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Electricity is in the air: Technophiles from around the world make contact at the Ham Radio

The joy of technology and doing it yourself and the ability to make friends around the world brings people together. Amateur radio enthusiasts and scouts from all over the world came together at the Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen to meet one another, shop and get information from exhibitors and associations, and look for treasures at the flea market. In total, 15,460 visitors (last year: 17,110) were drawn to the international amateur radio exhibition at the Maker Faire Bodensee over the weekend. “The Ham Radio has confirmed its position as the leading amateur radio exhibition. It once again proved to be the Mecca for amateur radio operators from around the world, the place where the ham spirit is alive. This year, the date for the show was not ideal due to a few parallel events, and as a result visitor numbers fell slightly, in accordance with expectations. Nevertheless, many exhibitors and associations were very satisfied with how the show went,” said Messe Friedrichshafen CEO and project leader Petra Rathgeber.

A total of 180 exhibitors and associations from 32 countries presented themselves at the show and the very high level of international participation was apparent among visitors, who journeyed to the event from 63 countries. A tangible spirit of invention, creative ideas and fantasy was in the air at the Maker Faire Bodensee, where 150 stands invited visitors to get engaged and be amazed, inspiring some amateur radio enthusiasts.

In the Rothaushall A1, everything needed to pursue a radio hobby could be found, from antennas to transmitters to accessories. The flea market area again proved to be a real treasure trove as well as place to meet and talk shop. As the conceptual sponsor of the International Amateur Radio Exhibition, the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC) developed a technical lecture and supporting program befitting the show's motto of “Radio Scouting – the Adventure of Youth Amateur Radio” which proved very effective. “Every year, it is a lot of fun to come here to Friedrichshafen to meet friends and acquaintances and make new contacts. For years we had been talking with scouts so that they could really present themselves on a big scale here and this year it actually happened. Visitors were very interested in this topic, especially the young ones,” said a pleased Steffen Schöppe, DARC chairman. In interviews, many of the exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with how the show went: Alfred Krämer from Difona says: “Although we noticed fewer visitors this year, our new products were sold out on Friday evening and I had to order more by express delivery. The Ham Radio is a must for our company.” Frank Dathe, Funktechnik Dathe, reports: “This is the fourth Ham Radio for us and the best show so far. Here we can reach customers that we otherwise never see. We are very satisfied and will also come back to Friedrichshafen in the future.” Raffaelo Minuzzi from Spiderbeam emphasizes: “As expected, we got a lot of negative feedback about the date of this year’s show. However, we have a large base of loyal customers who came to see us, so we are satisfied with our sales, which did not register any major differences compared to last year.” Daniel Kägi from the Union of Swiss Shortwave Amateurs (USKA) explains: “The Ham Radio not only holds great significance for our association, but for all of the associations around the world; it is a kind of pilgrimage for us. The exchange between international associations like those from the USA, Thailand and South Africa takes place here in Friedrichshafen.”

“Whether it was computer cases that had been built into works of art, bags made from aluminum can tabs or concepts for a do-it-yourself barkeeper, at the fifth edition of the Maker Faire Bodensee, creative minds and hobbyist tinkerers found what their hearts desired. 150 stands encouraged visitors to tinker, build and experience new things in a large number of participatory activities. “We were very pleased with the two wonderful days of the show and are overwhelmed by the dedication of the exhibitors, who presented their hobby with a lot of passion, encouraging people to participate in the many workshops and activities. Especially children had connecting with to technical subjects. We are already looking forward to the Maker Faire 2019,” said organizer Frank Henkel of M.O.V.E. Messeorganisations- und Veranstaltungsgesellschaft.

The next Ham Radio will be transmitting from Friedrichshafen from June 21 to 23, 2019, returning to its traditional place in the calendar. The Maker Faire Bodensee will take place alongside the Ham Radio on the weekend.