Why Bother With Hamfests and Meatspace?


At the local Hamfest, I picked up these two gently used VX-5Rs for S25 each, with chargers. For those that don’t know, they’re a 5W tri-band HT (6m, 2m, 440) and is also a nice wideband communications receiver. They’re also waterproof, fairly rugged, and simple to use. For $25 each, used. Compare that to what $25 normally buys new. All they need is a programming cable, and we’re GTG. Behind them is a book of very useful knowledge for anyone wanting to build a signals collection and intelligence section. Another guy was there selling used Maxon EMCOM HTs for $10 a pair. With a little looking around and talking to folks, finding good equipment is pretty easy. Another friend not that long ago acquired an excellent Kenwood TS-440 with power supply and tuner for $400, squaring his HF needs away for a fraction of what it would cost new.

For less than $100 I just was able to outfit two sections’ Team-level communications requirement, and have another study resource to instruct folks on building a guerrilla SIGINT team. It doesn’t have to be expensive…you just have to first be willing to work a bit to tap into that knowledge, which in turn taps into a huge resource base. It’ll save money and net better equipment in the long run. Talk to folks, make friends, and pay cash.

Keep that in mind next time some of you say, “but…Baofeng is all I can afford!”

8 thoughts on “Why Bother With Hamfests and Meatspace?

  1. Henry Bowman

    Nice score…. 🙂

    Don’t forget Craigslist too, that is where i picked up that milmast kit, for 75.00 and a perfect condition uniden digital trunk scanner, pre-programmed for my AO, for 100.00..

    As BB suggests, lots of resources out there if you are willing to look, and test and do some research and experiment…

    Yes, BB, i am jealous….

  2. Hamfest: where I never end up with what I’m looking for, but always leave with something better than I’d hoped.

    Henry, you’ve had better luck than me on Craigslist; in my AO, people ask more than full retail for used hardware.

    My next Hamfest goal is to find some Multicam suspenders, and a mount for a Ma Deuce for my Hoveround.

    1. Ain’t that the truth…I was looking for flexweave antenna wire from Wireman. He wasn’t there…but fortunately I still spent less than if he had been.

      1. I go, looking for a switching power supply and a Yagi…

        …I leave with 10 HTs, a bag of popcorn, and a name tag with my call on it.

        ; )

        I am going to stockpile antenna masts at the next one.

    2. Henry Bowman


      For multi and kit for JB’s finest, i refer to gun shows, that or i head off to WNC for local suppliers….

  3. Meat Space is like QRP, meatspace for comms.
    Col. John Boyd: “For winning wars, people are most important, ideas come second, and hardware is only third.”
    I’ll take those comms nonetheless, because of all the hardware, nothing else ties the human terrain, and the idea terrain together. We have evolved into a technological based communication culture.

    Dr. Jerry Pournelle of all people made a great observation about the fighting ability of American citizen fighters, (he is a subtle theoretician and a dyed in the wool patriot along the lines of Robert Heinlein): The German General Staff understood what they where ultimately up against and where adamant that above all else it tempered their small unit infantry combat doctrine, “Americans know less and learn faster than anyone, they or anyone who came up against them, had ever fought.” I think the North Vietnamese understood all too well.
    I can’t but help think too, this is one bigass country, lot of smart and determined people live in it. It’s only natural, to me that is the way I’m seeing things, comms become an invaluable force multiplier probably second to none under that premise. It ties so many resources and strengths together like nothing else can.

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