Belton Hamfest A.A.R. (After Action Review!)

So the Belton HamEXPO was my first hamfest ever. I had high hopes for this event. Maybe I shouldn’t have. I was expecting more vendors, more companies to show...

So the Belton HamEXPO was my first hamfest ever. I had high hopes for this event. Maybe I shouldn’t have. I was expecting more vendors, more companies to show up, but there were only a select few, and to those who did, like MTC Radio from Paris, TX! Where I scored my new Buckmaster OCF dipole (4 bander).

I’m surprised that with the prevalence of online dealers these days that hamfests even still happen. Although, I wish they’d happen more. There’s something almost nostalgic about them.

Snagged a shot of some boat anchors I spotted in the tailgating area that I had my eye on, but just wasn’t ready to make the commitment. I did realize that  my ultimate dream would be to have a shortwave radio from the U.S. Army of some kind. Working of course! Maybe even one that I could learn to rebuild (with assistance of course!). I think that would complement my shack nicely next to all my military memorabilia.

I haven’t had a chance to use the Buckmaster much, although I got it strung up already behind the house where my fan dipole was. This is much less obtrusive, covers more bands, and has similar performance to a fan dipole. Not to mention its built like a tank, this thing will last 30 years or more easily. I can see why they charge a little over $200 for these things, although I got mine at a pretty good deal.

I recently sold my KX3. I’m venturing into mobile HF because unfortunately I don’t have much time in the home QTH. I’ve decided that i’ll probably replace the KX3 with a Kenwood TS-480SAT, and just hook it up to some hamsticks for now until I figure out what kind of HF antenna to get for the truck. I’ve already gone over the age old debate of screwdrivers, Hi-Q antennas, hamsticks, and the like. They’re all a compromise of some sort, I think any crazy claims any of these antenna manufacturers make should be carefully examined before purchasing such an expensive one! (although, I would really, really like a Hi-Q antenna!)

I’ve also since moved my FTM-400DR back into the truck. There’s no sense in having a radio that has APRS capabilities and functions as a base station radio, so it’s back in the truck! I’m still busy moving things around, tweaking things as I see they’ll best suit my needs. I want my equipment to get the most use possible! It was my original assumption that any radio that goes in my vehicle should be plain, and have as little as functions as possible, but I’m finding that I actually want the complete opposite. New radios are going to have WAY more functions than your basic 2m rigs like the TM-281A I also have. In my opinion if you are shopping for a mobile VHF/UHF radio, definitely go for a dual band one, capable of at least 50 watts, and one that has all the bells and whistles that you want on it, because eventually, your going to want that more capable radio. I’m going to make another review on the Yaesu FTM-400DR, so be looking out for that in the YouTube channel! I’ve had a lot more time to review it’s functions and play with the radio.


Saying a prayer for the folks in Houston today, hoping the waters subside quickly. We got quite drenched, but supposedly in for another wet week this week! Stay dry Texans!

No Comment
  • BillS AG5DG
    4 September 2016 at 2:13 AM

    Next time try to make it up to the big TX state convention in Irving. They have the factory reps and full product line from the big 3, most of the SDR radio makers, and MFJ. Lots of vendors selling supplies to make antennas, and factory made antennas. Ham Radio Outlet is there with great prices on everything they have. It’s well worth it for that and the tech seminars are icing on the cake!

    • Johnny
      7 September 2016 at 2:50 PM

      Hi Bill! I did in fact make it to HamCom this year, that’s where I scored a Kenwood desk mic from MTC radio, although I arrived a bit late, and missed most of the classes I had hoped to sit in on! Maybe next year… Thanks for your comment!