. We had a stand for an electric piano and it went... The only thing I had to take back home was the HP 5245L counter. 

Well, that's about that. I also attended the Skyview hamfest and the Uniontown Gabfest in the past 30 days. Both were very small and very forgettable with almost no boatanchors. The Uniontown club has a Teletype ASR-28 that is restorable that I am sure they'd give away if anyone has an interest in it. The neat thing about both these clubs is that they have the traditional cinder-block clubhouse on a hilltop in the middle of the woods. They both have great club traditions and you really get the feel of an old time radio club when you're there. Sadly, neither club is on the air with any vintage gear.

Hamfests left this year around here: Somerset 9/19, WACOM 10/3, Another one I can't recall 10/10, and Massillon 10/31. Then that's it for 2004 in this area.

73, Don Merz, N3RHT
 
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