Dayton Hamvention May 2008

I arrived at Dayton Wednesday night and attended a BGS (Broadcasters General Store) mini-convention this morning and after a stop at Hara to drop off some equipment for AMSAT.  I then proceeded to the highlight of the day, the annual trip to Fair Radio for its Thursday mini ham fest. I had prior experience with Fair for the last couple of years and have learned a couple of things. First-if youíre going to visit the warehouses then take a flashlight as the lighting is all most nonexistent in the back room. Second-watch where you stand! People will climb above on the shelves and last but not least take lots of money.

Although I have visited Fair Radio three  times now I am still amazed by the quantity of items, looking at their inventory  I would say that  there is at least ten to twenty times the amount of items available then that are listed in their catalog, the catalog is not even close.  I counted around twenty ART-13 sets in different levels of cannibalization and at least an equal number of BC-348ís that are slowly disappearing. There is an entire aisle of ARC-5 sets to provide parts along with many complete sets. I did see one ARC-5 transmitter that was still in the box.

Then there are lots of other green radios like a huge supply of PRC-47 and R-392 parts sets, and quite a selection of R-390s, Racal items and a endless supply of GRC-106,  ARC-105 and R-1051 sets. Since my primary interest at the moment is in the cold war era aircraft equipment I will make more comments on those sets. 

When I arrive at Fair I set the goal of obtaining the remaining parts I need to complete my ARC-55 and repair my ARC-73. There is a big assortment of ARC-73 radios, maybe fifty complete sets to help me with my project.   I needed a new transmitter frame and found one for $20 but it was missing the cover and the RF deck but all I needed was the switching transistor and a couple other parts so that worked out well. Next up was a shock mount for the ARC-55 and the two connectors for the radio. I was not sure of the pin count on the connector as I forgot to make notes before I left home and   I assumed that their would be plenty of ARC-27/55 sets there. Well seems like they have just about everything else but I did not find one ARC-27 or 55s so with out knowing the pin count there will be no connectors purchased this year. They have a long row of Cannon connectors organized by pin count but when you donít know the count --oh well. I did pick up a new shock mount that had never been installed for an ARC-27 for $20, but now discovered that itís a different mount for the 55 so if anyone needs a 27 mount let me know. In addition to this I also picked up a tuning gear box for a Bendix radio compass for K4CHE, they had three complete bendix ADF sets along with a couple parts sets.

 Itís interesting to see the parking lot at Fair full of cars, for those of you who have not been their you should know that they are located in a old lumber yard and their inventory easily fills the main building and two out buildings. There had to be at least forty  people there ranging from regular hams to the hard core mill radio collectors, I saw at least six visiting  Japanese there also. As always a lot of interest but donít know how much buying, they do have everything but they donít give stuff away.

Today started misty and overcast, about fifty degrees. We got to the Hamfest site around seven. This may appear to be a little late but they do not open the gates for the public until nine or so. It pays to have vendor tickets. I will list items and prices as I came across them and try to keep commentary to a minimum but the reader muse beware, commentary is the main reason I write this stuff.

First things almost right next door, clean BC-348 with internal AC supply $100.00, couple ARC radios $15 each and a KY-127 code trainer $25 Dose anyone collect these things? Never saw one sell. Saw a BC-186 and BC-187 receiver and transmitter for $350, no transit case, just the radios. Same person had a couple NC-44 receivers for $75 for both and a WLR-6 submarine receiver for $550. Big money R-390A receiver, all restored for $1,100 along with TMC SSB adapter for $800, saw another TMC SSB adapter that sold for $225 in the morning back out on another table for $700 that afternoon, have any of the people paying big money for these things ever used one? You can dump over $1,500 into a 390 and SSB adapter and have a fair quality SSB receiver, what am I missing here? Other R-390 receivers were selling for $700, saw at least two along with couple 390A for $600 R-388 were around, saw at leas one person selling three for $325 each one other for $350. Several SP-600 came out with prices ranging from $450 to $600; the one for $600 had buffed shiny blue knobs. And last but not least on the big Collins receivers their was a very clean 51J4 with case for $1,900 couple dealers had GRC-106 sets for around $875 complete, ARC-51 transceivers with head for $200, PRC-47 transceivers for $100 and VRC-12 transceivers for $400. This same guy had a GRC-9 for only $75; I thought that was a good price for that. I saw a couple other GRC-9 for $200 each. Just in case anyone is interested, KWM2-A transceivers are selling for around $900, saw one for that with power supply, and transit case and crystal pack. WB9NTZ, who has been selling off his collection for a couple years now had a ASB-6 Transmitter and receiver for $40, RT-67 and 68 for $80, PP-112 for $25 and a R-108 for $50 along with a lot of assorted items like a parts BC-348 for $35 and a complete MAY-1 UHF set with radio, coil case, antenna and other accessoryís for $125 last year he sold the complete GRR-5 with all the stuff like antenna and carrying case for $200, wonder what it will be like for us when we come to that point? Other stuff, saw ME-9U millimeters for $5 to $20, A Harris 1446 ( rf-80?) for $1,200, ratty ARC-5 transmitter for $25, ARR-15 receiver for $300, ARC-2 transceiver for $300, VHF ARC- 5 RX/TX for $100, ARC-3 receiver for $50 and a Harris RF-590 receiver for $1,750 next to a $150 BC-348.

