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Report from Thailand

45th International Amateur Radio Exhibition in Germany

Champ C. Muangamphun, E21EIC

The International Amateur Radio Exhibition in Germany is the largest Hamvention in Europe. Because of COVID-19, this annual event was inevitable cancelled in 2020 and 2021. The long-awaited reunion was finally scheduled to take place on 24-26th June 2022 for the 45th time in Friedrichshafen, Germany. This year, 129 member societies and commercial exhibitors as well as 256 flea market exhibitors from 27 countries joined the event. Over 10,000 participants from 52 countries around the World attended the fair under the slogan “Seeing Friends Again”.

Figure 1. (L-R) JC E2ØNKB, Bun E25KAE, and Champ E21EIC arriving at Frankfurt airport and heading towards the train station.

Figure 2. (L-R) Bun E25KAE, JC E2ØNKB, and Champ E21EIC with Uncle Franz DJ9ZB’s station in the background.

Our journey began on Tuesday 21st June 2022. There were 3 of us in total: Bun E25KAE, JC E2ØNKB, and myself Champ E21EIC. We took an 11½ hour flight on TG920 from Bangkok to Frankfurt arriving there on Wednesday morning at 06:40 local time. The outward journey of course felt a bit surreal and nostalgic as it was our first international flight after almost 3 years since the COVID-19 lockdown, and we all felt like our souls had been liberated once more.

Figure 3. Champ E21EIC with a picture of Uncle Franz DJ9ZB (SK).

Figure 4. Champ E21EIC at Uncle Franz DJ9ZB’s station.

Figure 5. Bun E25KAE finding her QSO in Uncle Franz DJ9ZB’s handwritten log.

Figure 6. (L-R) DJ9ZB’s XYL Aunt Marita giving Bun E25KAE signed copy of DX-World-Guide written by Uncle Franz DJ9ZB (SK).

After arriving, we caught the highspeed train ICE103 from Frankfurt Flughafen to Offenburg to fulfil one of our missions, and that was to pay our respect to Uncle Franz, DJ9ZB (SK). Aunt Marita, DJ9ZB’s XYL, accompanied us from Offenburg to his hometown Ettenheim, to a small close-knitted cemetery where Uncle Franz is laid to rest. His burial ground was a mere 5 minutes-drive from their QTH and was surrounded by fresh flowers and evergreen trees that provided some shades and gentle breeze. He would have liked it. Rest in peace Uncle Franz.

Figure 7. (L-R) JC E2ØNKB, Aunt Marita, Bun E25KAE and Champ E21EIC at Uncle Franz DJ9ZB’s burial site.

Figure 8. Champ E21EIC with fresh flowers for Uncle Franz DJ9ZB.

Figure 9. A heartfelt flower for Uncle Franz DJ9ZB from Yasu-san JR1AIB found on the day we were visiting.

From Ettenheim, we travelled on to Bodman-Ludwigshafen, a little town located on the western shore of Lake Überlingen, to meet Uncle Franz’s daughter Judith and her family; Alex, Lola, Maja and Josef. After a delicious barbecue dinner by Alex followed by Aunt Marita’s homemade mirabelle plum jam as a dessert, we excused ourselves for the night.

Figure 10. A panoramic view of Lake Überlingen taken from Bodman-Ludwigshafen Uferpromenade.

Figure 11. The triptych “Ludwigs Erbe” by the artist Peter Lenk in Bodman-Ludwigshafen.

Figure 12. A big signpost for Friedrichshafen HAM Fair 2022 as we were driving in.

On Thursday morning, we took a stroll in Bodman-Ludwigshafen Uferpromenade along the waterfront and visited “Yolonda”, a sculpture by Miriam Lenk which questions the current ideal of feminine beauty, and the triptych “Ludwigs Erbe”, a sculpted satirical artwork by Peter Lenk which features naked representatives of famous politicians and businessmen. Afterwards we took a 1-hour drive from Bodman-Ludwigshafen along the eastern shore of Lake Constance, also called Bodensee in Germany, to Friedrichshafen where we will spend our next 3 days and nights. We arrived at our rendezvous which was the camping ground opposite the exhibition hall, and were quickly greeted by our old friends Ralf Klingler DF6RK/HSØZET and his XYL Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, Stephan Büttner DG6DBV, Peter Clausdorff DH8BAT, Egbert Hertsen ON4CAS and his XYL Else ON3EBR, and Hans Timmerman PB2T and his XYL Margreet K2XYL. In the evening, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Restaurant Kommodore by the lakeside with the WRTC2022 Committee from Italy.

Figure 13. (L-R) Peter DH8BAT, Stephan DG6DBV, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, Else ON3EBR, JC E2ØNKB, Ralf DF6RK/HSØZET, and Bun E25KAE enjoying our breakfast at the camping ground.

