For a report on Friedrichshafen 2015 - please refer to the ICQPodcast videos here

Friedrichshafen 2014 – June 27-29 2014.

Busy, long day on Friday – rose at 5 am drove down to Friedrichshafen and eventually got to bed at midnight!

Attended Ham Radio Friday morning toured the halls and spent too much money (but got most of the items on my wanted list), Dissapointed with an uneccessary long wait at WIMO (Germany’s largest AR retailer) 45 mins to pick up a pre-ordered antenna. Their “new process” of pre-order and collect or order at the show for later delivery had some computer “issues” and no back-up system was in place.

Attended the SOTA meet-up at noon, followed by a lecture on SOTA between 2 and 3, then left with some others and “activated” a summit in Austria (OE/VB-512 – see report elsewhere on this website). After the activation the 5 SOTA activators went out for a meal at a restaurant overlooking Lake Constance from above the Austrian town of Bregenze.

Saturday was a little less hectic, with a more detailed look at the 2 hanger sized halls of flea market stands and the hall allocated to the national Makers Faire event. Nothing found or bought in any of these three halls but upon returning to the main hall, I bought the last thing on my shopping list – an HF antenna for the car. I then watched the annual high altitude baloon launch and bumped into the TXFactor guys and said hello. After lunch attended another SOTA lecture and then went out and activated another SOTA summit (DM/BW-349 – report elsewhere on this website), finishing just as the rain started. Met up with a couple of CCARC club members from Australia in the evening for a meal and then got back to the hotel at a reasonable time.

As the heavy, continous storms that were forecast for Sunday turned up on schedule, I decided (as I had got everything I needed from the HAM Radio show), that I’d head home (not activating a SOTA summit en-route that I had planned as at the time it was receiving 15 litres of rain per square metre!). Arrived home at about 10:30 am local time.

Expected attendance this year was around 14,000 people per day for the three day event. In comparison Dayton gets around 20,000.

Here is a small slide show of pictures from Friedrichshafen 2014:


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Report on Friedrichshafen 2013 – Ham Radio Convention June 28-30 2013.


As part of my European trip, I planned in a trip to the three day event, sometimes called “Hamtronics” as it is a combined Amateur Radio and electronics hobby event. This Ham Radio event takes place in the very south of Germany on the shores of Lake Constance which forms part of Germany’s border with Switzerland and Austria.

The small town of Friedrichshafen is a beautiful, well kept town that is used to tourists in summer and holds several conventions during the year. It is most famous as the birthplace of the great Zeppelin airships which made the first long distance air flights possible from Europe to the Americas, Africa and Asia.

The HAM Radio convention takes over the towns convention centre for its three days and all hotels are filled well in advance with over 15,000 radio amateurs from around the world attending this year, many people had to board outside the town, with some even coming on the ferry from Switzerland each day to the event.

The convention centre consists of three enormous halls which are large enough to house the old airships in them. One of these halls was filled with commercial suppliers and radio associations, while the other two were dedicated to the flea market type stalls (components, second hand equipment etc.). There was very little trader space free in any of the halls however the layout was such that there was always enough room to walk around. As well as the halls, a complete upper floor of the building joining the halls was given over to housing lectures on all subjects related to Amateur radio which ran for all three days. About a third of these lectures were given in English while two thirds were in German.

I attended the convention on Friday and Saturday. Saturday saw a balloon launch carrying amateur radio equipment from outside the halls in quite windy weather with some showers. Generally the weather was variable but at the worst we only had showers and there was sunshine as well.

On the Sunday I went on a cruise on Lake Constance (after all Amateur Radio isn’t everything and it would have been a shame not to visit some of the beautiful towns and islands nearby).

All in all I was very impressed with the organisation of the event and really enjoyed my visit. Buying a few small items but resisting the urge to buy things that I would have difficulty getting home! I also had the opportunity to interview some people at the event for my periodic report for the fortnightly icqpodcast Amateur Radio Internet broadcast. Please visit and listen to series 6 episode 14 to hear my 4 interviews which were:

  1. An interview with Graham Somerville from BHI Ltd with comments on the trader attendance at the event and launching a new desktop base station noise cancellation speaker system with line level input for use with SDRs.
  2. An interview with Tim Ellam, VE6SH, president of the IARU about what the IARU is currently doing and how we as Radio Amateurs can support their work.
  3. An interview with  Bill Main, VK4ZD President of Rotarians in Amateur Radio (ROAR) and his wife Diane VK4KYL covering the success they had in the preceding week at the International Rotary Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, What ROAR does and a little about the fact that the next global Rotarians conference will be in Sydney in 2014 with ROAR represented again.
  4. An interview with Andy MM0FMF from the SOTA management team about the current status of SOTA (Summits on the Air).

To get the “flavour” of the event here are some photos from the event and the area but if you get the chance to go to Friedrichafen’s HAM RADIO event in 2014 take it! You will not be disappointed!

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