One of the sure signs of the coming of spring is the beginning of the hamfest season. While not limited to spring time, spring hamfests are as sure a sign of warm weather as flip flops and tank tops, a combo preferably not seen at hamfests.
Last weekend saw the 2010 LIDSfest hamfest and swap meet sponsored by the Lost Island DX Society held at the Far And Away Community Center in Lake Lid. LIDSfest brought many LIDS and others out of winter hibernation to renew old acquaintances and pick over the goodies in the flea market. Being early in the spring, it appeared that some of the LIDS had not gotten around to taking their spring bath just yet. But any odiferous offenders were masked by the perfume from the lady at the Avon table in the flea market.
The LIDSfest flea market had the usual expected vendors - the Avon lady, the knock-off wallet and purse vendors, the crochet tea and toilet paper cozy lady, and even the Girl Scout cookies - peppered in among the electronic detritus brought in by the diehards. Most of the electro-mechanical bits and pieces appeared to have been originally manufactured during the 50' or 60's and have probably not seen daylight since the last hamfest of the fall. There was a plentiful assortment of flea market vendors selling two and three generation old laptops and even a few Apples manufactured during the period when Steve Jobs was not the head of the company.
A few boatanchor aficionados held court with a collection of Hallicrafters, Harvey-Wells', and Swans, all looking very uncollectable. For the ESSB enthusiast, a multitude of audio mixer boards and other devices that could be dual purposed for the shack or the garage band were readily available.
Beside the LED light and battery dealer sat a lone table containing a modern vintage HF transceiver and a CW paddle, the only one visible in the flea market.
Original plans for LIDSfest 2010 included a forum highlighting the LIDS' UP5LID and 4Q2LID Dxpeditions conducted back in October 2009. However, the loss of the UP5LID laptop containing the DXpedition logs, also containing all the digital photos taken during the DXpedition, made a presentation problematic. As no word to date has been heard from the 4Q2LID team, despite efforts to locate the camp of the Tamil Tiger's baseball training camp, a small memorial service was held in their memory.
Many hamfests also include forums with local or regional officials from the ARRL to discuss current issues of vital importance to the amateur community. Unfortunately, all local ARRL officials, even down to ORS appointees, were previously engaged and could not attend.
No hamfest is complete with the requisite hamfest food. Not to disappoint, the local volunteer fire department, which was providing the food, managed to find some three month old hot dog buns and freezer burned weenies to insure that patrons left LIDSfest with a taste, and heartburn, they would remember all year long. In keeping with other hamfests, the prices of hot dogs were kept equal to the admission ticket price. Plans to offer BBQ at LIDSfest were derailed when a local PETA group threatened to demonstrate. PETA representatives were, however, satisfied that the hot dogs contained so little actual animal product, they would not object to their sale.
By day's end, many happy LIDS left with new connectors and batteries, as well as LED lights. They got to see old friends and make some new ones and tell them both their latest lies. Attendance was good, despite the economy and everyone is looking forward to next year's LIDSfest - same time, same place.