Figure 14. Dinner with Adrian KO8SCA, Ash 3V8SS and the WRTC 2022 committee from Italy at Restaurant Kommodore on 23rd June 2022.

The 45th International Amateur Radio Exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany, was officially open on Friday 24th June 2022. The event was not as big as the previous years, utilizing only 2.5 Halls compared to 5-7 Halls in the past. In the main Exhibition Hall, a plethora of member societies from all over Europe joined the event as well as 3 societies from Asia: Qatar, Turkey and Isarael, ARRL from the US, and the IARU. From the commercial sectors, only ICOM was there as the major radio manufacturers. YAESU, Kenwood, WIMO and Difona Communication were all absent from the fair. The flea market section only occupied 1.5 halls this year, less than usual but to be expected given the circumstances about COVID. The atmosphere in the flea market was always buzzing no matter the time of day we visited. All sorts of goods were on sale including radios, antennas, cables, measuring instruments, morse keys, books, magazines, resistors, capacitors, vacuum tubes and so on.

Figure 15. General atmosphere at the 45th International Amateur Radio Exhibition in 2022 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in the Main Exhibition Hall and the flea market section.

At the ICOM booth hosted by ICOM (Europe) GmbH, the following transceivers were on display; IC-7610, IC-7300, IC-9700, and IC-705. The highlight of the event was the ICOM IC-PW2, a high performance 1kW linear amplifier with the following features:
・ 1kW output at full duty cycle, even for extended periods of time
・ Six antenna connectors allowing customers to use a variety of antennas for multiple bands
・ Connect to an ICOM radio and all settings are automatically completed
・ A LAN port for remote control operation from a PC
・ 2x6 antenna selector allows SO2R (single operator two radios) operation with only one
・ Super low-distortion output with superior IMD (Intermodulation Distortion)
・ Simultaneous and data output for both Main and Sub bands
・ Touch screen color TFT LCD enables intuitive setting changes

Figure 16. Bun E25KAE indicating which country our E2A team was from.

Figure 17. (L-R) Bun E25KAE, Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP the President of IARU Region 3, JC E2ØNKB, and Champ E21EIC in front of the QSL wall.

Figure 18. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, JC E2ØNKB, David NA2AA, and Bun E25KAE.

Figure 19. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, Dave K1ZZ, JC E2ØNKB, Joel W5ZN, Bun E25KAE, and Tim VE6SH.

We had a great time wondering around the fair on Friday and Saturday – and not forgetting to pick up some bratwurst and currywurst along the way. Although the fair was much smaller than usual, the feeling of being reunited with old friends again after 3 long years definitely made it up for it. We bumped into many world-class contesters, DXers, DXpeditioners, QSL managers and long-lost friends, and each time we were greeted with much warmth and happiness.

Figure 20. Champ hand-carrying 8,751 QSL cards from Thailand to the fair for various Member Societies including DARC from Germany, REF from France, and RSGB from the UK.

In additions to the booths organized by member societies, we also visited many stands belonging to various clubs and radio equipment manufacturers including 4O3A, LUSO, OBTIBEAM, OM Power, WRTC 2022, YOTA, GDXF, BCC, RRDXA, MDXC, CDXC, DL-QRP-AG, AMSAT-DL, SWISS AMSAT, AGCW-DL, HSC, and IOTA to name a few.

Figure 21. RRDXA Dinner at Bella Vista on Friday 24th June 2022.

On Friday evening we were invited to join the Rhein Ruhr DX Association (RRDXA) DX Dinner led by Helmut Mueller DF7EE at Bella Vista for a group of 40 people along the lake front. Afterwards, we climbed the 22-metre observation tower called Moleturm to get beautiful panoramas over Lake Constance into Switzerland and Austria.

Figure 22. The atmosphere at BCC Contest Dinner at the VfB Stadum on Saturday 25th June 2022, where Irina Stieber DL8DYL was presented with BCC Member of the Year 2022 Award.

On Saturday evening, we attended the Bavarian Contest Club (BCC) Contest Dinner at the VfB Stadium where over 200 people joined the event and Irina Stieber DL8DYL was presented with BCC Member of the Year 2022 Award.

During the fair, many presentations and events were also taking place alongside the Main Exhibition Hall and guests were invited to join any program of their choosing. Some examples included (1) WSPR and Bigdata enable Comparison of Antenna by Prof. Dr. Michael Hartje, DK5HH, (2) The Physical Technical Basics of Optical Communication in Free Space by Dieter Palme, DL7UDP, (3) VHF QSO Party and HF QSO Party by Jan-Henrik Schulz, DG8HJ, (4) IARU R1 International Youth Meeting by Philipp Springer, DK6SP, and (5) SWL Course and Test by Stefan Baelz, DG6SDY.

Figure 23. Presentations by three groups : JWØX/JW100Q, TX5N, and 3YØJ at DX Forum, hosted by GDXF.

