Last weekend I visited the Ham-Radio in Friedrichshafen for the 14th year in a row.
I can still remember the first time I went there in 1994 (time flies…) when I was a very ‘new’ radioamateur. Things were quite different back then, the ‘weirdo’ level was higher, with some people really dressed as HAMs, wearing (military) transceivers on their backs or hard hats with an antenna. Almost noone would dare to come into the ‘Messe’ if he/she wasn’t proudly wearing his callsign(s) somewhere on his hat or clothing. The parking lot was an assembly of porcupines, every car had at least 2 antennas, the bigger the better. At night you couldn’t find a free frequency on any repeater anywhere around Friedrichshafen. Kenwood, Yaesu and some others were competing to have the biggest booth and to present at least one new world class rig (see also Death of a Radio Company). Wimo was already there but didn’t have a booth 1/3 the size of the hall. (Wimo keeps growing and taking over the smaller companies, and whether this is always good for us the customers is another question…).
Does this mean we were disappointed in this Ham-Radio? No, of course not, we (ON4KB, ON5HC, ON7KZ and I) had lots of fun and we met a lot of old friends and acquaintances. One of them was Sean EI4GK with whom I was at Little Saltee (EU103) in 2004. Sean is one of the Officers of the Irish Radio Transmitters Society which had a booth at the Ham-Radio for the first time. We missed Lulu and Ingvar from Sweden this time though…
Some things haven’t changed over the years though… It has happened several times in those 14 years and again the welcome at the UBA-booth was disappointing… This seems to depend on the people who are at the booth at the moment we arrive. We don’t want any hugs or kisses and we don’t even want any free drinks but hey guys, when we approach the booth of OUR association, you could at least say hello to us.
As I have written here before I have gotten into building kits since last year and my main goal for this rally was to try and find one or more new kits to purchase. But it seems that noone is building those anymore, I did not find one kit (for HF) on the whole rally… I guess I’ll have to look for some new toys via the internet again.
This was the cheapest Friedrichshafen in my HAM-carreer, as I didn’t really find what I wanted I couldn’t spend the budget I had. (In the meanwhile the budget is spent, I ordered some accessories for my K2 directly from Elecraft but that will be for an other article.)
Now the question: will we go to Friedrichshafen again next year (for the fifteenth time)? Of course, this is our annual pilgrimage… and maybe we could have a little party for this anniversary? Moreover we can’t live without the ‘Bratwurst mit Brötchen’ and the ‘Hefeweizen’.
Will I ever go to the Dayton Hamvention instead? I don’t think so, at least not as long as all foreigners wanting to visit the US are treated as criminals… If things go on like this, sooner or later we will all need to have a microchip behind the ear like the dogs here in Belgium before we can enter the US. Sorry but Big Brother is watching us enough already.