Ham Fest Tips

By Bob & Jean Arenella, N2OAM & N2UWJ

Bill & I started doing Ham fests about 1990. It’s
been a terrific experience & we have learned
a lot. Here’s a few tips that may enhance your
Ham fest experience:

IF you’re going as a buyer:

Are you looking for bargains? If you are, your best
bet is to get there when the hamfest opens for
sellers & PURCHASE A TABLE. The typical fest
opens at 0600 for sellers & 0800 for buyers. There
is a flurry of buying & selling that goes on during
that time. By the time the doors open to buyers,
all those bargains are long gone.

If you’re going to pick up some coax, connectors
or maybe an HT, there is no need to get up early
as vendors such a KJI, Quicksilver Radio or Radio
Oasis will have plenty of what you need.

So you’re at the fest & found something you
really want. Remember one thing: You are not
shopping at NEIMAN MARCUS. Bargain with the
seller to arrive at a price you both can live with.
The asking price is just that, most vendors welcome
SOME negotiation. There is not a lot of wiggle room
on a 1 or 2 dollar item, but most sellers are flexible
on more expensive items.

Some sellers have a very high opinion of the items on
their table & will not move from the price on their stuff.
Unless it is a must-have item & the price is right, just
walk away. If the item is still on his table at the end
the fest, try again, as most sellers really don’t want to
lug that boat anchor back home.

Some hamfests have a tech table & can check out
basic functions of HT’s, HF rigs, mobile rigs &
some amplifiers. Ask the seller if the tech guy
can check out the rig / amp. If he refuses, RUN

I’ve found most sellers to be pretty honest, but there
are some rotten apples.

IF you’re going as a seller:

Reserve your table(s) in advance. Many Ham fests sell
out & may have no tables available on the day of the

A hand truck is really handy if you have a lot of older
(Read: HEAVY) stuff to bring. Or take home.

If you’re married to a non-Ham, REMEMBER:
nothing you bring home EVER cost more than $50.
Your spouse will appreciate you not spending a
boatload of money on “that junk”!

Price your items reasonably, with some wiggle room.
Buyers like to think they got a fair deal. If you price
your items at eBay prices, you will take home every-
thing you brought.

If you have more than a few items on one table, a
partner can be a big help.

Tailgating is a less expensive alternative to indoor
tables, but weather can play havoc here.

If you’re selling parts & pieces, have plastic bags
with you.

We all know hams love to eat……..having a bowl of
donut holes, pretzels or lifesavers can help draw
buyers in.

And finally……..some hams go to Ham fests for the
camaraderie……kind of like rag chewing in person!

We hope this helps with your Ham fest experience!

73 de Bob & Jean Arenella