Last weekend we made our yearly ‘pilgrimage’ to the Friedrichshafen HAM RADIO in Germany. For the last few years there were always 4 of us, Andy ON7TS, Luc ON7KZ, Jan ON4KB and me. As Jan had to cancel at the last minute there were only 3 of us this year. (Jan, we missed you!)
For me it was the 18th year in a row and I can say I have seen a steady decline of the rally over the years. Every year there are less vendors at the flea market and at the ‘new’ market. I guess there are a few reasons for this: the prices for the rental of the fairgrounds and the competition of the internet sales.
This year there were only 2 halls of flea market with the second hall filled about 60%, last year it was 3 halls with the third hall filled about 50%. The following well known companies did not come back to the fair this year: Conrad, Classic International, Kabel Kusch etc. The room these companies took last year now seemed to be taken over by companies selling toy helicopters, handbags and even *very* cheap riflescopes…
But of course there were a few highlights for me at the Ham Radio:
- it was the first time I could see and feel the Elecraft K3 + P3 and the brand new KX3 + the Yaesu FT-DX5000. A few months ago I had set my mind on an FT-DX5000 but now I’m more inclined to buy the K3. (That is if I can decide whether a 2 year warranty is worth €1000 more than a 1 year warranty…)
- on friday afternoon I attended Contest University but I’ll probably write a separate post about this.
- as every year I met a few good old friends I hadn’t seen in a while
- the Schnitzel, Zanderfilet, Bratwurst and Hefeweizen 😉
One more thing that struck me this year: there were at least as many (if not more) companies selling portable fiberglass towers as there were selling regular aluminum/steel ones. Is this indicating the trend of more and more portable operations or do the HAMs in all european countries have the same trouble to get a building permit for a steel/aluminum tower?
Now the final question: will we go back next year? I guess so… no, OF COURSE WE WILL!