Everything went perfectly at the fairgrounds in Friedrichshafen. Fans of amateur radio from all over the world met at the Ham Radio, while the Maker Faire Bodensee was a playground for tinkers and hobbyists from the tri-country region. The expo double feature attracted a total of 17,230 visitors (17,080 the previous year). “The Ham Radio, with its high share of international visitors and exhibitors, lived up to its reputation as Europe’s leading exhibition for amateur radio enthusiasts. For the fourth time, the Maker Faire Bodensee offered creative makers, tinkers and hobbyists a fitting place for the scene to meet in southern Germany,” said Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann and project leader Petra Rathgeber.
During the three days, 198 companies and associations from 36 countries presented their services and products related to radio and telegraphy at the Ham Radio. The flea market area again proved to be a real treasure trove as well as place to meet and talk shop. “Together with the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC) as a partner, we have put together a diverse supporting program with high quality presentations and competitions for amateur radio enthusiasts.” With the Ham Rallye, the youth camp and the teacher training offerings, supporting the next generation has also taken on a more prominent role,” emphasized Petra Rathgeber. Steffen Schöppe, Chairman of the DARC e.V., was also satisfied: “The mood at the Ham Radio 2016 was very good. We really brought the motto ‘Amateur radio - On land, on water and in the air’ to life, the lecture program was booked solid and seems to have been very well received. In interviews, a large number of exhibitors reported that the show had been a success for them. “We exhibited at the Ham Radio for the first time and are very satisfied. The show exceeded our expectations. The visitors were so interested in our new products that we even ran out of product brochures,” reported Øivind Gundersen, Managing Director of Norway’s Eidlon. Paul Bigwood, Technical Sales Manager UK, Yaesu, explained that: “Friedrichshafen is like Europe’s Dayton for us: The Ham Radio is extremely international. Everyone here comes from all over the world – we even had visitors from Australia at our stand. The show has an excellent reputation; it is very important for us to be here.”
Whether it be a solar powered catamaran from a 3D printer, bags from old army blankets or controlling a smart home using minecraft, a maker is someone who makes the world as he wants it to be. In Friedrichshafen 64 exhibitors presented new concepts and showed how familiar objects could be redesigned using new ideas and unconventional materials. Many workshops and lectures encouraged visitors take a shot at being makers themselves. “The special thing about it is the very wide variety that is represented at the event. Exhibitors and groups share their ideas, visions take shape and become more concrete,” explains Petra Rathgeber. Maker Media GmbH, a subsidiary of the Heise publishing company, is the partner of the event. Daniel Bachfeld, Editor-in-Chief of Make Magazine, which is produced in the publishing house, stressed that “It is wonderful that there were so many children here. The people who were here were exactly our clientele and we were even able to surprise the amateur radio fans with a few things. Among kids, interest was very strong in the Tesla coil that enabled you to feel the electric charge on your fingers - for adults the sand clock was a big hit. Overall, the event was exactly what we were hoping for. The sales team is also very satisfied with the sales figures.”
The expo double feature will also appear together again next year: In 2017, the international radio exhibition will take place from July 14 to 16. The Maker Faire Bodensee will generate new creative impulses from July 15 to 16.