Friedrichshafen “Ham Radio” 2014 Attendance Tops Last Year’s Numbers, Show Emphasizes Youth.
Attendance at Germany’s annual international “Ham Radio” exhibition on June 27-29 — the Continent’s biggest Amateur Radio event — was 17,100 this year, up from 15,300 visitors last year. This year’s Ham Radio teamed with the Maker World create-it-yourself exhibition at the Messe exhibition center in Friedrichshafen. The gathering attracted some 200 exhibitors from 34 countries plus 300 flea marketers. Ham Radio 2014 placed an emphasis on youth-oriented themes and activities and also honored one of 2013’s major DXpedtions. DARC chose “Creative Amateur Radio — Build It Yourself” as the theme for this year’s show.
“The Ham Radio 2014 generated two important impulses for the DARC and its members,” said DARC President Steffen Schoeppe, DL7ATE/W7ATE. “First of all, it is important to strengthen support for work with young people, and second, a door was opened to the maker scene, which has a lot of parallels to Amateeur Radio.”
The third International Youth Meeting took place at Friedrichshafen on June 28, sponsored by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 and the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC), Germany's national Amateur Radio society. The gathering included presentations from many young radio amateurs and adult leaders. Among the presenters was 16-year-old ARRL member Alex Banbury, KE7WUD, and Gerrit Herzig, DH8GHH. Herzig, who organizes activities for youth in Braunschweig, Germany, spoke about ways to interest young people in Amateur Radio, particularly students interested in science and technology. Herzig was also involved with a team of students and youth leaders who launched a tropospheric balloon from the convention grounds on the convention’s second day. The balloon carried student-built ham radio payloads including an APRS beacon and telemetry transmitter, video camera, and numerous scientific sensors.
Banbury told one forum how he started a radio club at his high school on Washington’s Mercer Island. He explained that promoting the public service aspect of Amateur Radio has been particularly successful for recruiting other students — and because the island’s infrastructure is uniquely susceptible to natural or man-made disaster. Banbury, who earned his ham radio ticket at age 10, spends summers in Germany with his family. He attended the convention in Friedrichshafen with his father, ARRL Life Member John Banbury, AG7N.
ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, said the convention included many youth-organized exhibits. “A ham youth camp had participation from 100 young people up to the age of 27,” he said. “The young hams spent 3 nights meeting with one another and having fun.” Their activities included building various projects and getting on the air from different stations. A hidden transmitter “fox hunt” was held on Sunday morning in a forest near the fairgrounds.
Inderbitzen, ARRL International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB; ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ; ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, and Assistant Member and Volunteer Programs Department Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, represented ARRL at Friedrichshafen.
The K9W Wake Atoll Commemorative DXpedition was named 2013 DXpedition of the Year. ARRL members Lou Dietrich, N2TU, and Hal Turley, W8HC, accepted an award, given by the German DX Foundation, on behalf of the K9W team. The DXpedition, which took place last November, was the recipient of an ARRL Colvin Award grant. Dietrich, the Team Leader, explained that the DXpedition included a commemoration for the “Forgotten 98,” a group of civilian contractors who lost their lives on the atoll in October 1943.
The next Ham Radio is scheduled for June, 26-28, 2015.