I just went to the WCRA Mid-Winter Hamfest
yesterday, and as a result I came home with a whole bunch of precious treasures that are filled with magic and wonderment! Some of my purchases there included:
- A 4-port VGA Video Splitter and Enhancer!
- A Cisco 1900 series 10baseT Ethernet switch!
- A Cisco serial console cable!
- Assorted Linksys 100baseTX Ethernet switches!
- A boxed copy of IBM OS/2 Warp version 3 and a huge bag of assorted software for it!
- An external USB CD burner!
- An unopened factory-sealed box of vintage CD caddies! (Does anyone remember back when CD-ROM drives used caddies? As a vintage computer collector, I still have some CD-ROM drives that do! )
- And my most amazing find of all, an unopened factory-sealed box of 8-inch floppy disks! That's right! 8-inch! If you thought that the 5.25-inch floppy disks were as big as they came, then prepare to have your mind blown and your consciousness brought to a higher plane of existence! The 5.25-inch floppies of the 1980's are actually more properly known as mini-floppies, and the formerly ubiquitous 3.5-inch floppies were known as micro-floppies. To have an actual floppy disk without the "micro" or the "mini" in front of it you need to be rockin' one of these large 1970's-era 8-inch floppy disks! Now if I only had a disk drive that used them...
- Other assorted pieces of wonderful inexpensive junk!
If none of this stuff sounds incredibly amazing or wonderful to you, you're actually not the only one. Unfortunately, even I have to admit that pickings at the hamfest were slim this year. Normally when I go to a hamfest there are at least one or two things that I see that are "I have got to have this!!!" items. For example, last year at this very same hamfest I found an in-box Commodore 64C computer, a 1950's Bakelite "Police Alarm" police band FM vacuum tube-based tabletop receiver, and a book on laser holography. Now those are things that I can really get excited about!
This year however there just wasn't really anything there that got me all that excited. And on top of that, it seems like the attendance to this hamfest seems to be significantly dwindling from year to year. I don't know why, but even though the total number of ham radio operators in the U.S. have increased year after year for the past three years, attendances at pretty much every hamfest that I go to have dropped steadily across the board for the decade-and-a-half that I have been going to them. Some are literally half the size that they used to be, and that is really a shame, because along with furry conventions, hamfests are one of the few events that I look forward to attending year after year. Oh well, maybe I will find some better stuff when I go to my next hamfest in May!