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57th Toledo Weak Signals Expo proves a strong draw to SeaGate

  • andrew-kondor-seagate-convention-centre

    Andrew Kondor, left, of Kondor Model Products, Thunder Bay, Ont., speaks with Arnold Black of Port Huron, Mich., at Mr. Kondor's booth, one of 375 this weekend at SeaGate Convention Centre.

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  • mike-close-model-aeronautical-association-of-australia

    Mike Close, president of the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia, who traveled from Sydney to Toledo, called the show at the Seagate Convention Centre ‘great.'

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  • tom-sroczynski-maumee-valley-model-boat-club

    Tom Sroczynski of Toledo, a member of the Maumee Valley Model Boat Club, shows a model he made using a kit and adding an electric motor.

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andrew-kondor-seagate-convention-centre

Andrew Kondor, left, of Kondor Model Products, Thunder Bay, Ont., speaks with Arnold Black of Port Huron, Mich., at Mr. Kondor's booth, one of 375 this weekend at SeaGate Convention Centre.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Enlarge | Buy This Image

mike-close-model-aeronautical-association-of-australia

Mike Close, president of the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia, who traveled from Sydney to Toledo, called the show at the Seagate Convention Centre ‘great.'

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Enlarge | Buy This Image

tom-sroczynski-maumee-valley-model-boat-club

Tom Sroczynski of Toledo, a member of the Maumee Valley Model Boat Club, shows a model he made using a kit and adding an electric motor.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Mike Close is a long way from home.

But the Australian from Sydney said he has a good reason to visit Toledo this weekend: the 57th annual Toledo Weak Signals RC Expo at SeaGate Convention Centre.

"RC" stands for radio-controlled, which is how weak-signals hobbyists operate their model planes, boats, and cars.

The show has more than 200 exhibitors with 375 booths and bills itself as the world's largest exposition dedicated to radio-controlled models.

"It's a great show," said Mr. Close, who is president of the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia. "The range of stuff is really impressive. I wish we had something like this in Australia."

The wares on display range from inexpensive plastic models to large ones made of carbon fiber that cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that's what appeals to Mr. Close.

"The great thing is you can see everything," he said Saturday. "All the major radio manufacturers are here so I can meet with them. You make contacts, and if something comes up during the year, you can send him an e-mail."

The show, sponsored by the Toledo Weak Signals RC Club, is the oldest and largest of its kind, according to Wayne Yeager, a co-director.

And not just any exhibitor can participate, he said.

"We're one of the few shows in the world that is only RC," Mr. Yeager explained. "We have a lot of people selling things that are not RC, but the rule is they must have at least one RC product."

He said he expected 15,000 people to walk through the doors of the three-day show, which ends at 2 p.m. today. "We sold out our exhibit spots," Mr. Yeager added.

Exhibitor Andrew Kondor came to the show from Thunder Bay, Ont. His company, Kondor Model Products, deals in engines — "from 15 cubic centimeters to 150 cubic centimeters" — for model airplanes. This is his fifth year in attendance.

"I would not miss this show for anything in the world," Mr. Kondor said.

"It's a great place to meet my customers. A lot of my Canadian customers come down here, and we have a lot of people from all over the Midwest. They're from all over. I just took an order from a guy from Venezuela, an $1,100 order from Venezuela."

Not all the exhibitors were from far afield. The Maumee Valley Model Boat Club brought a display of electric boats that ranged from the USS Nautilus submarine to the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw.

Bob McCamey of Lake Township said the model boat club has 23 members and is looking for more. Its Web site can be visited at mvmbc1.tripod.com.

At least one visitor admitted to being a little bewildered by the vast selection of hardware on display.

IF YOU GO
The Toledo Weak Signals RC Expo runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in the SeaGate Convention Centre.

Admission is $10. It is free for children 12 and under, active military personnel, and Boy Scouts in uniform.

Bill Johnson of Sylvania Township said he wanted to take up model-airplane flying but wasn't quite sure where to start. Did he want one made of wood and fiber glass, or foam, or some other material?

"There's a lot more to this than I anticipated," he said.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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