DAYTON Hamvention 1994 Report (Apr.29th to May.1st, 1994)

By Jun'ichi Ohgo, JJ1BMB, re-edited version of the article excerpted from g59h magazine.

This article reports how I have enjoyed and I was impressed at Dayton Hamvention f94, visiting for the first time, since I have dreamed to come and see, tasting a flavour of gThe world largest flea market for Ham radioh held in Dayton, Ohio. I was really impressed that there were a lot and lot of sellers in the huge parking lot behind Hara arena located in the north of Dayton downtown, handling a lot of used stuffs such as junks of PCs, computer peripherals, diskettes, CD-ROMs even for adult only as well as Ham equipment and even fossils and non-Ham related goods. This report describes only a few snapshots out of a number of pictures that I have taken at this Hamvention.

Hamvention Overview
Since the first one many years ago, Hamvention has been accredited at Hara arena, originally a sport stadium for the local people in the city of Dayton, held in the mid. of April annually. This year, Hamvention was held on April 29 through May 3rd, 1994. This set-up has given me a big chance to come and see this Hamvention for the first time. As you know, this week in Japan is called gGolden weekh, so that a number of JA people nation-wide can take at least one-week vacation in the best season for the sightseeing throughout Japan. Thus, I was able to get a ticket to Dayton at last.

Photo 1: A snap of dealerfs table inside Hara arena.

While the weather in Tokyo was really good, though, the weather in Dayton was really bad in this period. The first two days were miserably bad because of a heavy rain and a low temperature, bringing the season back to early spring. This weather forced the most of junk buyers to be packed inside the arena avoiding from a cold rain shower and had them walk around inside the arena, due to the heavy crowd like a traffic jam in a commuting train in downtown of Tokyo. Also I have seen a lot of coffee was sold at the arena and a long line of people waiting in front of the bath room.

Anyway, since I come to Dayton all the long way from Tokyo, Japan by air, I had to maximize the efficiency to look around the flea market as well as the other tables by dealers, table by table. However, due to this bad weather and a big crowd of people, I had to skip a lot of tables which did not give me any strong interests, saving a time to stop by. Under this kind of bad condition, first of all, I learned that a poncho and/or a rain jacket is a must to carry with me from JA, while people there have really enjoyed to see tables and chat with people selling ham stuffs.

Photo 2&3 : Ham radio operators worked at the dealership of Devco Electronics.

Shopping List
To me, Hamvention was supposed to give me the first experience to see and buy some rare stuff for Ham radio. So I have made a shopping list prior to come to Dayton. However, a huge number of tables have given a lot of choices to buy, such as a high voltage vacuum relay which is very much rare in Akihabara area of Tokyo, probably it is barely to find, a variable inductance to build a kilowatt linear amplifier, a 2m & 6m transverter by DRAKE, a KWM-2A in a seal-unbroken (new) box, a number of video cards, LAN cards for IBM-PCs, a number of motherboards with Intel Pentium chips and Cyrix clone chips piled up like a skyscraper on the table and so on. This atmosphere had given me a hard time to buy out of a lot of choices.

Photo 4 : A snapshot of outdoor flea market.

Here is a section of snapshots at Hamvention

Photo 1: A snap of dealerfs table inside Hara arena.
Transceivers for sale at tables were mostly JA made, but the other stuffs like antenna were mainly US made. A small stuff and an antenna are for sale at the table to buy and carry that with you.

Photo 2&3 : Ham radio operators worked at the dealership of Devco Electronics. WA4QJS (Photo 2) and KK6EK(Photo 3) are demonstrators of their product, gDX Desktoph, a logging software for Windows PCs. In this demonstration, I found there was my call sign out of logged database. This has really impressed me. Because my call sign is on the monitor as one of JA stations, but nobody was aware of. This is true !!.

Photo 4 : A snapshot of outdoor flea market. The only one word, gReally huge marketh, can be coming out all the time out of my mouth whenever I got in and out of the arena as well as a flea market. The seller usually can bring their own cars and wagons, sometimes a trailer, even a big bike with a small carrier demonstrating their neatly arranged mobile equipment. This system seemed to me a very nice and neat in order for the sellers to come in and get out when the stuffs were sold out anytime. Among the outdoor seller tables, some of them did show a little stuff opening only a car trunk lid to show and another one have sold pops and food stuff like a cookie and so on, bringing his family like a picnic.

Photo 5 to 7 : Hamvention provided a tent for sellers, mainly for dealers.

Photo 5 : Hamvention provided a tent for sellers, mainly for dealers, with a higher fee to get a room than the outdoor table. Dealerships under a tent carried somehow expensive stuff like a low cost used PC and its peripherals like i286 with 40MB HDD, PC clone, a serial printers, VGA monitors, interface cables and software. Due to the heavy rain and a cold temperature, the crowd under a tent was too heavy to move in and out. Among this crowd, I happened to find the first generation IBM-PC and PC-XT as well in this tent dealers, that are so rare in Akihabara.

Photo 6&7: What amazed me was the piled up of IBM-PC junk, featured with a power supply and I-286 chip priced at $150 or so. The other one was a $10 priced QRZ! Ham radio CD-ROM (f93 edition), whereas they are pricey in Akihabara.

@@Photo 7 : Genuine fossils.@@@Photo 8 : This table showed a VHF transverter by DRAKE.

