The state of swap-meets and Hamfests

This past weekend I went to the Holland Michigan Hamfest. typically this is not the largest ham-fest in Michigan but it is a bigger one. They have a gym to fill as well as spilling out into the hallways. This year, there were lots of empty tables, almost nobody was spilled out into the halls and turnout was pretty low. I have noticed this in other ham-fests over the past 2 years but really notice it now. Ham-fests suffer from three things. First people trying to get gold out of their junk is turning people off. I found really old FTA receivers that were well used selling for more than you can buy new, gear going for near retail prices, and people trying to get way, WAY more for their used stuff than is even logical. Overprice-itis.. If you cant get it for that on ebay, you certainly cant sell it locally for that much! Second, lack of connection with fellow ham radio operators.. Ham-fests used to be times to rag chew, meet friends from on the air you have not seen for a while, talk about the hobby, connect, act like humans! This seems to not happen anymore. you get a "hi" or a grunt from someone but nobody wants to talk anymore... Finally slothiness (is that a word?) People are simply too lazy to get out of their house anymore. It's far easier to sit at home and let your intellect get sucked into the idiot-box, or to waste most of your time on the Internet.

I see a time not so far away that ham-fests and swap meets will disappear. You can get better deals and/or sell your item easier to a larger audience on eBay, which also fuels greed. Selling a 4 year old FTA receiver for $200.00 when I can buy a new one that is better for $50.00 on ebay only tells me that the seller either really does not want to sell his stuff, or is hoping to sucker someone into buying his overpriced item and not realize they were taken until later. Which is purely mean. But then I saw many vendors, buying things from guys and then selling it on their table for more... Nice to see somebody make sure that a good deal can not be had by someone that might need that good deal.

I guess it comes down to greed.... Even ham radio is not immune to it's draw. I remember being given or giving away a radio to a new ham that could not afford to get into the hobby, now hams ask... How much money do you have? Disgusting!


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