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BrainiacVI
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Hamfests
BrainiacVI   4/23/2014 12:05:58 PM
Hamfests AKA Electronics Flea Markets seem to be dying out, but when you can find them, they are excellent sources for odds and ends to fill your parts bins at home.

I tell friends you can see state of the art equipment at them, just pick the era they were state of the art.

Two schools of thought on attending hamfests, go early to find the one of a kind items (you can never depend on what will be available) and go late to get the best deals as prices drop to move product. There is a third, where you pick through the dumpsters because some people will be bringing equipment to sell and if it doesn't, instead of bringing it home again, they'll throw it in the trash.

Another tip is to walk the entire site first to see what is available and what prices are. Not all will be selling for the same price, and then go back to the vendors with the best prices.

Don't be afraid to haggle.

Personal story, one hamfest I attended had computer controllable laserdisc players pulled from arcade machines. Several vendors had them stacked to the ceiling and at the time, asking for $150 to $200 each. At the end of the show I was walking out and stopped to look at one that included the programmer's manuals. They had not been selling, so the vendor asked me to make an offer, I opened my wallet and said I had $45 left, the vendor yelled, "SOLD!" and I walked out with one. They were never seen again, so I was very happy I had picked one up. I still have it and have written programs to control it, even though I ended spending $80 for my first laserdisc to verify that it worked. The vendor said it would play CAV laserdiscs, but was unsure if it would play CLV. CAV allowed single stepping, but most discs were CLV - long playing. After finding a CAV copy of Bladerunner and it worked, I bought CLVs of other movies and found it worked as well. One of the best deals I've made.

Measurement.Blues
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Re: Hamfests
Measurement.Blues   4/24/2014 9:26:37 AM
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I might go back next month to look for a Win7 laptop. It's time to replace my XP machine.

Measurement.Blues
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CEO
Re: Hamfests
Measurement.Blues   4/28/2014 9:10:28 AM
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Hamfests AKA Electronics Flea Markets seem to be dying out

What do you attribute to the "dying?" eBay?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Hamfests
Max The Magnificent   4/28/2014 10:03:00 AM
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Hamfests AKA Electronics Flea Markets seem to be dying out


For one thing there are fewer hobbiests building their own stuff. Having said that, there's a humongous Hamfest here in Huntsville in the summer -- I went for the firest time last year and I was blown away by the size of the thing -- also I picked up lots of cool antique analog meters -- I'll be going back again this summer for sure!!!

Measurement.Blues
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Re: Hamfests
Measurement.Blues   4/30/2014 9:54:47 AM
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@Max, be sure to go there again this year and post pictures.

"there's a humongous Hamfest here in Huntsville in the summer"

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Hamfests
Max The Magnificent   4/30/2014 11:11:59 AM
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@MeasurementBlues: ...be sure to go there again this year and post pictures.

I will certainly do so -- in the meantime Click Here to see my blog from my visit to the fleamarket last year with some photos.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Hamfests
MeasurementBlues   10/5/2014 5:55:12 PM
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@Max, last MIT Flea for 2014 is October 19. I'm planning to go and yes, take more pics. Hopefully a few buddies are going too.

BrainiacVI
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Re: Hamfests dying out
BrainiacVI   4/28/2014 11:02:44 AM
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I'll go along with Max that there are fewer tinkerers. I go for computer hardware along with odds and ends like sheets of rubber feet.

Computer stores used to be rare and far between and concentrated on complete systems, but nowadays you can go to Best Buy, Office Max, Staples, etc., and pick up hard drives, network cards, RAM, etc. Micro Age and Fry's sell cabinets and motherboards. And NewEgg and Tiger Direct for online orders at good prices.

The weekend sellers at the hamfests could not compete nor keep up on changing stock.

Measurement.Blues
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CEO
Re: Hamfests dying out
Measurement.Blues   4/28/2014 11:44:32 AM
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I was at Micro Center yesterday. They have a whole section of parts: memory, P/S, I/O cards, motherboards, etc. Prices are a little high compared to Newegg or Amazon but I wanted a localstore incase of having to return the router I bought yesterday. Micro Center is about a mile from MIT.

