IARU, ARRL Officials Attend Ham Fair, GAREC in Japan
ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, attended Ham Fair in Tokyo, Japan, August 22-23, at the invitation of Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) President Shozo Hara, JA1AN. "Ham Fair is by far the largest event of its kind in Asia. It is generally regarded as one of the 'Big Three' internationally, the other two being Dayton and Friedrichshafen," Sumner said. "It is held at Big Sight, a very large and modern exhibition facility on Tokyo Bay. Most attendees come by train or subway." According to JARL, more than 31,000 people attended the two-day event, with more than 20,000 coming on the first day. The 2009 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference (GAREC) was held in conjunction with the event.
Sumner said that IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, was able to schedule a business trip to Tokyo to coincide with Ham Fair: "On Friday, IARU Region 3 Secretary Jay Oka, JA1TRC, and JARL staff member Mitsu Sugawara, JN1LQH, Tim and I were given a tour of JARL Headquarters. ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, was already spending his second day at JARL HQ helping to check DXCC applications." Patton said he received more than 260 DXCC applications while in Japan.
On Saturday morning, Sumner and Ellam were invited to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony that marks the beginning of Ham Fair. "This is a rather elaborately staged event," Sumner recounted, "complete with white gloves, golden scissors and a bank of photographers. After the ceremony, and as thousands of patient attendees streamed into the exhibit area, Mr Hara led a group of us to the convention Special Event station 8J1A, where he made the first QSO. Then he led us to visit some of the commercial exhibitors." Sumner said he had the opportunity to operate 8J1A on 20 meter CW for 25 minutes. "The station had multiple operating positions and was quite busy throughout the show," he said.
On Sunday afternoon, Patton shared his ideas for rejuvenating college and university club stations as a means of reaching prospective hams. "This was well received by the Japanese hams in attendance," Sumner said. Yoshi Tsutsumi, JE2EHP/K1HP, provided interpretation.
On Monday, Sumner, Ellam and Patton attended GAREC-09; there were about 30 participants from 14 countries at the conference. Former IARU Region 3 Secretary Keigo Komuro, JA1KAB, chaired the meeting. "I was asked to chair the Statement Committee that was responsible for producing the GAREC Statement, summarizing the conclusions and recommendations of the conference," Sumner said. "IARU International Coordinator for Emergency Communications Hans Zimmermann, HB9AQS, who did not attend this year's GAREC, had provided a draft as a starting point, and it was only necessary to tailor it to what we actually talked about."
Ellam returned to Canada on Monday afternoon, and Sumner and Patton stayed through the end of the conference on Tuesday afternoon and flew home on Wednesday. Sumner thanked his Japanese hosts, saying, "We are grateful for the extraordinary hospitality extended to us by JARL."