Archive - July 2024

Ham Radio, Friedrichshafen – The Weekend

Friday morning came and after having breakfast we ordered a local taxi to take us to the Messe for the show, Ady (G6AD), Charles (M0OXO), Grant (VK5GR) and myself arrived with plenty of time to get to the stand and get set up. Unfortunately, Grant had to wait for the doors opening to the show before he could gain access, while the three of us were part of the IOTA stand we had exhibitor passes and went to the stand to complete the set up. Thanks at this point must go to Corrine from the team at the Messe for getting 2 of her guys to move the wall so we were not cut off from the main DX Plaza. This also gave us a good view of the small presentation area we had next to the stand, of which more later.

The doors opened, and a steady stream of visitors came to see us, mostly friends from previous visits along with many of our friends from off the air. This is the best part about the show, socialising and chatting with the person you have only before heard on the air or not seen since the last Ham Radio show here. It is also good to see the operators who you only see in photographs about the DXpeditions and IOTA activations that are on the air for short periods. It is also good to see the number of British visitors to the show, and I think this year there were a lot more visitors from far flung places – Australia, USA, Japan, etc – walking around and saying hello as they passed.

As previously mentioned, we had a small presentation area next to the stand where some of the recent DX-pedition operators came and gave a talk on their adventures. This started with Philip, DK6SP, giving a presentation of the 8R7X Guyana trip. This was one of the best DX-peditions I have ever heard or worked. 4 young lads, all with experience from other trips, all good at CW and controlling the pile ups, and they were on the air and readable by everyone. It was just a pleasure to hear them when they were there.

As the day passed, we each went for a walk around the halls to see what the latest equipment was on sale, meet old friends, pay our memberships to some of the DX groups and societies, and check out the food stalls. A beer late afternoon in the garden gave me chance to catch up with Rune, LA7THA, and Gjermund, LB5GI. No news on any DXpeditions from him, but it was good to chat and hear the news from Norway.

Looking at the equipment I was taken by the small footprint of the Optibeam OB9-5 antenna that they had on display, Optibeam Yagis were there promoting their antennas. The OB9-5 Covers the bands 20, 17,15, 12, and 10M with 2 elements on each band, and a boom length of only 5.1M, this would fit into many of the small gardens here in the UK and would certainly improve the signals to work DX for many. I guess this antenna with an amplifier could get some of us little pistols competing in the Dxpedition pile ups.

Soon it was time to close the IOTA stand and head back to the hotel to change ready for the evening meal. With it being the 60th Anniversary of the IOTA Award, started back in 1964 by Geoff Watts – A British shortwave listener – and going from strength to strength each year, we held a dinner at the Zeppelin Museum Restaurant. This was the first time that the restaurant had opened in the evening, and we felt extremely honoured and grateful to the staff for hosting us. A fun evening again with old and new friends chatting about the IOTA awards, and other radio related matters. A most enjoyable evening and the food was excellent.

A walk back to the hotel and a beer sat outside to finish the day was just what was needed.

Saturday morning and again breakfast with a taxi to the Messe for day 2 of the show. The weather was looking as if it was going to be a scorcher in the hall, especially as the previous day the air conditioning had failed, and it was like being in a sauna. But the staff had been working on it and it was lovely and cool in there, which lasted throughout the day.

Again, a steady stream of visitors to the stand brought old and new friends, along with one or two interesting characters who needed to vent a little about the award – especially the gent from Manhattan who didn’t agree that it didn’t have an IOTA reference as it “is an island”, we then had to explain the ruling on why it didn’t qualify. It was good to meet him though and we did have a good chat and some laughs with him afterwards.

More wine, cheese, beers, and the French Pastis were brought to us from our friends around the DX Plaza at lunchtime. Along with the presentations and visitors we had another good day. I also managed to go and visit the “flea” market and drool over some old bits of kit that were on sale, and I do keep saying one day I may drive over and bring something back with me. Just not yet as I enjoy the travelling and socialising parts too much.

