Looking back at the Charlotte Hamfest

I intended to do a write-up on the Charlotte Hamfest I attended this past weekend before now, but strangely enough, I have very little to say about it.

I spent a grand total of $2 (yes, 2, as in single digits, not 200, not 2,000!) on gear: a pair of 6-foot-long mono audio cables for digital mode tomfoolery. I flirted with buying the hardware to get setup on Anderson Powerpoles, very nearly bought the Arrow LEO satellite antenna that I’ve had my eye on since before I entered the hobby, and considered buying some Dacron rope to replace the nylon stuff that is currently supporting my dipole.

I had a pocketful of cash and couldn’t find anything to spend it on. The bottom line is, there isn’t anything I really need now. I’m on HF/VHF/UHF with a great radio. I have an antenna that’s performing well in my limited space. There is nothing I would change about my shack at the moment (well, I need to do a better job grounding perhaps, and maybe one day I’ll actually put the 2-meter antenna up…).

I’ve been interested in a QRP rig for travelling, so I was on the lookout for either a Yaesu FT-817nd, or a Flex 1500. I didn’t see either, new or used. However I did make out like a bandit on Yaesu swag. I managed to grab a pen, a map for my shack and a Yaesu hat. I think I was somewhat shell-shocked the majority of the time because there was so much to look at, especially in the flea market area, where you could find just about any kind of cable, connector, tube or gadget.

The best part of going to the hamfest was really just the journey. I met up with a large group of local hams around 7 a.m. and we caravanned up to the event, talking on simplex the whole way. Our club leader, W3KH, received the Roanoke Division Service award from the ARRL during one of the forums, so it was nice to drop by and support him.

Right before I left I recognized the videographer from TWiT’s Ham Nation, Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, wandering around. I should have gone over and introduced myself, seeing as how I make web video for a living, but he looked like he was in the zone and I didn’t want to bother him. He posted his video from Charlotte this week over at his Ham Radio Now site. Hopefully we’ll see a segment on Ham Nation this week.

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