T-195/R-392 pair with rack for $600, I also saw a T-195 transmitter in its original shipping box this morning but donít know the details. Theirs a CU-145 antenna tuner for $150, have to wonder what that went with. Big aircraft unit looks like high power. Another Harris RF-590 for $1,000 and an ART-13 for $250, triple rack of ARC-5 receivers for $300 for sale by someone who picked up a BC-1000 with battery case, vibrator pack, antennas and headsets all looking NOS for $150! Speaking of NOS saw two PRC-10 radios with all the stuff for them for $500, ratty BC-312 for $40, ugly TV-7 for $350allong with an ARC-5 TX for $25, couple RBC receivers for $75 and $85 each with power supplies and an ARR-41 receiver missing its handles for $400. This is not everything but some of what I saw their. I also picked up the very strange primitive Collins antenna tuner for the 18S4 transceiver for $40 that will go to Mr. Smith and was tempted to buy one of three HP-608 signal generators, they are selling for $25 each, remember when they were selling for $300 and $400 ? also have to give honorable mention to AB8OP and his GRC-46 set, The M-38, T-195/R-392 and other radios are all very impressive and have been a regular fixture at the Hamvention for at least a couple years now. The weather by the end of the day improved considerably, clear, no rain and bright sunshine with temperature in the high seventies. Probably be a monsoon tomorrow.


More stuff for sale!


The weather today was much improved over the expected forecast. Yesterday everyone talk about rain all day today, we did not have one drop. Perhaps the forecast keep people away because we did not have the crowds that we did in the past. I did not notice any new sellers with the exception of someone selling a Harris 350 system and asking $1,000 for the transceiver and $800 for the 500 watt amplifier. Lots of PRT-4 transmitters around ranging in price from $5 to $25, also saw a couple more BC-348 receivers in fair condition in the $50 to $100 range. The big activity of the day is the two radio nets. The 3885 AM net at noon and the 51.0 net at two. The 3885 net was once again controlled by Joe, W4VAG and had a total of 29 stations check in, of that total their were 11 BC-611 in operation. The following stations were logged along with equipment type. W1NZB was using a PRC-7, KW1I on a PRC-108, KK1K on a Racal, KB2AVJ using a BC-611, KB3CI on a DAV, KB3OMB on a FT-817, myself KA3EKH using the same radio I used up at MRCA a DAV, and getting a long life from all those nine volt batteries. JA3FTU on a BC-611, NX4IT on a BC-611, W7KV on a FT-817, WB8CDX using a BC-611, KA8TNR with a BC-1308 and AB8OP operating from his GRC-19 shelter, he had issues with a vendors generator running two spaces away but looks like he resolved them. KB8ELG operated his BC-474 complete with crank generator from a space equipped with the 474, a PRC-77 base unit and a very strange Swiss copy of the BC-611. WD8AXC with a IC-7000, WD8AYA with a Chinese type 81 set, N8NOR with a IC-7000, KB8DNS with a FT-817, K9WT with a BC-611 good to see a real radio again!, W9RAN with a FT-817, spoke too soon. WD9GHK was using a BC-611, and KB9PZC running a BC-746/SCR-511 pogo stick neatly attired in uniform. KY4JD and NM4A were using a BC-611, K4RWN with a FT-817, AA4RM and N8HYB, N3TPM all using BC-611 hand held transceivers. Perhaps this is the signal largest concentration of working BC-611 radios in the world? At two this afternoon the 51.0 ďCold War ďnet was held. K9NT acted as net control and had a total of 27 check ins. wonít go thru the whole list but just a couple highlights. KA8TUR operated a BC-1000, along with being dressed in period uniform, KA8NTR and KB9PZC along with a couple others operated the PRC-10 backpacks. AB8ZQ, N8HQY and KB8CRT all operated PRT and PRR 4 radios, a number of PRC-6 transceivers were in operation along with the usual PRC-77, 25 and one PRC-126 and I used my trusty PRC-68. Marty AA4RM deserves honorable mention for trying with his new Chinese field set, but the radio gods did not smile on him and he had no modulation. But donít feel too bad for him, he did pick up some strange transmitter; a BC-1158 that has something to do with an AZON Bomb and for some strange reason everyone was trying to buy it from him.

3885 Kc AM Net, Twelve Hundred Hours Local

As always Joe Munson WA4VAG served as net control for the AM net.


3885 Group With Radios after the Net




51.0 FM Net, Fourteen Hundred Hours Local



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