Cowtown Hamfest 2014 Review

This weekend was the Cowtown Hamfest at the Lockheed Martin facility in Ft Worth, TX.  It will be the last time this hamfest is held at this facility because Lockheed is no longer allowing the ham club at this location.  At least that is what I heard over the air, I don’t have any specifics as for the reason for the move, but if I understand correctly, that is the case.

This was my first time to attend this hamfest.  I arrived at 11am Saturday morning because I was assisting with a BBHN MESH network presentation at the BARC Saturday morning meeting.  There were a good number of cars and people in the parking lot, doing some tailgating.  I walked around outside for a short while, then I went inside to view the tables.

The room that housed the tables of all the used equipment was full, but I didn’t really find anything that I needed.  These tables are always hit-or-miss.  Lots of times the vendors are selling junky items, or items that have nothing at all to do with radio, or radio items that are in used condition but are too highly priced.  That was about all I found at this Hamfest, sadly.  There were 2 or 3 vendors there who had lots of used equipment, but they sure were proud of it.  I saw 1 Icom 706 MKIIg with a price tag of $575.  About 4 months ago, I bought one of these on ebay for $550 and it was in tip-top shape.  The rig at the hamfest looked to be in good shape, but $575 is too high for a hamfest.  Sell it on ebay if you want that much for it.

I saw another table with a Mirage 10-in,100-out 440MHz amp priced at $225.  You can pick these up on ebay all day long for $150, and often find them for around $100.  I saw an auction end just last night for $95.  $225 is WAY to high for a used Mirage amp.

The vendor room was disappointing also.  The only real vendor I saw there was Main Trading Company.  As always, Richard had some really good prices.  He had a brand new Icom IC-8200 listed for $888.  I ended up buying an external speaker from him, but that was it.  Kight Radio also made an appearance.  I saw some newer Chinese HTs that I hadn’t seen before, but he didn’t have the TYT TH-9800 Quad Band displayed.  I wanted to ask him about it, but he had a line of people at his table, and it wasn’t important enough to me to wait for.

I expected more from this Hamfest, but I am not sure why.  I was told it was s smaller Hamfest, and that is true, but I expected more vendors there.  Also, the used section was a big let-down.  Even at the Gainsville Hamfest, which was much smaller than Cowtown, I was able to find some really good deals on used gear.  Perhaps I simply didn’t arrive early enough at Cowtown due to my prior commitments.

Hopefully they will have this Hamfest again next year and I will make it a point to get there early, in hopes of giving it a better review.