Glad that I made the time to visit the Charlotte (Concord) Hamfest today, about a 45 minute drive from the house. Pete was kind enough to pick up Mary Elizabeth from her horseback riding lessons this afternoon, and I took the chance to see some old friends, make a few new ones and kick around with some radios and antennas. It was great to see some of the manufacturers invest the time and effort to make it here the past two days; the internet can be a wonderful time saver to buy that new rig, but lets face it there is really nothing quite like getting your hands on a radio, spinning the knobs, and maybe getting a peek under the hood at just what it is making it tick. Yaesu had almost their full array of HF/VHF/UHF radios on display in their booth, as did the folks from FlexRadio, and MFJ. The accessories dealers that made the trip were very welcomed -- I saw a LOT of connectors, antennas, cables, heat shrink, books, and keyers go out the door.
Goodies at the Yaesu booth
As for me -- I did have to bring home a couple items on the needed list, including a new 2m/440 duplexer for my Icom 821H, a simple 2 position coax switch, and some study cards for my sons who have shown some interest in getting their ticket. Its the last item that I think I'm the happiest about -- we'll see what happens!
I learned about Indexa (International DX Association) today in a delightful conversation with the organization's President - Gary Dixon, K4MQG . These guys are really doing all of us DXer's a wonderful service by helping sponsor many of the DXpeditions that we all love to hear on the air. Ask him about the story around activating South Sudan via ST0R when it first became a new DXCC entity -- it is really a good story, a laid out well in one of their newsletters that Gary gave me. Happy to join and support this group -- maybe one day I can fulfill a bucket list goal and be a part of one of those DXpeditions!
2kw Eimac Tubes - Medical Surplus
The flea market has changed a bit over the years from what I could tell -- definitely not as much of the military surplus radios that were common in earlier decades -- and actually fewer computer and software folks on had. One of the vacuum tube vendors that was up from Orlando remarked that the demand for tubes had shifted pretty dramatically from N. America to Asia and Russia -- much of their business is therefore export oriented, and just not as much here. Like anything markets change over time -- and our hobby is no exception.
A nice bright spot was the number of really young, new hams that were at the hamfest -- many young enough to have to be with Mom and Dad! This new generation will experience radio in a different way than many of us have and no doubt will spark new ideas around communications and technology that we'll need. Great to see that ham spirit getting passed down.... Thanks W4BFB for helping make this happen!