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Friedrichshafen’s Ham Radio Attendance Holds Steady


Despite being held in a different month and at the height of the tourist season, Germany’s Ham Radio 2017 — more popularly known by its location, Friedrichshafen — remained as popular as ever this year. This marked the 42nd annual Ham Radio, and the Friedrichshafen Fairground reported that Ham Radio and the concurrent Maker Faire Bodensee (Lake Constance) attracted 17,110 visitors this year, compared to 17,230 last year. Heading up the ARRL contingent were President Rick Roderick, K5UR, and International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB. ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, said the League puts in an appearance at Friedrichshafen each year, greeting international members, which number more than 9,000, and networking with other national radio societies.

“ARRL is held in high regard by the international Amateur Radio community, and there were many, many compliments shared with our team for ARRL’s good work,” Inderbitzen reported. He said a German radio amateur donated to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund, citing the League’s spectrum advocacy efforts.

ARRL also supports DXCC card checking, which was supported by Radiosport Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ and volunteer card checkers from a half-dozen countries.

International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU R1) President Don Beattie, G3BJ, delivered an opening address at the convention. IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, and Beattie, also discussed IARU’s efforts in a presentation, “Working for the Future of Amateur Radio.”

Hamvention® General Chair Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, expressed some envy about the event, sometimes called “Europe’s Dayton.”

Ham Radio is a very good event that is extremely well organized,” Cramer said. “I wish that we had exhibition halls in Dayton that are as beautiful as the ones here in Friedrichshafen. A lot of Amateur Radio operators come to Dayton and to Friedrichshafen, and we want to support one another. After all, all events of this kind are important.”

Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) Chair Steffen Schöppe, DL7ATE, said DARC was “very pleased” with Ham Radio 2017. “Visitors showed great interest in the World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC 2018), got a lot of information about it, and some also want to stop by the competition in Jessen to get a look at the event itself.” WRTC 2018 Organizing Committee President Chris Janssen, DL1MGB, spoke at Ham Radio’s official opening. In addition to an indoor booth, WRTC 2018 erected a WRTC-style portable station in the courtyard. A “Meet the WRTC” event at Ham Radio featured competitors from the last 30 years, as well as sponsors and organizers. WRTC 2018 will take place next July in Germany, in conjunction with the IARU HF Championship.

Schöppe said the international youth forum at Ham Radio 2017 also was very successful and “the participants had a lot of fun.” IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group Chair Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, said she welcomed “an enthusiastic group of young people and youth workers” to the Ham Radio youth forum. According to her report, Philipp, DK6SP, and Florian, OE3FTA, gave a presentation about their experiences in IARU R1’s youth contesting program from 9A1A. “The meeting ended with a discussion, where many youngsters and youth coordinators shared their experiences on youth activities in several IARU R1 member societies,” she said, noting that the Ham Camp at Friedrichshafen hosted more than 100 participants, mostly young people.

Just ahead of next month’s Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) “YOTA UK” international summer camp, the official YOTA flag was carried from the booth of 2016 host, Austria’s OeVSV to the booth of 2017 host, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), to “loud cheering of a group of youngsters.” More than 80 participants from some 30 member societies are expected to attend. During the Youth Forum, OeVSV shared its positive experiences of hosting YOTA 2016 in Austria. She said radio amateurs from Japan and the US joined the meeting to express interest in bringing Youngsters on the Air to IARU Regions 2 and 3. YOTA UK 2017 is August 5-12 at Gilwell Park in London, the site of Scouting headquarters in the UK.

“Ham Radio again proved to be a Mecca for Amateur Radio enthusiasts from around the world, and the exhibitors at the Maker Faire Bodensee generated a spark in the eyes of visitors,” venue officials enthused in a “final report” on the joint events.

Ham Radio 2018 and Maker Faire Bodensee will return the first weekend of June 2018 — much earlier than usual and some 6 weeks in advance of WRTC 2018.