Last Friday and Saturday, I attended my first ever hamfest.

NEAR-Fest stands for New England Amateur Radio Festival and is a hamfest that has been occurring every May and October at the Deerfield Fairgrounds since 2007. It was spawned from the ashes of a similar hamfest, The Hosstraders Tailgate Swapfest which had it's last event in October 2006.

At our September meeting of the North Shore Radio Association, it was brought up that NEAR-Fest was just under a month and that something should be organized to sell off some of the silent key stash we had (including me with three boxes of books).

At the end of September, on our usual Sunday night net, I called in via EchoLink to see if I could round up some help. Then a few days later, at the start of October, I posted on our Yahoo Groups mailing list to see if I could enlist some more help.

In the end, the club treasurer, Eric, KA1NCF, a ham friend of his who lives down the street from him, Joel, N1KTH and myself went to Eric's shed to go through the pile of SK stuff (not counting the boxes of books I had) to see what we could take up.

The boxes included a box full of kit radios such as Heathkit and one small Ramsey kit.

Also in the pile, was the Pilot A.C. Super Wasp seen in the box in my post about the initial discovery of W1OCY's hidden treasure.

On the evening of Thursday, October 9th, we met at Eric's and packed up the boxes. Next morning, I woke up early and made the hour-fifteen trip to Deerfield Fairgrounds. Brian, WO1VES, another club member who runs the Nut Net every night on our club's repeater set aside some space for me and Joel next to his Nut Net tent. However, since we didn't have a current club pass and and Joel left late, we weren't able to get in during the 8am club hour and had to wait for general admission entry at 9am.

The line to get in

Our setup early on the first day.

Within minutes, we had already sold an entire box of vacuum tubes for $100. We were selling books for about one dollar; one of the boxes being extremely heavy, nearly throwing my back out carrying it and pricing everything based on how much we felt it would go for. I printed out my January blog post about W1OCY's background and finding the hidden stash. I also chatted with some other members of the NSRA who made the journey up on their own. 

We made a good amount of money the first day and realized we might need more stuff as the day winded down, including the Super-Wasp which we didn't bring up. (Including one ham who recognized what it was) As I wasn't staying overnight like Joel was, I decided to make the trip back to Eric's house and pick up more stuff after letting him know I was coming.

Myself in the front and Joel behind me

Driving back through a slight rain storm from a pitiful subtropical storm Melissa, I stopped at Eric's house and loaded up the back of the Jeep with more boxes of items, aside from the books which I brought with me to keep from getting wet. Then I headed home and got some sleep.

My Jeep loaded up for the second day
Our tent next to the Nut Net tent on the second day

I arrived the next morning around 8 and brought the items over to the tent to sell. The day progressed nicely, I popped on the RedditNet IRC chat from time to time as Internet was very spotty, dropping between LTE down to HSPA and sometimes EDGE and very often no signal. One of the others in the IRC let me know he was coming up to NEAR-Fest later the day. He did eventually stop by our tent. We sold the Super-Wasp. And we made some more money for the club. I also managed to pop in the commercial vendor buildings. Eventually, the end of the day came and we broke everything down and headed home to put what we didn't sell back in Eric's shed for the time being.

This was the heaviest box and I nearly threw my back out carrying it over to our table

Thankfully by the end of the day it was empty.
The first commercial building.

The second commercial building.
I'm already looking for NEAR-Fest XXVII in May. Hope to see you then!


For an album of photos from the first day of NEAR-Fest, click here.
For an album of photos from the second day of NEAR-Fest, click here.


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