Dayton Hamvention May 2011
Friday! Directly across from my space is a BC-959 antenna tuner, the kind that goes on top of the BC-610. For the first two hours I got to the space I wanted to go out and look at it but was swamped with buyers but kept watching the Antenna Tuner, it was very clean so by the time I got across the isle I discovered why it was still there. It had a price tag of $500.00 on it. Eventually I got out and was able to walk around. Saw a BC-654 with case for $300, a BC-1306 receiver and transmitter; think that may be a GRC-9? It was $300.00 two TRC-77 transceivers without battery boxes for $225.00 each and two PRC-74 transceivers unknown condition for $275.00 each. Very clean PRC-10 transceivers with all accessories for $100.00 each, maybe these things are getting valuable? And a very yellow Gibson Girl for $25.00 T-195 transmitter without meters for $150.00 and at another table a R-392 with custom chrome handle on top for $250.00, BC-342 for $100.00 and a very mysterious Canadian BC-348 with “winged” Canadian emblem and data plate for $400.00, it was very clean and unmodified where regular BC-348 receivers were between $100.00 and $250.00, SP-600 for $250.00. I sold my stack of junk ARC-5 transmitters for $30.00 and saw a couple very clean unmodified ARC-5 transmitters (80 meter) for $75.00 each. PRC-25 and 77 were around for $150.00 to $225.00 each and then saw another PRC-10 in the vehicle adapter / amplifier for $325.00, what am I missing here? WB9NTL is still selling his stuff but much less military stuff now but did have a ASB6 receiver and transmitter for $20.00 each and a big green BC-639 for $65.00 R-390 receivers were plentiful between $400.00 up to $600.00 Many times I have to ask people what hey want for things and sometimes have to apologies for asking with no intent of buying so I like when people put the price on the item like the TMC exciter that I saw for $250.00 with power supply, but when you see a TMC GRP-90 along with a lot of other restored radios with no price tag on anything I don’t bother to ask. Those are always the sellers with the mentality of “If you have to ask you can’t afford it” so got no time for them. The opposite of is are dealers who post prices and are reasonable like the people selling Harris 350 and 355 amplifiers for $450.00 and $950.00 each and a huge pile of Racal 6790 receivers for $135.00 each, about time they came down to a reasonable level. The crowd was big for a Friday, I sold almost everything that I brought with me but have a couple big items left to try to move tomorrow, weather is supposed to be good tomorrow so looking forward to it, did not get a URC-35 yet but did see one for $1,000.00 and don’t need one that bad so lets see what tomorrow brings.
Some events serve as metaphors for the state of infrastructure. Today in Dayton there was just such an event. I noticed when I was walking around the Hamvention grounds this morning that water was seeping up thru all the holes and cracks on the downward grade of the parking lot. The contract you enter into when purchasing a tailgating space in Dayton at the Hara Arena states most specifically that anyone who puts a hole or damages the parking lot they will be charged $50 per hole I don’t know how they can enforce this. The parking lot and access roads are in such poor shape it would be almost impossible to tell new damage from existing, so I assumed the water seeping up was rain water from the rain a couple days ago. Around noon today in the center of the tailgating area where the east and west tailgating area come together and maybe one hundred feet from the arena a section of the parking lot erupted and raw sewage spud from this hole and ran all the way down the center of the parking lot. A number of tailgating spaces were roped off to prevent access and all the golf carts they were able to muster were used to try to prevent people from walking from one side of the hamfest to the other, many sellers had to quickly move items from the ground and onto tables. Fortunately Dennis, Joe and all the other Mill radio people were about fifty spaces from the center of the hamfest on the east side and operations there were spared. I know this has nothing to do with Mill radios but to ignore this event and the poor condition and lot and buildings are in would be ignoring a huge problem with the Hamvention site. Now something about radios, first all the Racal 6790 receivers that were being sold yesterday are sold, a nameless surplus dealer that I did not get to on Thursday bought the entire remaining stock. The majorities of the R-390 and 390A receivers were gone too; think the AM operators are buying them all up although still a couple for around $500.00 to $550.00 were still there. Did see a Collins collector with a 390A for only $1,250.00 with firm written under the price. Some SEM-52 for $150.00, a