For the first time in over a decade, my Labor Day weekend was free of travel, so I was able to make a short pilgrimage to the Shelby (North Carolina) hamfest with my good buddies, Vlado (N3CZ), Dave (K4SV) and Phil (W9IXX).
The Shelby Hamfest–referred to, locally, as “The Grand-Daddy of them All”–has long been regarded as one of the largest hamfests in the southeast US. The last time I attended–most likely in 2004–I was amazed at the number of vendors and, especially, the size of the flea market section (my favorite part of any hamfest).
We arrived just after the gates opened at 8:00, yesterday morning. While there were quite a number of vendors sprawling the Cleavland County Fairgrounds, attendance must have been down as it seemed there were more vendors than attendees.
Still, it was nice to hunt for treasures without so much competition at each table!
This BC-348-R (above) was one of the first radios that grabbed my attention. Though I already have a BC-348-Q, I certainly wouldn’t mind having another one of these classic WWII era receivers.
This BC-348-R was very clean inside and in pretty good original cosmetic shape on the outside. To power this BC-348, I would need to add a transformer or a 28 volt Dynamotor. The seller had it priced at “$100 OBO” (or best offer). I was willing to make him an offer, but even though I kept checking back, I never found the seller at his table. Too bad.
This BC-348-Q–priced at $125–needed a new transformer and a “tune-up,” per the seller.
It’s rare to find a GPR-90 this clean and with a matching speaker.
The seller only wanted $40 for this Hammarlund speaker.
There were a number of Hammarlund SP-600s scattered across the flea market. I have one and can confidently say that it’s a joy to operate–especially on the medium wave band.
The seller wanted $200 for this Harris–it needed substantial repairs internally.
This gorgeous WWII era ART-13 was the most tempting thing I found in Shelby.
It would look so good sitting next to or above my BC-348-Q.
This one had been professionally restored and was in perfect working order. I’ve seen ART-13s at other hamfests, but never as clean as this one.
The seller wanted over $500. While I know an ART-13 in this condition could command that price, I simply didn’t have the budget for it on this trip. Fortunately, the seller is a friend-of-a-friend and if he still has this ART-13 post-fest, I might just contact him!
The Ten-Tec Argonaut 509 is a classic little QRP transceiver! Someday, I’ll pick one up.
If memory severs, the seller wanted $275 for this used Satellit 750 and $325 (or more) for the 800. I noticed he had sold the 750 by my second pass.
This Sharper Image shortwave receiver (above) has BFO and tone controls on the back(!) of the unit. Very strange–imagine tuning in an SSB station by reaching behind the radio and tweaking the BFO knob!
The seller wanted $100 for this Hallicrafters portable receiver. Knowing my weakness for anything Halligan, I forced myself to slowly back away. It wasn’t easy leaving it on the table.
There were very few console radios at this hamfest; all of them were in poor condition which made it much easier for me to pass them by.
This 1960’s era Signal Corps TG-34-A Morse code reader was also tempting and one of the last items I viewed in the flea market. The seller wasn’t at the table, so I never bothered asking about the price. If it had been a WWII era reader, it would have come home with me.
Elecraft had a nice indoor display and a steady number of attendees inquiring about their new K3s transceiver and, of course, the KX3.
In the end, I came home from Shelby with very little: only two patch cables and a male SMA connector.
I did, however, get to spend time with my friends, re-connect with a buddy I hadn’t seen since high school, and meet a few SWLing Post readers. I certainly call that a successful hamfest!