Belton and the Slow Death of Hamfests

David L. Stinson arc5 at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Oct 5 09:25:57 EDT 1998

As others have noted, Belton was well done by TARC
and it was a pleasure to see familiar faces again,
even if I was CROOKING in the sultry heat inside.
I looked like I'd been hit with a firehose.

Sadly, the trend I've posted about before
in past years continues and is accelerating.
I can count on my fingers the number people
in the entire fest who had what I call
"dirty old boxes" full of old parts.
And have some left over.
There were people with sorted bins.
That's good, but the real treasures are always
tucked-away in those boxes filled by "tossing"
or by raking-off the bench into the box
and leaving it to "season" in the garage for
at least five years.

Hams are still not telling their families
that the old parts have value.
When they go to the great shack in the sky,
the family tosses the "junk" in the garbage,
leaving Icoms, Yeasus, Kenwoods and
other boring stuff behind.
It wasn't so long ago that every table had
two or three "dirty old boxes."
Makes me sad to think what is now in
the dumps of America.

People blame the internet for thinning-out
hamfests, but that is only part of the story.
The lion's share of the blame
belongs on our own sholders.
There are very, very few builders remaining
in the ham population as a whole,
so parts (not applicable to glass audio)
brought to hamfests generally go unsold
or are given-away.  There is no incentive to
take up precious space hauling them to
some place just to have people pick them over
and then ask you to give them away.

I was hoping to find some particular caps
for some projects.  Just 3-4 years ago,
I could have taken them home in buckets from
any major hamfest.  This time, I saw perhaps
a handful.  The rest are in the dump somewhere.

What can be done?  I don't know.  Not enough
of the general ham population cares.  They
can go buy the latest WizzBangie 9000 so
why buy a transformer?  People at hamfests
don't buy very much, so folks are turning
to the internet to market their property, where
they can expect to receive a reasonable price
for their assets.

The world is changing.
It's bad news for BA people like you and me,
but perhaps not so bad for our hobby as a whole.
The internet provides a virtual hamfest
24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week and you don't
have to hurt your back loading a trailer.
You can meet and know more people faster
then ever and trade with them, too.
Maybe that's good.  I don't know.

But I do know one thing.
It's a much greater pleasure to shake Phil Mill's hand
then it is to just answer his email.

73 DE Dave Stinson AB5S
arc5 at

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