You would not think that DXing and going to yard sales would have anything in common, and for many people, they don't. For me they do. They do because occasionally I find things that aid in my hobby and I find them dirt cheap. Now 80 percent of the time, going to yard sales is a total waste of time for me. But sometimes, the reward is BIG and makes up for all the time I waste looking at dishes, glasses, picture frames, old analog televisions, garbage, Beanie Babies, baby clothes and whatever else people are desperately trying to pawn off of unsuspecting buyers. For example, here are some items I found at local yard sales or garage sales (or tag sales, as they are known in New England) in 2015...
Insignia box I found at a large flea market in Hubbardston, MA. It cost
me $10 and was never used. The Gemini rotor has never been used.
(NOTE: Gemini products have a reputation of being of dubious quality
(junk). If I really need to install a rotor I think I'd use the Radio
Shack rotor before even thinking about the Gemini thing.
I got the rotor and a brand new VU-190 fringe U/V TV antenna for $10 at
a sale a couple of miles from my home. The next picture shows two
unused boxes of RG6 coax. I found them at two different yard sales and
the two cost me a total of $2.00. And lastly, at the last yard sale I
went to this fall, I found a brand new Radio Shack rotor on a table
with a bunch of junk just sitting there. The woman let me have it for a
During the summer we also visit a few outdoor flea markets. I've picked up many FM tuners at those markets CHEAP. I have a Marantz 1030 amplifier here that looks and sounds great and I got it at an indoor flea market for ten dollars. And another time I found another Marantz 1030 at the same place for the same price.
Probably the best piece of equipment I've ever found was this summer at a yard sale held by an order of nuns in my town. The sale was at their convent. Now whenever I hear about a yard sale at a nursing home or a sisters' convent, I think of crafts, flowers, decorations, home made items that frankly, put me to sleep. And this one wasn't any different. So while my wife was off looking at stuff, I was searching the place for anything that might interest me. Then I saw it on a table next next to an old analog TV. After checking with my phone, I found it to be an HP 2.8mhz two core duo low profile computer. A note scribbled and taped to it indicated that the drive was wiped clean. One of the nuns said I could have it for ten dollars. I snapped it up and my son installed Windows 7 on it. I now have another super performing computer for almost nothing.
I've also bought hard drives, USB mice, mousepads, keyboards and flatbed scanners at yard sales for almost nothing.If you have a smartphone, use it to check the model number on the internet to see if it's compatable with your computer while you are examining the thing. There's nothing worse than bringing home something you bought only to find out it won't work with your computer.
Going to yard sales may not be everybody's "thing", but if you like the thrill of the hunt, knowing that at some point you are going to hit it big and save plenty, you need to get a list of your local weekend yard sales, take your smartphone with Google Maps installed and GPS your way to all of them. If a young mom can hit it big looking for three toddler kids clothes, there's no reason you can't hit the jackpot looking for tuners, preamps or computer equipment.
This is a pair of Realistic bookshelf speakers. I found these laying on a table at a sale one Saturday. I have another set I found the same way. These are the good, heavy speakers sold by Radio shack. Bought for $5.00. Onthe right is a suburban UHF/VHF combination. I found it in 2014 at a church rummage sale. It was laying against a wall. I took it for five dollars. The woman who sold it to me had no idea what it was. It may be a Winegard antenna or just something generic. I have no idea. I just wanted it for spare aluminum to use for another antenna project.
In 2016 I've also had a little luck poking around yard sales in the area. In spring I picked up a Sansonic DTV box with manual tuning for only $3.00. It seems to be as sensitive as the Zenith/Insignia boxes and gets into manual tuning mode with just a button click.
So what are you waiting for? The stuff you need is out there. You just need to look.
©2017 M Bugaj No reprints without permission