[Boatanchors] Hamfest After Action Review, Informal

Michael Tauson wh7hg.hi at gmail.com
Mon Sep 16 14:28:08 EDT 2013

The fun started when I got there and got to talking with some of the bikers
in the Combat Vets MC.  I knew some of them from previous events.  (One is
the building manager here, although he was absent from the ‘fest.)  Since I
used to be a biker and understood the concept of bugs in the teeth it was
all good, especially when it got around to bikes with chains and kick
starters.  That’s where the older bikers lost the younger ones.  When I
mentioned I don’t ride anymore due to a balance issue and for sure no one’s
going to donate a trike to a worthy cause (me), one of them replied, “It’s
happened before” and there were some nods of agreement among the riders.
 Maybe Sanity Clause will have a nifty present for me?  (Nice to dream
about but it ain’t gonna really happen.  OTOH, it would make a heck of a
mount for a mobile rig.)


Anyway, I got there a little early and did a quick walk around* in the flea
market before being the first to sign in.  Yeah, I beat everyone else.
(Nothing like a K3 call being at the head of the line in WH6 land.)  The
venue was not large compared to mainland hamfests – I’d guess 40’x60’ at
most with no parking lot activity 
 aside from the bikers, that is.  There
weren’t anywhere near as many sellers as one would find at mainland hamfests
but then the population of Oahu isn’t large and the number of hams is
proportionately smaller than mainland hamfests draw.  


* Actually, it was more like a slow stroll pushing my walker but it sounded
good, right?


There was a freebie section that I immediately raided due to a large box of
old computer hard, floppy and optical drives.  Okay, so they’re not
glowbuggy but they do have motors in them and I keep finding uses for them.
Small motors are good.  I like small motors.  And there was a transistor
checker – largish black Bakelite(?) case and I forgot who made it – and, lo
and behold, the core of a BC-611.  Yes, folks, I now have the beginnings
(innards, antenna and a good part of the case) of my very own BC-611.
Anyone having parts for one can donate them to the aforementioned worthy
cause.  I also found a couple sets of learning lab-type headphones which I
know are not great but they’re useable, a couple wall warts of interest and
some odd stuff I really do need to look inside of which is why I got them,
to look inside.  


No, really!  I got a BC-611 core for free.  Only one other person there
recognized it aside from the one who put it there in the first place and


One thing I missed at the freebie area (It left while I was signing in.) was
a Hallicrafters S-53(A?) that I’d had my eye on to add to the Hallicrafters
hall of weirdness but I’m sort of glad I didn’t get it.  The gentleman who
did was pretty cool and proved me wrong in my belief that there were no
other folks interested in glowy things.  His table was the next place
raided, mostly for a bunch of his freebies but also for some power
transformers and a couple of the coolest insulators I’ve seen in a while.
They’re about 6” tall with a brass stud at the top and maybe 1-1/2” in
diameter at the base.  I only picked up two (50 cents each) but I hope I can
find out who he is so I can buy a bunch more of them.  Oh, and a single pie
choke around 200mH for which I can’t think of a use but it’s really big and
cool to look at.


The power transformers are interesting.  They're good for 110-117vac in and
either 220-240 out or 440-480v out, all at 50va.  Ignoring all the
differences between volt-amps and watts, that’s a wiggle over 100ma at 480v
or 200ma at 240v, either way 50w.  With some creative stacking, I can easily
power a complete command set rig with two paralleled for the high B+ and a
singleton for the low B+.  Since I far prefer choke input filters, the
actual B+ would be lower – 400-450v for the high B+ and a similar drop for
the low – which is cool since that also lowers the current demand.  The low
B+ supply can handle more than one receiver.  Heck, it could power a BC-312
or BC-348 with reserve left over.  


Ahhh, but the really great find was an HW-8.  I don’t know if it’s working
or not but I also got the manual and at a whole $10 I wasn’t about to turn
it down simply because it doesn’t glow.  Putting shoes on it won’t be a bank
breaker nor will a little Rx front end help to match the Tx.  While running
CW on the walker might be a bit much, using the walker to get somewhere like
a park bench works.  And, of course, the Rx can be used with a SSB Tx of
equitable power with a little adjustment to the filtering.


