Friedrichshafen Contest University 2011

As I wrote in my report about the Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen I attended the Contest University on friday afternoon.

The afternoon started with a welcome by the organiser Michael DL6MHW and then a discussion of contest ethics. After this the group was split in 2, the beginners in one room, the more advanced contesters in an other.
The beginners got the following parts: Contest basics, contest logging, how to get a decent score with a small station, clubcompetition and motivation.

I attended the part for advanced contesters with these parts:

  • Better logging / log analysis
    These things were discussed: preparation of the contest, on what frequency should I be, what software to use, what is a contest qso, log analysis and UBN
  • Using skimmer and RBN
    For me as a mainly rtty and ssb contester this was something I had never really paid attention to. I wonder when the RBN system will be available for RTTY and PSK.
  • VHF contesting tactics and tips
    Using a video from a big gun station in a major contest different situations were discussed and criticised
  • Contest radios
    This was a presentation by Eric ‘Elecraft’ WA6HHQ who mainly presented the differences and properties of the different high end contest radios. And, of course, his K3 is the best in the world. Of course the rig he sells is good but maybe his views are a little biased? The K3 looks tempting to me but I still have my doubts whether I should purchase it from QRP-projects in Germany or direct from Elecraft.
  • advanced rtty contesting
    here the discussion went especially about the way macros should be used and how the software and filters (transceiver and software) should be configured.

The end of the afternoon the two groups together got a presentation of the V31YN contest crew and their station and tactics.

This was a very well organised afternoon although most of the attendants thought maybe there should have been a little more time for each speaker to get even deeper into his subject. Congrats to DL6MHW and his crew!!!

I am not really proficient in the Gernan language but I got about 90% of what was said and the rest I got from the really excellent documentation provided!

Will it make me win more contests? Maybe not (the QSOs still have to be made) but at least it gave me a few more insights in the contest secrets and it was good for improving my understanding of the German language 🙂 (Learning a language is like learning CW: Practice, practice, practice!)
It was €20 well spent! Moreover for that price I got a T-shirt, the new Bavarian Contest Club ‘Handbuch für den Contester’, the CQ-DL contest special, a bottle of water and some gadgets.

Friedrichshafen 2011

Logo Ham RadioLast 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: Continue reading Friedrichshafen 2011

Back on the air soon?

logo ham radio FriedrichshafenLast weekend Jan ON4KB, Luc ON7KZ, Andy ON7TS and me went to the hamradio in Friedrichshafen (16th time in a row for me). The fair was a little disappointing, no real new things to see this time (apart from a 44m €28000 tower from Japan…). Moreover it seems there will soon only be a couple of companies left in Germany to sell hamradio gear.
The most positive thing is however that this time (for the first time in many years) we received a warm welcome at the UBA booth. Could it be this depends on the people being at the booth at the moment we arrived?

Next year the fair will be from june 23 till 26. Probably we’ll be there again.

The most important thing is however that, still not being on the air from my own shack (or from the car I bought last year), the virus hit me again during the trip. I’ll try to get my antenna’s up on the tower (HF) and probably the mobile rig in the car (VHF/UHF) in a few weeks!

I’ll keep you posted!

It’s over again…

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.


  • ham radio FriedrichshafenIf you haven’t made any arrangements to go to The Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen yet, the time is coming! Dates this year are June 22 to 24!
    This year I’ll be there again for the fourteenth (yes 14) year in a row! This year we will be travelling with Jan ON4KB, Tim ON5HC, Erno ON6RK and Luc ON7KZ.
  • Messed a little with the FAQ and the disclaimer pages