Dayton Hamvention May 2009
The Trip to Fair Radio on Thursday before Dayton:
Today at Fair Radio was crowded; I got their late at thirteen hundred local. Had to stop over at the Hamvention and pick up paperwork and then
did side trip to Midwest Electronic Surplus. When I got their parking lot was full, including a chartered bus full of Japanese gentlemen who
were buying all manor of things. Instead of talking about the inventory or the stacks of stuff I wanted to write up some basic information about
the company. Fair Radio started back in 1947 and now is in the second generation of ownership by the Sellati family, the founders sons ran the
business together until now when we are down to the surviving brother Phil; there are a total of five full time employs and one dog, Raven
They have a total mailing list of just fewer than ten thousand customers with ten percent being outside the US and
approximately ninety five percent of their business being mail order, with today being the biggest local sale day. I am told that despite the
current economy that their business has to this point been unaffected, and that their slowest periods of business were following the beginning
of the Iraq war and during 911. Kim who been with the company for some years now tells me that one of the biggest changes in the past twenty
years has been the fact that the government just isnít selling equipment like they did in he past and that most of the items are being destroyed
and as a new source for equipment Phil, who is also the chef buyer is now also pursuing estate sales and non military electronic surplus. Many
pictures were taken and I have posted a couple here. Hopefully this may provide a small insight into their operation.
Myself I have to say
that I have been looking forward to the arrival of their catalog for over thirty years and hop to see them in business for many more, and to
that end I contributed to their operation by purchasing a couple items.
Couple quick observations about Dayton this year, first the weather today was perfect. Bright sunshine and temperature in the high seventies
all day. Second, only about two thirds of the tailgating lot was full. Lot of empty spaces. Will see if more sellers show up tomorrow. Prices
appear to be about ten to twenty percent higher this year then last. Lots of R-390 receivers in the $250 to $500 range, ARC -5 sets are all
costing around $30 to $40 for ratty sets, did not see any clean unmodified sets. Only saw a couple R-388 and 51J series receivers priced
around the same amount as R-390 receivers. Myself I bought an ARC-38 with the 180L tuner, control head and very scares frequency setting book
for $200.00, lot for those but have a soft spot for that radio. Strange thing this year people donít want to reduce prices, donít know why but
thatís whatís happening. Oddly though people who bought my stuff did not haggle so who knows whatís going on? What I thought was the best deal
today is one of the surplus dealers is selling a huge trailer of equipment for $1 per pound. Picked up a couple PSM-37 meters with all
accessories for $10 (ten pounds) and an APN-7 Loran for Mr. Smith for $30 (thirty pounds) and saw lots of other test and avionics on the
trailer. There is a new ARN-7 with the tape wrap with shock mount that I almost bought, but bought too much junk today.
One of the best things about Dayton is the ability to sit and talk with people you only see once or twice a year and spent a lot of time doing
that, speaking of this I stopped by William Perryís booth and bought a test set for the newer Collins ADF system with head, cables and meters
for $40 and asked the people their if they had any thought about the email situation and the connector business. I am told that they do not
have internet service at bills shop; they have one computer and use it for inventory. And any email has to be taken care of at his house,
further more keep in mind that some people are not email people and that it may take several emails to resolve issues with just what type
connectors people need. All of this can be resolved with a signal phone call. I did point out that someone in a different time zone may not have
this as a good option, but you canít force anyone to be an email junkie like me. Hope to have more to report tomorrow provided we donít get
rained out all day.
The "big" book sale, I got their too late and missed out!
We did not have the excellent weather that we had yesterday. Their were several short duration showers today with a couple with heavy downpours.
Despite this their were plenty of opportunities for buying and selling between the rain. I did not notice any new sellers today who were not
their yesterday, and all that were their yesterday returned today, although with less items that they had yesterday morning. Friday is the
day to be at Dayton. I have always felt that one of the greatest benefits of attending is the opportunity to use field radio equipment in
the environment it was built for, and the 3885 AM Net and the 51.0 Cold War FM net are great examples where you can bring out a radio and net
with others of the same type. A lifetime of study cannot reproduce the understanding one obtains from real world operations. Additionally you
gain the opportunity to see and hear radios you may not encounter locally.
The 3885 net had two different ďpogo stickĒ radios in operation
including Joes, WA4VAG as net control, a large group of BC-611 handy talkies, two GRC-9 systems with one being powered by a hand crank
generator, at least three Racalís and operators from every call area and two additional Canadians, Total number of check ins for the 3885 net
were twenty two stations.
Powering the GRC-9 is always a big hit!
3885 Kc AM Net, Twelve Hundred Hours Local
Check Ins were:
KA1GON, Charlie, with a Racal PRM 4021
KK1K, John, a Racal PRM 4021
KW1I, Dale, a Sun Air PRC 108
W1NZR, Brown, a Racal SquadCal
KB2AUG, Mike, a BC 611
N2DM, Dale, Yeasu FT 817
KA3EKH, Ray, a MAB, looking smart sporting the the skull cap walking around the flea market
NX4H, Ron, a BC 611
NM4A, Bill, a BC 611
W4OSS, Kim, a BC 611
KM6AB, Mike, a Harris PRC 138
KB8ELG, Brian, a Telefunken TL
AB8ZQ, Jon, a GRC 9, powered with GN 58 cranked by NM4A
AB8RC, David, Swiss Auto Fox 1 ?(later rain drops smeard ink)
AD8OP, Bob, GRC 19, T195/R392,. in shelter on M37 Truck
N8SRE, Dave, Yeasu FT 817
WD8AXB, Charlie, Vertex 1200
KA8TUR, Jim, BC 611
WD9GHK, Bruce, BC 611, dressed in WWII Uniform, boots to head gear
KB9FZC, Paul, BC 745/SCR 211, with both T 39 Chest set and PE 157 Vibrator supply, Dressed in WWII uniform, boots to head gear
VK2GRP, Ray, Austrialian A 510, what a belt full of gear
VK2ILV, Ray, Australian A 510, another belt full of gear
(Courtesy of Joe Munson WA4VAG)
The 51.0 Cold Wars net had over thirty military radio check ins. Radios ranged from two BC-1000, at least four
PRC-6 transceivers, numerous PRC-68, PRC-25, PRC-77 and Martiís new Chinese field transceiver, myself I used my Russian R-107 being that
that radio qualifies as a cold war radio, just not from our side.
51.0 FM Net, Fourteen Hundred Hours Local
So please excuse me for going on about this but I do feel that the
opportunity to see fellow collectors from across the country, have opportunities like be the first to buy Marks second volume from him
directly and see thing you donít normally encounter make the trip worth it. After all I saw the proper battery box installed on a TRC-77, and
thatís not something a lot of us can say. Well that enough of that nonsense, here some commercial stuff. The surplus dealer selling stuff
for $1 per pound sold almost half the contents of his trailer, about half the PSM-37 were gone this morning but their was still a good couple
thousand pounds of stuff left, maybe $0.50 a pound tomorrow. Saw a SCR-187 sell for $750.00, it was priced at $1,000.00 yesterday and also
noticed the price for the fiberglass poles has dropped a little with kits selling for $20 per bag, think they were $35.00 per bag yesterday.
Their must have been over one hundred of the $20 bags sold by the end of the day.
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