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My weekend at a hamfest, or watching people sell old stuff for top dollar...

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K4DHR

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When you thought eBay was bad about inflating prices, almost nothing compares to going to a hamfest and watching these guys trying to pawn off old electronics and PC hardware/software for top dollar prices.

Here were some examples....

2GB DAT drive....$75

10/100 PCMCIA combo card...$60

Sealed copies of Windows NT 4.0 Workstation...$25

386(!) system board w/ integrated CPU, no memory (only takes SIMMs, of course) and nothing but 16-bit ISA slots...$25! (that was the shocker of the day)

OEM AGP card (probably 16-32MB)...$40

Then there were the worn-(out) 40 channel handheld scanners going for $80+ and test equipment I've found on eBay or elsewhere on the 'net for $100 selling for $500-600.

Who are these people trying to fool???
 

iMONITOR

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I especially like the sensitive electronic gear they left outside behind the shed, that's full of rain, mud, and smells like dog pee! :roll:
 

n4yek

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I love it when they think you are a newbie, they try their best to sell you Crap!
I work at Ten-Tec for almost ten years ('89-'98), I knew how their serial number dating system
worked. One time a fellow told me the Paragon he was selling was brand NEW!!!.
When I looked at the serial number, the date code told me it was 5 years old.
Not only was it 5 years old, it was from the 2nd production run.
He walked away from me when I told him I worked at Ten-Tec and he was lying to me.
 
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elk2370bruce

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Like any sale, whether hamfest or sleazebay, caveat emptor. You can get some good stuff but you've gotta know what you're looking at. If you are a newbie, bring your Elmer.
 

jimyleg

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Those folks are as dirty as they come guys.. They look ya straight in the eye.. lie.. and steal.

Real cool trash.
 

kb2vxa

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I've been around the circuit long enough to know there are more than two sides to a coin but I don't have enough room on the server to list all of them. Here's a clue, if you go when a fester first opens to vendors you'll spot the vultures snaffling up all the best stuff and plopping it down on their tables at twice what they bought it for. Those make up two thirds of the hogs who think their poop is worth gold, avoid them.

Here's another clue for you all, the walrus is Paul. A better clue is there are two bargain times, snatch the goodies before they're unloaded and the vultures swoop in and at the very end when you hear that mournful cry "The wife will kill me if I bring this thing home." If you know your stuff your tongue is your bargaining tool. I've come away with diamonds at coal prices like when my answer to that moan was "Either take the sixty bucks from me or sixty lumps from the wife, it's your choice." He took my last sixty bucks and I took home just the receiver I was looking for. Oh, being broke I went without dinner that day but it was worth it!

In between just find yourself a place in the shade with a soda and a hot dog. There's nothing else to do once you've wandered around taking inventory, just relax until that last half hour and go back to see if it's still there and start talking. Then when you and the club volunteer cleanup crew are all that's left don't be afraid to dig through ratty old cardboard boxes left lying around and do a bit of Dumpster diving, you never know what you'll find in there. Oh, you might want to join the volunteers, they'll appreciate you tossing what you don't want in the trash bin instead of leaving the mess you just made for them.
 

N1SQB

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I Agree!
I have been to many hamfests where you almost want to ask the person,"are you serious?" when they tell you the price they are asking. However you have 2 choices at that point. Walk away and forget about it, or use your best verbal skills to try and negotiate a better price. I go with the latter if you really want something. Some people will work with you, some, you just have to walk away and be the better person becauce they refuse to budge. The other side of the coin is that some people have champaign taste with beer pockets. People want a like new mint condition item, with original packaging and all the goodies that it came with unused, for next to nothing. If you find such a rare item good, but dont expect it every time every hamfest. This being said, I love hamfests.

Manny
 

Zaratsu

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no pics? I guess Hamsexy spoiled me to the sights and smells of the hamfest report!

I'm going to my first hamfest next sunday in southington CT.


I guess ARES is running it. Should I expect a Mexican standoff between ARES and REACT guys? If tasers start flying should I duck behind some elmer safely grounded by his walker? Or maybe hide behind the strudy case of a Hammerlund that hasnt run in 40 years and smells like smoke?
 

n4yek

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DanTSX said:
no pics? I guess Hamsexy spoiled me to the sights and smells of the hamfest report!

I'm going to my first hamfest next sunday in southington CT.


