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Creative minds meet communicative amateur radio fans in Friedrichshafen

24.06.2016 | 

“Amateur radio – On land, on water and in the air” is the motto of this year’s Ham Radio. Through Sunday, June 26th, Europe’s leading amateur radio exhibition is drawing amateur radio enthusiasts from around the world to Friedrichshafen, where they meet once a year. 198 exhibitors are presenting their innovations at the show. “Many international associations are also enriching the exhibition. Exhibitors come from 36 countries – in addition to Europe, many exhibitors from the USA, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia and India are represented here,” reports Petra Rathgeber, Messe Friedrichshafen project leader. At the Maker Faire, the parallel event that is taking place alongside the Ham Radio on Saturday and Sunday, 64 exhibitors that offer hobbyists and tinkers fresh inspiration will be on hand.


Steffen Schöppe, Chairman of the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC), explained this year’s motto: “The amateur radio operator sitting in his warm living room often has little idea of the challenges that the person on the other end is dealing with if they are out on the water or up in the air. Some activities on land also require a lot of time for preparation and administrative effort.” The show’s motto is intended to highlight this, as well show off the hobby’s multifaceted character: no matter where amateur radio operators are – whether it be in the air, on the water or in far-away places – they can always establish contact to other people.


One person who knows what Steffen Schöppe is talking about is Felix Riess. Riess, an electrical engineer and amateur radio operator, has already worked in the Antarctic for fourteen months – twice! In Antarctica, most communication takes place using short wave-based radio telephone service, because this method is most reliable. This includes, for example, logistics coordination with neighboring research stations, ships and aircraft. “But radio telephony is not the electronics technician’s main job,” Riess emphasizes. “The electronics specialist takes care of all of the local scientific data measurement systems, as well all of the transmission equipment. As an amateur radio operator, you bring along a lot of important practical experience to the job, as well as a lot of improvisational talent. That is very useful for this position, because the team is completely on their own for nine months during the Antarctic winter. It is impossible to get any replacement parts if a repair is needed.” Even during his free time, Felix Riess enjoyed pursuing his hobby: he was a highly sought-after radio contact for amateur radio operators from all over the world. After all, it is not very easy to establish contact with Antarctica.


The Maker Faire Bodensee is taking place for the third time in Friedrichshafen on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26, this year under a new name and with a new partner, Maker Media GmbH. “A total of 64 exhibitors representing various areas will be there, ranging from the creative arts to upcycling, ‘turning old into new’ and computer case modding and customization, on to cosplay and gaming,” explains project leader Petra Rathgeber. “Workshops that offer visitors limitless creativity will be offered and presentations and lectures will help to introduce people to new hobbies.” Philipp Stefan, Maker Faire Community Manager, gave us with an overview of the newest do-it-yourself trends: “In 3D printing, resin is becoming more and more important as a material. Making old hardware and devices fit for the future by adding mini-chip computers to them is also always hot.”


The Ham Radio takes place in Friedrichshafen through Sunday, June 26. The Maker Faire Bodensee will open its gates from Saturday, June 25 to Sunday, June 26. Day passes cost 9 Euros, or 8 Euros in advance. A three day pass is available for 20 Euros, or 18 Euros in advance. The passes grant access to both events.

Visitor information 2016