East German Russian R-107 with the wooden transit case and many accessories in bags for $150.00, saw about a half dozen RT-70, they were probably their yesterday but did not notice them, prices were around $85.00 or so for them. Also saw three or four of those big green WW2 tank radios with the chrome push buttons with the receivers for $30.00 to $15.00 and the huge transmitter for $30.00 Joe, W4VAG ran the 3885 AM net at twelve today. Net control was Joes RCA AV112 transmitter and AVR20 receiver all located in a wooden transit case. Their was a total of 33 stations that checked into the net. There were five stations using BC-611 handhelds, two stations using BC-645 “pogo sticks”, at least one SCR-284 crank powered station, a couple PRC-174 and PRC-138 backpacks along with a couple South Comm. SC-130 and two Racal sets, their was also about four or five Yahoo 817 and 857 radios. Their was some problems from the oscillator from the people who drag out their broadcast transmitter and use it on 3885, although they do go silent for our net their transmitters oscillator heterodynes annoyingly, and at times due to the amount of stations logging gets stressed. John, K9WT ran the 51.0 “Cold War” net at fourteen thirty. Net control was the venerable PRC-70 and there were a total of 57 stations that checked into the net. There were over eight stations operating PRT-4, PRR-9 combinations. That may be the most ever. Next most popular radio was the PRC-68, 68A and B totaling six stations, then five PRC-77 transceivers along with a mix of PRC-126. PRC-148, PRC-136 sets. Myself I used a PRC-119 and operated right next to the new toxic river down the center of the lot. Their was only one PRC-6 and one PRC-10 today and a very unusual RT-70 with battery box all tied onto a back frame. Also there were newer radios like Harris -5800, PRC-350 and URC-200 and the foreign radios like the usual SEM-52, a FES-38 and at least three Check RS-10 eastern block radios. For me that’s it for this year, although the hamvention will be going on tomorrow I am not planning on being there, will be going to the Air Museum and then home provided I don’t get called back again.
3885 Kc AM Net, Twelve Hundred Hours Local
51.0 FM Net, Fourteen Hundred Hours Local
Thought I would take a second and put together something on my final thoughts about the Dayton Hamvention. Not as a definitive or all encompassing statement but just as my observations about the event. Hamfest occur at regular intervals all around, don't know about overseas but would assume it's the same there. Most Hamfest are little more than an excuse to get together and buy and sell, larger Hamfest are not only buying and selling but also offer the opportunity to get together with others who share you same interest. Dayton appears to be the largest Hamfest or event of this type and also offers what appears to me to be the best opportunity for operation of vintage or modern military equipment. The nets at Gilbert or other on air operational nets are great, and may require more technical skill or demonstrate higher levels of proficiency but by volume of numbers cannot imagine any other location where there will be over thirty HF AM military portables and close to sixty VHF FM military sets operating at one time with many in original condition driven by batteries, inverters and crank generators. It's often rare to see three or four working BC-611 anywhere and close to a dozen can often be seen working the AM net at Dayton. In addition to the equipment there are the operators and the yearly opportunity to associate with people who are almost legends in the Milsurplus community. In recent years I feel those items are continued reason for my attendance, this is not to say that there are no longer bargains or equipment to be bought the PRC-74 for $275.00 each or the Racal receivers for $135.00 each are good examples of that along with the large amount of R-390 that were both bought and sold demonstrate that there is equipment to be bought. As far as the size of the crowed I would say that I thought Friday was the most attended day and Saturday did not have as many as I have seen in the past. Used to be Saturday was the big day and now it looks more like Friday being the big day. I am told that attendance was around twenty two thousand so that's a little more than last year. If I had any complaints it would have to be with the venue, the Hamvention people seem to be ok and easy to work with but the Harra arena is a dump. Looks like no money has been spent on maintenance, paint or plumbing repairs in years and this year's septic line rupture is a good example of that. On one hand would like to see them move to a new and better location but have to wonder what would happen and would that kill it off like the old Gaithersburg Hamfest died?
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