Measurement.Blues
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Re: Hamfests dying out
Measurement.Blues   4/28/2014 11:45:26 AM
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I did buy some memory modules at the swapfest last year.

Bill_Jaffa
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Re: Hamfests
Bill_Jaffa   4/28/2014 1:38:58 PM
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IMO, things such as this are dying out for a variety of reasons, and there is no single cause. One of the reasons is our own "success" at making electronics so small and dense that you can't do anything else with the parts, assumoing you can even get at them.

I think the golden age of flea markets was in the era of discrete transistor and small-scale ICs (DIP), when you could build circuits on perfboard or similar, and poke, probe, change components, and "mess around".

Now the best thing to look for when at flea markets are power supplies, and also electromechanical components such as connectors, or motors for robotics.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Hamfests
Max The Magnificent   4/30/2014 11:10:42 AM
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@Bill: Now the best thing to look for when at flea markets are power supplies, and also electromechanical components such as connectors, or motors for robotics.

At the Huntsville one last year, there were tables laden down with antique meters and vacuum tubes and ... all sorts of treasures and delights -- Click Here to see my blog with some photos

Measurement.Blues
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Test Equipment
Measurement.Blues   4/23/2014 12:51:05 PM
Remember to see the test equipment, all 7 pages of it.

David Ashton
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Flea at MIT
David Ashton   4/24/2014 9:32:40 PM
I'd be in 7th heaven there I think Martin.   Max still has not got his star trek teleporter working so I'm not likely to get there soon.   My wife will be pleased about that..... :-)

I reckon I could set up a stall there too,,,, get rid of some of my junk surplus stuff to make room for the things I would buy....

BOMBOVA
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Busted! I am an addict. Love junk electronics.
BOMBOVA   4/26/2014 3:29:33 PM
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a lot of my chips,    ECL's and some CMOS   has gold bonding wire,   and 80 20 gold / tin, paste,  and the gold plated circuit boards, are now profitable to refine.   So my junk pile is a gold mine.   but some of you all,  knew that .   Cheers hunters of good electronic scrap.      never enough 1 percent resistors,   or 50 MFD's at 16 V. in hand.   

jheissjr
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Busted! I am an addict. Love junk electronics.
jheissjr   4/27/2014 10:09:32 PM
I would love to attend a ham fest.  Is anyone aware of any in the Philadelphia area?

 

BrainiacVI
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CEO
Re: Busted! I am an addict. Love junk electronics.
BrainiacVI   4/28/2014 11:05:32 AM
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http://www.arrl.org/hamfests-and-conventions-calendar

The ARRL has a nationwide calendar at the website above.

DrQuine
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Candy Store for Techies
DrQuine   5/23/2014 2:41:53 PM
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This MIT flea market looks like a candy store for techies. I hope that the local kids who are learning and developing electronics know about it (and wish it had existed when I was a kid building circuits in Boston a long time ago).

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Candy Store for Techies
MeasurementBlues   5/23/2014 3:22:32 PM
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stvw
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Left Coast versions
stvw   8/14/2014 11:18:27 AM
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There are at least two CA Flea markets that are also worth mentioning.

For Silicon Valley there was the Foothill College Flea Market anchored by the then Electronics Museum located on the same campus.  Due to circumstances forcing the Museum off the campus (a long story in itself) the event moved through a few locals to now reside at DeAnza College.   The web bage is: http://www.electronicsfleamarket.com

The other BIG event that I'm familiar with (also an institution) is the TRW Swap Meet. The web page for that is http://www.w6trw.com/swapmeet/ and is sponsored by the W6TRW club.

Steve

 

 

Susan Rambo
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Re: Left Coast versions
Susan Rambo   8/14/2014 12:01:08 PM
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Thanks for tip on California electronics flea markets. I'll have to go and do a slideshow.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Left Coast versions
Max The Magnificent   10/6/2014 12:32:01 PM
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@Susan: Thanks for tip on California electronics flea markets. I'll have to go and do a slideshow.

I woudl love to see that in lieu of my not being able to attend



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