I guess ARES is running it. Should I expect a Mexican standoff between ARES and REACT guys? If tasers start flying should I duck behind some elmer safely grounded by his walker? Or maybe hide behind the strudy case of a Hammerlund that hasnt run in 40 years and smells like smoke?
There should not be any problems, if there is then they need their heads examined.
Going to your first hamfest....hmmm...
Here are some pointers:
1) leave your radios in the car, if you want to stand out in a crowd be the one without it.
2) Please don't put a stupid rubber duck antenna on a hard hat and look like an idiot.
3) Don't buy anything when the person selling says, 'It worked the last time i turned it on.'
(of coarse it did because thats when it quit working and why you are selling it)
4) If you do decide to take your radio in with you, make sure you talk to your buddy standing on the other side of the table with it. :lol:
I'm I forgetting anything?
 

mikepdx

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K4DHR said:
When you thought eBay was bad about inflating prices, almost nothing compares to going to a hamfest and watching these guys trying to pawn off old electronics and PC hardware/software for top dollar prices.

Who are these people trying to fool???
There ARE vast differences between asking prices and final selling prices...


n4yek said:
Please don't put a stupid rubber duck antenna on a hard hat and look like an idiot.
I have a Hamstick on my hard hat.
It's a lot classier looking.
 
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K4DHR

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mikepdx said:
There ARE vast differences between asking prices and final selling prices...
Oh, I know that. But when they're asking twice what it would normally go for, there's only so much wiggle room.

I was hoping I could pick up a scanner on the cheap for railfanning to supplement the one I have mounted in the car so I can still listen in when I wander away from the car. There just weren't any deals to be had that day, particularly when someone was asking $80 for a 10+ year old handheld scanner....
 

mikepdx

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K4DHR said:
Oh, I know that. But when they're asking twice what it would normally go for, there's only so much wiggle room.

I was hoping I could pick up a scanner on the cheap for railfanning to supplement the one I have mounted in the car so I can still listen in when I wander away from the car. There just weren't any deals to be had that day, particularly when someone was asking $80 for a 10+ year old handheld scanner....
Search Craigslist's for sale pages in your area periodically.
The key is don't give up if you find nothing the first time.
Be patient. Keep checking.
The great thing is that you can drop by and put your hands on it and try it.
I've bought a couple of jewels (scanners) for next to nothing ($15-20-30) there.
(Fairly new, darned nice ones).

Much luck.

P.S. Also amateur radios too can be had there occasionally.
 
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oldranger

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Used Electronics Rip Off

I've been looking around for used hf ham equipment because I can't afford the new stuff.
I found out I can't afford the used stuff either.
Why are the prices on used amateur hf equipment so inflated?
 

n4yek

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oldranger said:
I've been looking around for used hf ham equipment because I can't afford the new stuff.
I found out I can't afford the used stuff either.
Why are the prices on used amateur hf equipment so inflated?
1) Because they paid a pretty high price for them if they bought it new.
2) Because people will and still do buy them for that price.

What price range are you calling inflated? $500 to $600 range is ok and
probably worth it for a descent HF rig. They newer the radio is the more they will
ask for it also.

I know how you feel about that prices, I can't afford them either.
 

Wilrobnson

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n4yek said:
I'm I forgetting anything?
If you own ANYTHING that looks even vaguely official, don't forget to wear it.

Two great examples from our recent regional fest of this spring to mind:

1- The 'volunteer parking security' guy who thought he was going to yell at me for backing 30 feet down an empty aisle...He had on a bright yellow windbreaker, 3 radios, one headset, two (!) badges (one 'official amateur radio operator' badge and one custom made ARES one), and a trucker mesh cap with his call on it. Hint: the local cops provide parking lot security there, and I know all of them personally as well as professionally. This guy had nothing to do with the fairgrounds, the security, or even the ARC running the fest. He was properly flamed.

2- One guy who was wearing all 'tacti-cool' style clothing, with the ubiquitous headset, 2 radios, mesh trucker callsign cap, and a vest that said "xxxxxxxx Police Department Patrol Services" on it (a local agency). When pressed, he stated he drove a furniture delivery truck, but had once been a police explorer for said department...20+ years ago.
 

Zaratsu

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I just went to my first one in Southington, CT. It started at 8a.m. By 9:30 a.m. there were vendors already clearing out. I guess it is very true that you need to be there EARLY. Didnt see any outdoor tailgate sales that have been described before.

It was pretty much what I expected. There were a bunch of old guys in diabetic socks and Oxygen tanks, your typical whackers wearing their "emergency services" windbreakers and pocket-pants, and a smattering of seemingly normal people. It seemed that the most popular item to sell was antanna parts and various connectors. A few people had actual 2 ways to sell, but there was too much CB and too much useless computer garbage. There was some interesting stuff at good prices. One guy was selling a massive vintage grundig radio that was entirely in german for $90. I should have picked it up, but was biger than my 32" TV:cool: I did pick up an old Lafayette portable SW/MW/VHF for $10 ($20 asking price). I had to buy something!:D I was going to take the camera, but remembered it only about halfway there.

here is the radio I picked up. It works, I dont need it, but it gives me something to play with this afternoon.

 
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