It is a longing for foreign countries that drives radio amateurs to go “on tour.” Their radio connections with like-minded people around the globe often ignite the desire to travel and launch radio operations even in the remotest of places. The 44th Ham Radio is putting the focus on this desire to travel with the slogan “Amateur Radio On Tour” and will be bringing radio amateurs from all over the world to Lake Constance until Sunday, June 23, 2019. “The 184 exhibitors and associations come from 32 countries, and the visitors who come to Friedrichshafen for Europe’s most important amateur radio fair are even more international,” says Project Manager Petra Rathgeber. “People are drawn by the high-quality product range, the huge flea market, and the extensive supporting program that we organize with German Amateur Radio Club DARC, as well as by the fun of meeting friends with whom you can only stay in contact throughout the year by radio.”
Under the slogan of “Amateur Radio on Tour,” there is a lot to experience and marvel at this year: “There are exhibitions and initiatives that make it clear that amateur radio is always on tour and also up-to-date technologically. Local radio amateurs are demonstrating at their own radio stations that amateur radio continues to fascinate people to this day,” reports Stephanie Heine, Press Spokesperson of German Amateur Radio Club (DARC).
Since the beginning of the year, the first geostationary satellite with amateur radio transponder “Es’hail-2” has been ushering in a new era. For observers on earth, the satellite is always at the same position in the sky, offering service to almost half of the world. Once the antenna is securely aligned on the ground, the transponders of the satellite are available around the clock. Peter Gülzow, President of Amsat Germany, was significantly involved in the implementation. He emphasizes: “The interest is huge, and we will also notice this at the Ham Radio, because many people are wanting to find out more from us this weekend and buy the right technology from the exhibitors.”
Radio amateur Claudia Friedberg has equipped her RV with the appropriate technology. She has been a licensed radio amateur since the age of 17 and also likes to enjoy her hobby while traveling: “I unpack my antenna everywhere on trips. Even when I was sailing in the Caribbean, I got a local license and started operating while the others were snorkeling.” In addition to the batteries for the engine and for the housing compartment, her RV also has a special battery for the radio, which is charged by a solar panel.
The fact that radio amateurs are active even beyond the globe is demonstrated by radio contacts with German astronaut and radio amateur Dr. Alexander Gerst on the International Space Station ISS last year, which was achieved by the students of Realschule Weingarten, for example. In cooperation with ARISS (Amateur Radio on ISS) and the technical support of the local association of DARC Ravensburg/Weingarten, they were able to make contact with Alexander Gerst and personally ask him questions. The long preparation time on the part of all participants paid off: The German astronaut could be heard loud and clear – with lasting results, as one student of Realschule Weingarten describes: “We were able to ask questions about whether natural disasters and environmental pollution can be seen from the ISS. I find it quite frightening that it is actually possible, and this has really influenced my attitude toward environmental protection.”
The doors of the Ham Radio will be open until Sunday, June 23, 2019. Day tickets cost 11 euros, or 10 euros when purchased in advance, and the 3-day ticket is available for 26 euros, or 24 euros when purchased online. Additional information is available at www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de.