TopBand: Friedrichshafen 1998
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 06:30:44 EDT

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Bill Tippett asked me to write up a few words for the reflector about Ham
Radio 1998 which I attended in late June.  So here it is; I hope you enjoy
reading about it and that you get a chance to attend at some point in the

73 Jeff

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Zulu Musings=0D=0DAs this is being written, I am fondly remembering my re=
cent trip to Ham Radio1998, which is held annually in Friedrichshafen, Ge=
rmany at the end of June.   I have always wanted to check out this Europe=
an hamfest and I must say it was worth the trip.  While not quite as larg=
e as Dayton, I think it is still Europe's largest and it was great fun me=
eting and chatting with many of the boys we usually work in the major Dx =
contests and also on Topband. =0D=0DMy wife, daughter and I arrived on We=
dnesday after a drive up from Zurich and enjoyed a pleasant meal overlook=
ing Lake Konstanz with our hosts Peter, DJ8WL and Hardy Buettig, DL1VDL. =
 Peter is Germany's top 160M DX'er and Hardy is involved with the DARC HF=
 referat and was responsible for getting me a chance to speak at the conv=
ention on Saturday afternoon.=0D=0DOn Thursday the hamfest opened officia=
lly and it was interesting listening to Peter's speech on his one-year lo=
ng experimentation with Dx'ing on 137Khz.  So far, Peter has been heard i=
n much of Europe with reception reports as far away as Southern England. =
 Not bad when you understand that a wavelength on 137Khz is over 2 miles =
long and that Peter is transmitting with a negative 18DBi gain antenna!  =
(Actually, Peter's low speed CW signal was SEEN not heard in England and =
was plotted visually on paper as the output of sophisticated DSP acquisit=
ion.)=0D=0DA few words are in order about the F'haven fleamarket.  First =
of all, it is indoors!  Secondly, I noticed TONS of East European militar=
y gear - much of it which I couldn't even begin to recognize - but the fl=
eas were out in force scarfing this stuff up in order to get on the air!=
=0D=0DI hooked up early-on with Walter, DJ6QT, who hosts with the Rhein-R=
uhr Dx & the Bavarian Contest Club two DX/contest dinners - just East of =
F'haven on Thursday and Friday nights.  This was a real blast and I enjoy=
ed meeting with DK6WL, DL3DXX, G3ZEM, G3KMA, G3SXW, HA0DU, OE2VEL, S56A, =
S57NW, DJ4PT, DJ2YA, DK7YY, DL3KDV, TA2BK, YB1AQS, 9H1EL and many, many o=
thers.  K5FUV and K1ZZ also attended and we together with our hosts enjoy=
ed a fine evening of good food, plenty of German beer and chat sessions t=
hat lasted well into the AM.  =0D=0DAn interesting distinction between th=
e typical Dayton suites and the two Ailingen sessions, however, is that h=
ere in the USA we mingle and move around from group to group throughout t=
he course of an evening.  In=0D=0D                                       =
           =0D=0D DL, most guys just stayed put seated in the same spots =
for not only dinner but also thereafter for most of the night.  So, if yo=
u wanted to talk with someone you had to make a real effort by going over=
 to a specific table, introducing yourself and then trying to join the co=
nversation - standing up!  I think I like our format better as it is more=
 conducive to getting to know people.=0D=0DThere were some good forums al=
though, as expected, these were conducted in German.  One exception was t=
he 9M0C presentation which was in English and it was packed - so much so =
that they closed and locked the hall doors shortly after it had begun.   =
I was late and missed it arriving about 10 minutes after it had commenced=
.=0D=0DF'haven bears another distinction which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Thi=
s convention is organized such that an entire hall is dedicated to displa=
y booths representing the various IARU member societies throughout Europe=
.  For example, one could roam about and meet amateurs from all over Euro=
pe, the Middle East and North Africa - at dedicated booths representing e=
ach country.  I especially enjoyed several including the Moroccan booth, =
 the Romanian booth (where I was treated to some homebrew schnaps that ri=
vals the best sourmash made in the mountains of Tennessee) and even the I=
raqi booth where there were some folks who spoke excellent English.  At t=
he Slovenian booth, of course, all the talk centered on WRTC 2000 and it =
was nice seeing Mario S56A (ex YU1PCF/YU1EA and a former YCCC member) aga=
in.  This was the first time the Eastern European countries were invited =
to the convention formally and I suspect they will be back.  By the way, =
this hall was air-conditioned making it a pleasure during the heat of the=
 day!=0D=0DSoon it was Saturday afternoon and time for my talk about 160M=
.  This went off pretty well and was delivered in German with a few Engli=
sh words thrown in now and then - (technical vocabulary is the first to g=
o after 29 years out of the country!)  There was a good group of 160M Dx'=
ers and contesters in attendance including W7SE whom I had never before m=
et.=0D=0DIt was all too soon over ending around 5PM Saturday afternoon.  =
After a final goodbye dinner with DJ8WL and DL1VDL, Miriam and I spent tw=
o days touring HB9 and HB0 (which is nothing but one BIG mountain!)=0D=0D=
=0D=0D=0DWe also visited two castles in nearby Fuessen (which is a deligh=
tful little town on a lake just North of the Austrian border.)=0D=0DAll i=
n all, this is a lovely part of Europe and the weather at the end of June=
 is usually pretty fair.  We had only one day of rain - the rest of the t=
ime was around 80F.  Should you be looking to plan a family vacation with=
 a little ham radio thrown in on the side, I would recommend this one hig=
hly to you.=0D=0D73 Jeff/K1ZM=0D=0D  =0D=0D =0D=0D=0D=0D=0D=0D=0D=0D=0D


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