Photo 7 : Another impressed stuff was a table showing ggenuine fossilsh, that can not be seen anywhere in Japan. The fossil shown in this picture is a shell fish, e.g., Ammonite with its 30 cm radius.

Photo 8 : There were a number of tables showing US made rigs like Heathkit, Swan and so on. This table showed a 2-meter transverter by DRAKE and a selector of UHF and VHF working in-between a transverter and its host rig, that is very rare in Tokyo as well. When I saw this stuff in the morning, there were both 2m and 6m stuff, priced at US$150 each, on the table, though, later on, coming back to this table to take a photo, a 6m one was sold out already. I was so regret that I should have purchased in the morning. It is too late to buy. The tip that I learned was I should buy whenever I saw the stuff and I was interested in, otherwise, you will miss the chance to buy. DO NOT WAIT TO BUY.

Photo 9&10 : Collins stuffs are also available at Dayton Hamvention.

Photo 9&10 : Collins stuffs are also available at Dayton Hamvention. Since there are Collins enthusiasts all over the world. so Hamvention is the place to get Collins stuff like a dial accessary, a main dial knob and so on. A unique stuff was a chassis of 75S-3, with no parts on it, priced at only $5. It is said that Hamvention this year particularly a number of Collins stuff can been seen a lot for the sale on the tables.

Photo 11 : The YL shown in the center, is Jody VP5JM, I have stayed at her home that I was in DX pedition of VP5 in f93. Her left is AB5MF, behind her is JA1CG, Mr. Takahashi who I came to Dayton with me together. I happened to see her, while Jody was taking a rest at a cafeteria in the arena, and learned that she was looking for the information of a satellite communication as well as a rig and antenna through a chat with her.

Photo 11 : The YL shown in the center, is Jody VP5JM.

Market price at Hamvention
Knowing the market price in advance is the must for the buyer at Dayton Hamvention. Because the sellers want a money by selling their unused equipment. However, the price I have got was seen with my eyes and ears, might be less accurate since I did not survey the price available at all the tables. Please note that the followings were done by only my personal survey and does not certify the bottom price of the stuff.

The buyers can not always check a function of the rigs and other electronic equipment due to the lack of the AC power resource at the outdoor tables, so please pay attention when buying such a stuff. The flea market does not provide a power AC line at the seller table, you might loose the chance whether or not the stuff would work perfectly. When buying such old rigs like Collins and/or Drake, you should ask the seller on this item whether it does work or not. You must check it out and read what he meant really out of his heart at the bottom line. The decision making point to buy might be due to his sincere attitude and/or his outlook.

Collins : Collins stuff is still one of my favourites. Collins Enthusiasts tend to collect those stuffs and place such a stuff at their shack just for the decoration only. So a mint conditioned stuff shows a higher price than ugly ones. The following price list might be adequate for those people. S-line $600, KWM-2 $300~400, 75A-4 $600, KWS-1 with power supply $1,500, 30S-1 $2,500, 30L-1 $600, Unused ? KWM2-A $1,500 with unsealed and unbroken packaged box. SWR meter $200~300. Collins goods in general were well maintained. No scratch and no dent goods were seen at the tables.

Drake : Drake brand stuff comes the second in row, that could be seen also on the tables. TR4CW+Power supply+external Speaker, a mint condition $600, 4B line with a minor rust $300, MN2000 $600, 4C line, 2m & 6m transverter, CC1 selector $150 each. TR7 and SSR1 were also seen at the table. The availability seemed to be one-fourth out of Collins goods.

Others and Japanese goods : Swanfs HF mobile rig, Heathkit and Tentec goods were also available, but those were a little to see. Japanese goods like IC-765, and TS-520 were available, priced at $1,600 and $350 respectively.

Shipping & Packing
Both are available at the booth of official airline of Delta and UPS in Hara arena. The buyer should bring the stuff purchased at the table, into either the booth, Delta or UPS, then pack the stuff by themselves. Shipping charge estimated by air to the outside of the US, will be depending upon the size and weight though, in general it costs around a few hundred dollars. I would like to suggest you that a hand-carrying goods like a small antenna and/or a rig might be better than shipping by such a carrier service company, though, a big stuff that does not fit in as a checked-in baggage in the plane, might not be adequate to buy, unless such stuff is so rare and valuable for you.

Shopping on PC-clones at Hamvention : There were many dealers handling PC-clones, peripherals and so on at every place. The difference between seller tables at Hamvention here and dealers in Akihabara is that they do not handle the state of the art technology product such as PowerPC, i486DX4, Pentium 100MHz, PCI bus products and so on. However, there were somehow outdated products, which were less expensive than the new stuffs. So I have got such a stuff for me.

For example, TI made 486SLC 33MHz cpu with co-cpu on the motherboard $125, a video card with 1MB VRAM by Cirrus logic made accelerator $65, IDE multi I/O card $9. If I would buy these stuff with a case, memory, FDD and HDD with the above items, then I can be ready to build my own PC, that would be enough as the machine for logging QSOs and other Ham radio application. I can save a lot of money rather than buying a new PC, really.

Comparison of the price between Hamvention and Akihabara: Clone-PCs price is mostly identical at both Hamvention and in Akihabara. So I might not suggest you to buy PC stuff at Hamvention. Shopping in Akihabara might be the best place to buy PC stuff rather than at Hemvention for JAs. Focus on Ham goods here at Hamvention.

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