I set alarms on my phone and iPad last night to make sure I got up at 5:00 AM. My natural tendency is to stay up a little later each night, something I am now able to do as I do not usually have to get up by any certain time in the morning. Usually. Today, however, was the annual Hamfest put on by the Findlay, Ohio Amateur Radio Club and I needed to be at Mike’s (W8XH) QTH in time for a 6 AM departure. We picked up Steve (N8AR) at the Park-n-Ride lot at Lee Road and US-23 around 6:15 AM and drove non-stop to Findlay, Ohio, arriving at the county fairground at 8:15 AM. We had a good chat on the way down, which is as much of a reason for going as the bargain hunting once we got there. I have included a couple of photos in this post. For more photos, visit:
We each paid our $7 admission fee and got our ticket with a tear-off stub for the hourly and grand prize drawings. We got parked and set our Kenwood TH-F6 handheld radios to 146.475 MHz (simplex). We filled out our raffle ticket stubs, dropped them off, and started working our way up and down the rows of outside tables. The outside sales area was essentially a flea market, sometimes referred to as “trunk sales” because people back their cars up to the road and sell stuff from their trunks. The spots are cheaper to rent for the day, but you take a chance that the weather will be nice.
We worked the flea market first while the temperatures were cool and the sun wasn’t overhead but also because almost everything offered for sale was used equipment at negotiable prices. These are often one-of-kind items and the bargains tend to disappear quickly. By mid-morning I had purchased a good sized NEMA enclosure (steel box with weather tight gasketed door) and a Harris 22.2 telephone butt handset (tester). I plan to use the NEMA box to create a cable entrance box with lightning protection for RF transmission lines, AC power lines, and control lines. I got the telephone test set because it will allow me to hook up to the phone line the same way the AT&T technicians do, and because it is not the sort of thing most folks have in their home.
Bruce (W8RA) gave a short shopping list to Steve (N8AR) yesterday at breakfast. Mike (W8XH) spotted a matched three-piece set of vintage Heathkit gear, one piece of which was on Bruce’s list. Steve looked at it and they got Bruce on the phone. Apparently it was close enough to what Bruce wanted that Steve bought the whole set for him as the seller was not willing to sell them separately.
We then moved to the inside vendors, most of whom were selling new merchandise at fixed prices. There was some used equipment, however, and I bought an Icom CI-V interface set. This device will allow me to interface our Icom IC-7000 and/or IC-706 to, and control them from, a computer using something like Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) software.
I also got to meet and talk to Norm, from Norm’s Fabrication in Adrian, and his wife, who is president of the Adrian Amateur Radio Club. Norm is a welder, and his side business is fabricating tower parts out of steel and aluminum for fellow hams. If I cannot get what I need from Heights Tower Systems, Norm may hold the key to getting our used tower erected.
A number of other hams from the South Lyon, Novi, Livingston, and SEMDXA radio clubs were there. I brought my camera and tried to get photos of our club members for the club website. None of us won anything from the hourly drawings (must be present to win) and we left shortly after noon to meet up at the local Steak-n-Shake for lunch. I had not eaten breakfast so I enjoyed my garden salad and French fries. I had a good chat with Dave (K8ESQ), the current president of SEMDXA, and Don (N8CAK) from SLAARC.
We had a good chat on the drive back, stopping briefly at the Michigan Welcome Center on US-23 northbound shortly after entering Michigan from Ohio. We dropped Steve off at the Lee Road Park-n-Ride and helped him unload the Heathkit equipment. When we got back to Mike’s I moved my purchases and personal gear to my car and then spent some time examining his Heights tower, especially the fold-over mount. After studying the parts and the geometry of the design I had a much better understanding of how it works and what we need to get our tower erected and fully operational.
On the way back to my house I got a call from Darryll letting me know he would be out in the morning as long as someone would be home. Back home I unloaded everything and moved Linda’s car to the side parking pad to make space for Darryll’s truck in the morning. It was nice to have a day away from our house and property projects.
I spent a little time checking e-mail and websites and off-loading digital photos until Linda called me to dinner. We had leftover kale salad, quinoa with pineapple and nuts, fresh steamed broccoli, and corn-on-the-cob. After dinner I recorded the events of the last few days in rough drafts of separate blog posts. By 10:15 PM the early start and long day finally caught up with me and I turned the lights out and drifted off to sleep.