Gainsville Hamfest 2013 Review

gainsville2This was my first time attending the Hamfest in Gainsville.  I had heard mixed reviews about the show from hams around the DFW area, on various repeaters, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect when I showed up there.  The show was supposed to go from 7am-1pm, but I arrived around 8:30am and left about an hour and a half later.  I saw everything there was to see…twice.

The show was small, and only about half of the tables were being used.  It was disappointing.  However, I really can’t complain because of all the items I did see, I was able to score 3 or 4 really good deals.

I bought a used Radio Shack HTX-212 for $20.  These radios sell for $60-$100 on ebay, constantly.  I have one already, I bought it brand-new when Radio Shack first released them, maybe 12-15 years ago.  And I used it in my truck for years.  It still powers up and talks like it was new, and I have never had any work done to it.  So $20 for a 45-watt mobile rig isn’t bad at all.  I have some friends that are interested in getting a ham radio license, so I may offer gainsville1this to one of them as an incentive to go ahead and take the test.

I also bought a Tonfa UV-985 dual-band HT that will transmit 8W on high power, on both 2M and 70CM.  It is very similar to the Baofeng radios, but it is a bit more powerful, and has a nicer looking display, in my opinion.  I’m looking forward to testing it on some repeaters around here.

I’m not sure I will go back to this show again, though.  I might change my mind a few times between now and next year, but the show was very small and not really all that much to see.  I am glad that I went this time because it was my first experience with the Gainsville Hamfest.

However, I did learn about the Belton Hamfest today and am now planning to attend that show, which I am told is one of the largest and best Hamfests around here.

5 Responses to “Gainsville Hamfest 2013 Review”

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  1. The Student says:

    Seems that you had a good deal there mate. I think i will go to Gainsville next year if the Hamfest will be kept once more. Who knows, maybe i will get a god deal to :).

  2. Ron says:

    Jape, can you tell me how the Tonfa UV-985 dual-band HT worked out? I’m thinking about buying one and I haven’t seen any thourough reviews. It looks like it is compatible with batteries etc. from the Baofeng uv 5r??

    Any insights or comments would be appreciated.

    • jape says:

      HI Ron, thanks for commenting.
      I’ve been meaning to write a review of the Tonfa for a while now, but just haven’t gotten around to it.
      I like the radio, it does work well overall. Not sure about the price, though. I paid $60 for it at a Hamfest, and you can buy a UV-5R on Amazon for under $30. The Tonfa is supposed to do 8 watts on both bands, but I haven’t tested this (which is one reason I haven’t posted my review) but if daily usage is any test, I can’t tell a huge difference.
      I removed the stock antenna and used a Nagoya NA-771, which of course improved performance greatly, but I don’t see a huge different between the Tonfa and any of my 5-watt HTs running the same Nagoya antenna.
      If you find a better price on this radio than I did, I’d say it is worth it.

      • Ron says:

        Jape, good feedback. I really appreciate it. Can you comment on the compatibility of software and batteries? Is this basically a clone of the UV-5R with or without more Tx power? Do you use CHIRP to program it? Does the UV-5R battery fit?

        Maybe I should ask the broader question do you have a favorite HT that gives a solid 5w or more, has cheap and readily available batteries, and either comes with programing software or can use something like CHIRP?

        Thanks in advance

        • jape says:

          I bought an extended battery for a UV-5R that I was hoping would fit the Tonfa, but it doesn’t. So I would venture to say that the batteries are not interchangeable, but I haven’t tried the stock battery.

          I use CHIRP to program all my HT radios, except the Anytone AT-3318. The CHIRP software works great on the Tonfa.

          My favorite HT is either the Anytone or the Wouxun. Both of these models run around $100. If you are looking for a less-expensive radio, like the Baofeng line, I suggest the Baofeng UV-82. It has been tx/rx, a better antenna, and is a more sturdy radio. I wrote a review of that radio on this blog.

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