Saturday, October 1, 2011

Not Quite Dayton...

Hey Gang,

I went to my first HamFest today. Yes, it's true, I've never made it to a HamFest before, but since I'm getting back into the hobby, I thought I would make the effort to get there early and check it out.

The Wichita Hamfest bills itself as Kansas' largest hamfest, and it may well be, but it is still a small affair. It only runs from 8am til 1pm and occupies a small bingo parlor. There were two professional ham vendors, one the local candystore, and an Elecraft vendor. No K3 in sight, but the literature was displayed with their other rigs. I couldn't afford one, nor do have the technical knowledge to build a unit from a kit. They sure were pretty though!

I was hoping, but not expecting, to find a small CW rig I could by for less than $225, but I didn't see anything.  There was only one straight key and two paddles sets for sale. I was also hoping to find some ladderline and/or some wire for antenna making, but no luck on that front either. I looked at the used rigs for sale, thinking maybe I'd buy a completly solid state rig, if I could find a good deal. I wanted something that was a bit more reasonable for dragging around than my hollow state TS-820s, but I didn't find any deals. I almost bought a hat with my callsign and name, but in the end, I only spent $2 for the cover charge.

I did meet a couple of new people and talked to a couple of hams I hadn't seen  in years. Nancy and Bob (I should have got their callsigns, darn it) were there and they are the nicest people! I love her Georgia sweet-as-pecan pie accent. Bob is putting out a small email newsletter. I gave them my email and I hope to hear from them. I learned the local club has really dropped in its membership from when I joined. It's down from around 180 to about 40 or so, according to Nancy, although she admitted her information was out of date for accurate numbers. The local club did have a table there, but I didn't recognise the guys sitting there. I was invited to joing W0VFW, an Amateur Radio station set up in a local VFW hall. I am not a Vet, but my dad was a WWII Vet (Most people don't believe me when I say that because I'm to young to be a baby boomer). I am eligble for auxillary status, although I'm not sure I'm required to be a member to participate in the radio group, but it's encouraged. I believe I will look into a membership next week.

I also met with a former RACES friend, and we discussed our dissatification with the group and why I left. Enough said about that. this is postive blog, after all. The were also a couple of old acquaintances there I caught up with and I enjoyed our eyeball QSOs. The event, as small as it is, is still well attended by the local hams. I'm really glad I went. It was a fun experience, even though no one seperated me from my money.

1 comment:

  1. Good afternoon Sam, up this way we have about 6 HamFests within an hours drive. I have certain ones I go to as others are very small. I find there is lots of "junk" that is up for grabs. A lot of it not even ham gear. The last hamfest I was at there was a guy selling LED lights in a tube like thing. There was lots of old and I mean OLD PC's and laptops. As for radio gear there is stuff but nothing I am looking for. Most of the time I go with a list of items to look for. The cost here is 6.00 to get in to a hamfest.