Adding coolage to coolitude, the EARCHI (Emergency Amateur Radio Club,
Hawaii – I think I have that right) was selling some nifty little tripods to
support collapsible “fishing pole” or whip-type antennas* in the field, a
rapid setup kind of thing.  The legs are lengths of conduit which put the
base of the antenna mount proper around 15-20” up but that’s enough for most
mobile antennas and even the walker’s 10’+ whip using the optional 3/8”-24
 which I also got.  I can modify (read as: drill) the bottoms of
the legs to allow simple ground stakes if need be.  There’s also a piece of
conduit that attaches to the center to slip an antenna they had there over.
I need to read up on that but it looked super easy to make.  I suspect that
with a little fiddling, an elevated whip could be mounted on top of the
vertical piece as well.  Something to consider anyway.  


* This brings to mind an earlier discussion regarding the Partridge Joystick
antenna and assorted clones thereof.  It should be possible to mount one on
this tripod without a whole lot of effort.  


One thing I’m considering is extending the legs to 40”, the longest length
mentioned in the directions to give it a slightly larger base radius so I
can put up a 15’ whip made of MS-116, -117 and -118 sections.  That’s just a
touch light of a 1/4 wave on 20m but should be close enough not to cause any
major issues.  With some judicious juggling of those and AB-21 sections, I
should be able to create 1/4 wave or close enough whips good for 17, 15, 12
and 10m as well.  (Yes, I know that’s more than the HW-8 can cover but I
have and will have other rigs.  Hmmm 
 anyone have an HW-9 with the WARC kit
they don’t want? :-D )


An alteration I plan is to replace the screws used to hold the legs in place
with wing screws.  This will make for a tool-less assembly rather than
having to remember to bring something to tighten the existing screws with.
With that, I think I have some straps I can use to bind the pieces together
when the tripod’s not in use.  That bundle and the assorted antennas can all
fit the back of the van rather nicely as should a go-pack with a
portable/walker-mobile rig or two.  A ChiCom 102E and a power pack should
fit as well, come to think of it.  Gotta love voltage converters and
rechargeable LiIon cells.


Okay, did I find anything I was hoping to find?  No.  Not even a little bit.
No tubes, no ARC equipment or other hollow state goodies aside from the S-53
and a scope that was way bigger than I could ever find a home for.  (I think
there were tube-type rice boxes but I didn’t look at the newer stuff that
closely.)  There were some interesting power supplies but I’d shot the rest
of my load with the HW-8 etc and needed to hold some cash back for a stop at
Hickam’s commissary on the way home.  


Was I disappointed?  Only in that I didn’t find anything I’d gone for and
ran out of funds before I ran out of stuff to buy.  (Those power supplies
were definitely useable, especially the 24v ones.)  OTOH, I was able to
score other stuff so overall it was a positive experience.  Add to that some
of the lady bikers were easy on the eyes 
 to still have a bike and
be able to ride 


Did I have any of the anticipated problems?  A resounding NO!  Everyone was
very cordial and I didn’t see any of the folks who’d been problems the first
time around.  Further, I don’t recall seeing even one HT on anyone’s hip (a
red flag at my previous ‘fest) or anywhere else except maybe a few for sale.
>From what I could see there was as much HF equipment available from various
vendors as VHF/UHF.  Maybe more.  Much of the new and some used equipment
was oriented toward EmComm but that’s understandable considering who
sponsored the ‘fest.  The rest was 
 well, it was a hamfest and there was a
reasonable amount of junque to swap homes.  


Did I have any problems?  Yes, but I anticipated them and brought my anxiety
meds with me plus I was parked close to the entrance so retreating to the
van as needed was possible.  That proved quite handy.  


One thing happened kind of cool.  Well, actually several did but one in
particular.  My last trip around I had the antenna tripod and HW-8 on my
walker’s seat along with the phones and a couple other odd ends and someone
took a picture of the load.  Not me and the load, just the load.  Sooo 

somewhere there will be a pic posted of Kludge’s new toys on the way to
becoming resident new toys.  Or something.


I did take a few pics myself but they’re still in the camera.  So are a few
others I took some time back.  After I get pics of the new buggies (van and
walker) and maybe get someone to take a few pics of me with the walker to
send Noelle, I’ll unload it.  


Questions & comments welcome.  (No, I didn’t get any of their phone numbers.
They were all married, so far as I could see.)


Best regards,


Michael, K3MXO, A&P 1803851 Ph: 1-866-733-0218

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the
experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination
to do so." - Douglas Adams




Hiki Nô! 


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