Over the last two years, amateur radio operators have been staying in touch with each other mainly through the use of amateur radio. At the Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, they are finally able to meet, exchange ideas, and celebrate a reunion live and in living color. With its slogan of “Seeing Friends Again,” the 45th International Amateur Radio Exhibition has its focus on getting together with fellow enthusiasts, with the event slated to attract radio fans from all over the world to Lake Constance until Sunday, June 26, 2022. “We are expecting around 373 participants this time, including 129 commercial exhibitors and associations as well as around 244 flea market exhibitors from 27 countries. The amateur radio enthusiasts in attendance come from all over the world and can hardly wait to reunite with old friends, meet new people, and spend the next three days in each other’s company,” Project Manager Petra Rathgeber explains at the press conference. “This year’s focus is on the high-quality range of products, the presence of international associations, the extensive flea market, and the wide-ranging supporting program, which we organized with our outstanding partner German Amateur Radio Club (DARC).”
At the 71st convention on Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen, the focus is not only on seeing each other again but also on the digital transformation. Radio enthusiasts in attendance can observe this up close and personal in the form of the live radio links with the Indian Ocean, the Antarctic, and the ISS, and the teacher training also makes it possible to find out more about a variety of topics: “With our supporting program, we are demonstrating that amateur radio is alive and well and able to reach young people, and that we continue to have our finger on the pulse of the times. We are actively shaping the future. Radio amateurs are able to establish live radio links, and with our teacher training, we are demonstrating that, in a world in which natural sciences and technology are becoming increasingly important, the path from radio amateur to engineer can allow a passion to be transformed into a profession,” says Stephanie Heine, Press Spokesperson of the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC).
Young radio amateur Theresa Thoma of Fürstenfeldbruck also made the leap from hobby to career. With a master’s degree in computer science, she landed a job as an electronics engineer at the research station of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Antarctica: “I spent over a year on the southernmost continent serving as an IT expert at ‘Neumayerstation III.’ What was initially a ‘crazy idea’ ultimately became an experience filled with adventure. In addition to my work as a technician, I was also able to get to know the incredible natural world of Antarctica while also pursuing my hobby of amateur radio. This also meant that we established radio contact with schools, where children and young people were able to pose their questions to us.”
Robert Traussnig, Chairperson of the local DARC local association in Friedrichshafen, is also fascinated by international communication and the technology associated with it. In addition to his primary work relating to quality assurance for Earth observation satellites at Airbus, he is involved in establishing Germany’s first regional emergency radio group. “Together with DARC, we have been developing the concept for the first regional emergency radio group in Germany using an emergency vehicle donated by Airbus. The flood in Germany’s Ahr Valley in July 2021 once again demonstrated to us what a key role amateur radio can play in restoring communication. We are launching an urgently needed pilot project here in Friedrichshafen,” Robert Traussnig explains. “With the ongoing debut of this concept on Lake Constance, we are laying the foundation for a national emergency radio system. In the future, each federal state in Germany will have a support point that is responsible for emergency and disaster radio,” adds Oliver Schlag, DARC’s Head of Emergency and Disaster Radio.