Boxborough Was The Best Ever!!!!

Michael Crestohl mc at SOVER.NET
Tue Aug 29 02:32:08 EDT 2000

After sleeping for about 12 hours I have a few minutes to share some of my
experiences of the ARRL New England Convention held at Boxborough MA over
the weekend.

Thinking about it this is probably the BEST ham radio event I have ever
attended in my 30 plus years in the hobby!  I do not make this statement
lightly as I have been to many wonderful events in the past including many
Dayton Hamventions, Deerfields, Gaithersburgs, Boxboroughs, TRWs,
Rochesters, et al.  But this one was absolutely outstanding from all points
of vies.  First of all, the WX!  It was absolutely FB, OM!!!! Sunny, not to
hot, not too humid, just perfect!  The flea market was also extremely good
- I spotted a RCA AR-88 for $75.00 (bought by my friend AE1P), several
R-390As priced reasonably, some nice Collins, Drakes, Heathkits, keys,
bugs, tubes, parts,etc all available at decent prices.   There was very
little computer swill.  Although not large in size this flea market
reminded me of the times before eBay and had become part of
the lingua franca.  I bought several real neat items, real keepers - like a
beautiful Tektronix miniature battery-operated scope ($80.00), a Collins
DL-1 dummy load (obligatory Collins content), a R-390 chassis
($10.00)  including a beautiful front panel and wiring harness which I need
to restore the one I bought for $25.00 that had been stored in a barn and
the mice had been sharpening their teeth on the wiring.  There was also the
unbuilt Heathkit digital clock, some books and another 1967 contract EAC
"parts radio" I picked up for $50.00 after the fest on the way home.  I am
sure this will work after I provide the missing part - the 3TF7 regulator
tube!  Oh yes, I had to put the knobs back on.  The best buy was made by a
good friend of mine who shall remain nameless who snagged a Hallicrafters
SX-88 along with the matching transmitter, a NC-300 and the VHF converter
for $400.00!  It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy (other than me, of
course!) and I am very happy for him.

But there's more to Boxborough than the flea market.  There were several
interesting forums, including the AM forum conducted by Timothy "Timtron"
Smith WA1HLR and Allan H Weiner owner of WBCQ.  It was packed to the doors
as usual and a great time was had by all.  The evening banquet special
guest was Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH who also conducted the FCC Forum with
Vinny Kajunski, the FCC man in charge of the New England office in Boston
earlier in the day.  This was also a very entertaining forum, not from the
content per se, but any of you who have seen "Uncle Vinny" in the past will
know exactly what I mean.

I shared a room with Tim Smith and Al Weiner which was an experience in
itself.  Also we spent many enjoyable hours in the restaurant/bar with many
of our fellow hams.  Riley stopped in a few times to join our group of
miscreants for a beer and lots of yucks!  I even had a chat with the new
ARRL President Jim Hainey whose Texas twang stood out among all the New
England accents heard floating around the place.  He seems to be firmly
committed to helping us hang onto our spectrum as a first priority of his
administration and I may even (finally) join the ARRL in support.  We
boatanchorites will have to help educate him about the pleasures of vintage
equipment and AM, but it looks like Tim has gotten him started in the right
direction.  I was also happy to see a couple of my CCA friends like George
Maier K1GXT and Denis Sharon at the Fest.  Also the Wouff Hong ceremonies
were held at Midnight and many were inducted into the ranks of this sacred
radio society.  I wonder how many hamfests conduct this traditional ritual,
other than Dayton?  Seems to me that nonsense of this sort is what makes
this hobby so special.

I have been attending the ARRL New England Convention regularly (every
second year) for a long time, back to the days it was held at the New Ocean
House in Swampscott MA, which unfortunately burned to the ground just
before a convention many years ago.

Boxborough is just the perfect size event - you get to see everybody and
there's enough time to visit and chat.  Also you know just about everybody
which makes for a very friendly atmosphere.  There is a lot more to it than
the flea market, new equipment displays, forums, special events station,
meetings, good food, beer and two days and one night to enjoy it all.  I
was particularly pleased to see so many of the new equipment manufacturers,
radio dealers, publishers and other venders in attendance,  Last June I was
very disappointed at Rochester NY with the vender turnout,  It was pitiful!!!

This kind of wonderful event does not just happen.  It's the result of many
long hours or work by many volunteers.  I would like to thank them
here.  Space limitations prevent me from naming them all, but I'd
particularly like to thank Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF (who is the new General
Chairman), Dave Foner W1TK, William K1WD, Elliot W1MJ, Ken WO1N and a lot
more.  It's nice to see that these "younger" folks are now organizing and
running the hamfest that we all attended as youngsters so many years
ago.  It also strikes me as very odd that years ago we came to attend the
forums and listen to the wisdom of the elders.  Today we are the elders (I
don't know about the "wise" part) presenting the forums and people are
coming to listen to us.  Also back in those days we literally lived in fear
of the FCC and today we're friends, hanging out, drinking beer and laughing
until we can laugh no more.

Yes indeed, Boxborough 2000 was a wonderful hamfest/convention/flea market
and I'll remember it always.  It shows me that hamfests are not dying off
as so many would believe.  Boxborough was alive and well, healthy and
vibrant.  There were even several teenagers seen sporting callsign
nametags!  If you were there you know exactly what I mean.  If you weren't,
you really missed something very special.  However, you can visit it
electronically at:

Wait a few days and the pictures from this last weekend will be
posted.  The site has photos from two previous events in 1996 and 1998.  If
you have any snapshots you'd like to share please send them to the
Boxborough Webmaster K1WD at for inclusion in the permanent Web page.


Michael Crestohl, W1RC
mc at

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