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Amateur radio operators are rocking with robots

14.07.2017 | 

They are coming from all across Europe, the USA, Japan, Qatar, China, Kuwait, India and for the first time, Djibouti - a small republic in east Africa. We are talking of course about the 196 exhibitors who will be presenting their innovations and services at the international amateur radio exhibition in Friedrichshafen. Exhibitors at the Ham Radio 2017 from a total of 33 countries will come to Lake Constance - and visitors to the show will be just as international. "Die Welt zu Gast in Deutschland” - Germany welcomes the world - is the motto of this year’s edition of Europe’s leading amateur radio exhibition and among other things refers to the amateur radio operators world championship that will be held in Germany in the coming year. At the Maker Faire Bodensee, taking place alongside the Ham Radio, 100 exhibitors will present themselves and offer hobbyists and tinkerers new inspiration. "We have a 50 percent increase in exhibitor numbers. The fantasy area has grown especially dramatically,” reports Petra Rathgeber, project leader at Messe Friedrichshafen.

Steffen Schöppe, Chairman of the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC) explains the motto of this year’s event: "Two large events are looming on the horizon: For only the second time in over 60 years, the international IARU conference will be held in Germany. The European and African amateur radio associations meet at the conference to coordinate their work. In addition, for the first time, Germany is hosting the World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC).” Two people who are especially looking forward to the Radiosport Team Championships are Michael Höding, vice-president of the organizing committee and participant Manfred Wolf. "The unique thing about the WRTC is that 63 teams from all around the world come together at one place and participate under the same conditions, using the same equipment. Above all, good tactics are decisive in winning,” emphasized Höding. Wolf, an amateur radio operator from Wangen in the Allgäu, and his teammate were already able to take third place at the last championships in the US three years ago. He is in an excellent position to do at least as well in the upcoming competition. As Wolf explains, "we have a certain home field advantage against the visiting teams because we are familiar with propagation characteristics and DX openings. So, for example, we know when the best time window is to transmit to North America.”

Making things, tinkering and designing is at the forefront of the Maker Faire Bodensee, which takes place on Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16, in Friedrichshafen and is being organized with partner Maker Media GmbH. "The Maker Faire Bodensee offers fun and entertainment for the entire family. Fans of tinkering and engineering will be inspired by a large number of projects and the young generation will get their money’s worth in hands-on activities and at the bounce house,” says Rathgeber. No limits will be set on visitors’ creativity in the workshops. There are also plenty of contests: In the Modding Masters, creative computer modders put their skills to the test, the Young Maker Award will honor technical inventions and the Maker Challenge is about building a machine that can make an enjoyable drink.

The One Love Machine Band will provide a special kind of musical accompaniment this year. Made of old machine parts, the band, built by artist Kolja Kugler, consists of a bassist, drummer, the manager, a pair of birds and a remote-controlled trash can. When I was building it, I really put my heart into the form of the sculpture, I took a purely visual approach,” Kugler explains. The Berlin-based artist characterizes the musical direction of the songs, which he wrote himself, as "rock-experimental.” Four times a day, the band will take to the keyboard and pluck the strings on the open air stage. "You certainly do hear a melody, but the robot sculptures are like machines, they never sound exactly the same twice,” Kugler says.

The Ham Radio is open through Sunday, July 16, 2017. The Maker Faire Bodensee takes place from Saturday, July 15, to Sunday, July 16. Day passes cost 11 euros or 10 euros in advance, and a family pass is available for 23 euros. Passes give visitors access to both events. More information is available at www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de and www.makerfairebodensee.com