The day ended and we retired back to the hotel. A beer sat with friends before a small group of us went for the annual steak at Tiffany’s restaurant. A treat to ourselves, they really do some of the best steaks I have ever tasted. Back to the bar and watch the football, Germany played Denmark and won. At midnight the streets were full of people in cars blowing their horns and celebrating the German win. The roads were gridlocked but it was a happy atmosphere, though not good for sleep.

Sunday is the last day of the show, although not many visitors attend, mostly the weekenders who come and say their goodbyes and start the ravel to their homes around the globe. Our weekend companion Grant, VK5GR, said his farewells at breakfast and he started his 39 hour journey back to Adelaide with a train to Stuttgart. We packed away the stand and said our goodbyes to all around the DX Plaza before getting a taxi to the ferry.

This journey is the worst part about the trip, well not the actual travelling as like on the inbound trip it is relaxing and chilled. It is just the wait at the airport for the aircraft that is the bad bit.

On the ferry a coffee was bought, and a slice of cake enjoyed, is there a pattern here? hahahaha. But this year rather than go and sit on the platform waiting for the train to depart we decided to have a treat at the café on the Romanshorn marina, a beautiful little place with plenty of outdoor seating – even though it was raining. The train was still at the station when we finished and paid so no waiting there either.

Arriving in Zurich it was time to sit in the “Circle” and have our main meal. McDonalds and KFC were the choices of the four of us, Jaimie, M0SDV, had joined us for this trip back to the airport. It is strange no matter where you go there is always somewhere to sit, have a drink or food, and watch the world go by. I think it must be a worldwide hobby – people watching.

Over the road to the airport, find the check in desk and wait for it to open. This is the bad part about the journey, waiting. Eventually we check in and go through security and passport control to get the duty-free stuff. Years ago it would have been beer and wine, now I look for the giant orange flavoured Toblerone and huge Milka chocolate bars that end up coming home with me. A walk through the departures to another little favourite restaurant in the airport and we sit and chat over a lemonade before Jaimie had to leave us for his flight. The departure board was showing may of the flights were delayed by the weather, not just at Zurich but all over Europe. Ours was 1 hour late by the time we departed.

Arriving back at Heathrow we grabbed our bags, cleared customs and headed to collect the car. A long day and one we were all happy to see end in the hotel and a comfy bed.

Following a good nights sleep we had breakfast and set off home. My thanks must go once again to Charles and Ady for their wonderful company, the laughs, and the beers. To all the staff at the Hotel City Krone in Friedrichshafen, all at the Messe, and to DARC for organising the show. If I have missed any one out I am sorry and I will include you next year.

Did I say next year? Yes we are already booked in to the hotel(s), just need the flights to open up for sale. Again we are going that day earlier so we can enjoy Friedrichshafen and explore some more. So see you all at Ham Radio 2025.

ARRL LOTW Update.

July 1, 2024

MEMBER BULLETIN July 1, 2024 Dear ARRL member, Effective 12:00pm ET / 16:00 UTC we will be returning Logbook of The World® (LoTW®) to service. As work progressed on the network, some users encountered LoTW opening briefly during which some 6600 logs were uploaded. The logs were not processed until this weekend as we tested that the interfaces to LoTW were functioning properly. We are taking steps to help manage what will likely be a huge influx of logs. We are requesting that if you have large uploads, perhaps from contests or from a DXpedition, please wait a week or two before uploading to give LoTW a chance to catch up. We have also implemented a process to reject logs with excessive duplicates. Please do not upload your entire log to “ensure” your contacts are in LoTW as they will be rejected. Lastly, please do not call ARRL Headquarters to report issues you are having with LoTW. You can contact support at LoTW-help@arrl.org. Through the end of the year, you may experience planned times when LoTW will be unavailable. We have been using this time to evaluate operational and infrastructure improvements we would like to make to LoTW. Those times will be announced. We appreciate your patience as we worked through the challenges keeping LoTW from returning to service. We know the importance of LoTW to our members, and to the tens of thousands of LoTW users who are not ARRL members. LoTW, just behind QST, is our second most popular ARRL benefit.