SoCal Electronics Swap Meets

Doing anything Saturday morning? On the third, and last Saturdays of the month, geeks and HAMs alike gather bazaar style to buy and sell electronic wares.

By the truck, van, box, bin or bag, you can have your go at random parts, various devices, cables, motors, sensors, cameras, radios, tubes, laptops, and anything else in-between.

I see 1950's wooden table-top radios, and I see mac minis and iBooks. I see boxes of tubes, and unopened dewalt electric drills. I see Cisco Catalyst 5000 switches, and a "Code-a-phone 700" answering machine more than a decade old. Here's a couple commodores complete with printer, 2 monitors, joysticks, and tape adapter. There's a guy selling complete satellite TV setups (DIY of course).

I come week after week, it's rare you see the same stuff the next week, so if you see something you want, you'd better just get it.

It's great to meet people, to dig through endless bins searching for "gold-dust" that everyone else missed.

The Swap Meets

Flickr Set

Here are some photos I took at TRW, please also view the entire photoset by clicking here.


These tips apply no matter which swap you're attending!

  • Get there early! the vendors start to filter in around 7:30-8:00am.
  • Haggle! almost all sellers are willing to haggle, make reasonable offers, don't back down.


  • Admission is free, usually there is a vendor selling doughnuts coffee and sodas.
  • Parking is ample, look for the signs, or just follow the 10 foot whip antennas.


Please see the site for the swap meet for details on selling your stuff. Some of the swaps have limits on selling CRTs for instance. You may also need a HAM Radio License to sell at TRW, but not the other swap meets. Fees are in the 10$ a month range, and you can pre-register for next month at the current swap. Please refer to the respective homepage links for details.

Every 2nd Saturday - Cable Airport (CLOSED)

Click for a map to the Cable Airport swap meet

Homepage Link
1749 W 13th St
Upland, CA 91786

Updated 2/25/2013: This event has long since closed, I just hadn't gotten around to updating the page until now.

This is by far the smallest of the three swap meets I track. It never re-gained in popularity after it got kicked out of my high school: A.B. Miller in Fontana, CA. I still always show up.

There are one or two big vendors out of moving trucks that sell out of bins here, so there's always something new to see/get. The crowd and layout are very scaled down, you can really spend some time digging.

Every 3rd Saturday - Chino Hills

Click for a map to Chino Hills swap meet

Homepage Link
16150 Pomona Rincon Rd
Chino Hills, CA 91709

This is the biggest swap meet on the east side of downtown LA. It's gotten popular in the past year, and now an entire side of the parking lot is full of vendors 5 rows deep. This is not a bad thing, more people bring more vendors with better stuff.

You get the same folks who show up to the Cable Airport swap plus 20-30 vendors. A lot of the "regulars" show here that have consistent things, heat-shrink, audio/radio adaptors (bnc, 3.5mm, etc), cable, power supplies, batteries of all sizes (good rechargeables), keychain flashlights, neodymium magnets. Many useful things to be had.

There are also lots people selling stuff out of their garages, garages filled with tektronix oscilloscopes, soldering irons, and milk-crates full of CCD cameras. Or you'll find a table full of various remote controls, and a pile of series 1/2 tivos.

Plenty of laptops, some working, some not, some for too much, some with most of the parts missing, some with extra parts added.

Then you find random things like LPs, old magazines, adding machines, anything is possible. At one point I found a giant "gun-like" device pulled from a military vehicle of some sort, it was labeled "Laser ranging system" and had a odometer that read out 223,000 or so. Roughly the shape of a toaster oven with a handle, all the optics had been torn out, but it had an awesome fold out handle and toggle switch for a trigger. It could have made a great BFG 9000.

Every LAST Saturday - TRW

Click for a map to TRW Swap meet

Homepage Link
Northrop Grumman Parking Lot
Corner of Marine Ave & Aviation Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This is the largest electronics/ham radio swap meet in southern california that I am aware of. This bad boy takes up the entire NW parking lot, and is filled to the brim with anything the imagination desires: cheap DVI cables, old scsi hardware, white box computers and bare-bones desktops, bins of returns from Best Buy. I would estimate 100 or more vendors at this show, and it's always a rat-race.

The crowds are never pushy exactly, but they do get dense. Lots of non-social geeks, who are agoraphobic enough to stay indoors most of their lives, sojourn outside once a month just to sort through a box of vacuum tubes.

Did I mention the vacuum tubes? There are tubes all over the place here.