Saturday morning, I drove to Waynesville, North Carolina, for the Western Carolina Amateur Radio Society‘s annual hamfest. I’d attended this small-town hamfest before; it has always been enjoyable, as I met friends and even found a few radio bargains.
The Zenith TransOceanic, above, attracted a lot of attention, including mine. But this year, I had more modest goals: $100 and a specific shopping list, which consisted mostly of components (adapters, connectors, jumpers) and a decent dual-band mobile antenna. I ended up spending $85, including $7 entry fee, and checked off literally everything on my list. Among my purchases were:
- Dual band 5/8 whip antenna with large mag mount: $45
- SMA to SO239 jumper: $5
- PL259 to BNC adapter: $3
I also found a couple of extras, including this Realistic Tape Control Center (below) for $1. It will make an ideal speaker switch box for my boat anchors that currently share one quality audio transformer (600 to 8/4 ohms). I discovered that this box had been used by its previous owner for a similar purpose.
My best bargain at this hamfest, however, was this brand new ground buss system (below) for just $20!
The family who manufactures and sells these ground busses also sells antennas and a few other radio accessories. Unfortunately, they do not sell online (else you’d see a link here) only at local hamfests such as this one. The $20 price is an absolutely amazing one for this ground buss system. All one has to do is connect the braid to the ground terminal on each piece of radio equipment, and connect the ground wire to a ground rod. It’s packaged and ready to deploy–everything else is already assembled. Wow!
I viewed many other goodies at this hamfest that, alas, I had to pass on. Here are a few photos:
This restored wood-paneled tube radio (above) was very tempting, but in order to avoid making the purchase, I intentionally didn’t ask the price.
This Sky Buddy (above) really caught my attention, and if I had $250 extra, I would have purchased it. The Sky Buddy is not an extremely rare Hallicrafters, nor is it a particularly strong performer, but it is very rare to find one in such beautiful condition that’s not been modified or restored–a completely mint original.
Perhaps I’ll regret not making this purchase…sigh! I just hope it will find a good home.
I was also tempted to buy this Grundig Top Boy 500 (above), circa 1972. Twenty dollars was certainly a fair price, but the seller had bought it at an antique sale and had not yet tested it. Additionally, it had a German plug, and runs on 220 VAC or C cells. Upon handling the radio, I also found myself a little concerned by the fragility of its plastic body. The antenna design, however, is pure engineering genius: it’s recessed in the top of the radio’s handle.
This Drake PRN-1000 (above) was produced by Drake as a promotional item for the People’s Radio Network (more info). It’s the progenitor to the Drake SW1. The PRN 1000 is very basic; it has no memory functions, no SSB, and no synchronous detection. It’s a mediocre performer, frankly–not on par with other Drake offerings–but certainly an interesting piece of Drake history. I’ve seen PRN 100s for sale before. The $50 asking price from this seller was quite reasonable.
The “Frog 7″ (above) is a classic shortwave receiver and has great audio if you use an external speaker. My good friend, Mike Hansgen (K8RAT), loves his recently acquired FRG-7 so much, he named it “Freda.” Mike snagged Freda for $125, by the way, a much better price than the $240 this seller wanted for his FRG-7.
Just out of curiosity, how many SWLing Post readers cut their teeth on the Yaesu FRG-7?
All in all, it was a great little hamfest (thanks, WCARS!) thoroughly enjoyable, and I look forward to making the pilgrimage to Waynesville again next year. See you there!