For us, we were particularly interested in the DX Forum which was supported by German DX Foundation (GDXF). We were informed at the beginning of the program that, this year, GDXF has decided to forego the awarding of Best DXpedition of the Year 2021 Trophy in memory of DJ9ZB (SK) who was the President of GDXF.

Figure 24. Some of the friends we met at the 45th International Amateur Radio Exhibition in 2022 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

We were then excited to learn about all the operations behind (1) JWØX/JW100Q Svalbard DXpedition (IOTA EU-026) in April 2022 presented by Erik De Mey ON4ANN and Max Van Rymenant ON5UR, (2) TX5N DXpedition to Raivavae, Austral Islands (IOTA OC-114) also in April 2022 by Gene A Spinelli, K5GS, as well as all the preparations that are going on right now for (3) 3YØJ Bouvet Island DXpedition which is set to take place in January 2023 by Ken Opskar LA7GIA and Adrian Ciuperca KO8SCA. All those who attended the Bouvet presentation were even treated with some Bouvet Champagne – as if the actual presentation did not leave us in awe of their monumental effort already! Good luck friends!

Figure 25. A postcard to promote the 46th International Amateur Radio Exhibition in 2023 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and a Zeppelin flying over the fair.

After a final round of goodbyes on Sunday 26th June, we left Friedrichshafen at noon with Ralf DF6RK/HSØZET, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE and Dr Gert Hiltl DK5FJ/HSØZKF for Frankfurt. We spent the evening strolling around Oberems, hand-picking delicious cherries straight from the trees and enjoying ourselves in the countryside before returning to DF6RK’s QTH for homemade supper and retire ourselves for the night.

Figure 26. (L-R) Bun E25KAE, Champ E21EIC, JC E20NKB, and Torsten DL8TV at DL8TV’s QTH.

Figure 27. Bun E25KAE operating SSB from DL8TV station under the callsign DL/AD8FJ.

Figure 28. Champ E21EIC, JC E2ØNKB, and Bun E25KAE enjoying dinner with Torsten DL8TV’s friend and family during Mainzer Johannisnacht festival in Mainz.

On Monday 27th June, we spent the day in Frankfurt city centre before visiting Torsten Veith, DL8TV/HSØZLV station in the afternoon where E25KAE got to operate for 1-2 hours under DL/AD8FJ. Torsten then took us into Mainz which happened to be the last day of Mainzer Johannisnacht (St. John’s Night Festival) – the city’s biggest celebration of the year to commemorate Johannes Gutenburg, the inventor of moveable type printing. This ‘Volksfest’ in the heart of the Old Town, which combines wine festival and beer festival together along with a travelling fun fair, meant we were walking with a tide of festival goers, and both sides of the streets were lined with amusement rides, games of chances and skills which at one point involved sending fabric frogs flipping through the air in an attempt to land them into rotating holders, hordes of pizza trucks, ice-cream vans and food vendors, and at least two musical performance stages with heavy rock and pop music. The atmosphere was full joy and laughter. Nobody was wearing mask and everybody felt so care-free. It felt as if COVID-19 was a thing of the past and the city has managed to pull through with a great sigh of relief. It honestly felt great. The night ended with a big fire display which we unfortunately missed as we had an early flight to catch the following morning.

Figure 29. (L-R) Bun E25KAE, Dietmar DL3DXX, JC E2ØNKB, and Champ E21EIC as we present Siam DX Group flag to DFØSAX Club Station.

Figure 30. A view of some of the antennas at DFØSAX Club Station.

On Tuesday, the three of us were up by 04:30 as we had to catch the 09:10 LH206 flight from Frankfurt to Dresden. Dietmar Kasper DL3DXX/HSØZFV greeted us at the airport and we drove straight to DFØSAX/DA2X Club Station which served as our base for the next three days. After a tour of this amazing club station where even just the storage room put us all to shame, we headed straight back out to Moritzburg Castle and its extensive ‘hunting’ ground. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour within the Castle itself as the facility cleverly integrated the use of technology with historical details through their ‘HistoPad’, thus making the walk insightful and visually stimulating. From there, we took a 3km walk eastward passing the nature reserve Kutschgeteich Moritzburg to reach Moritzburger Leuchtturm, a historic in-land lighthouse with its idyllic landscape.

Figure 31. A view of Moritzburg Castle as we make our way around the lake.

Figure 32. In-land Moritzburger Leuchtturm or Lighthouse near Dresden (ILLW No.: DE0021, ARLHS WLOL FED-157).

This Lighthouse near Dresden (ILLW No.: DE0021, ARLHS WLOL FED-157) does actually get activated by ham operators from time-to-time so one needs not travel to the sea to activate a lighthouse! In the evening, we enjoyed a cosy dinner with Ralf Stieber DL9DRA, his XYL Irina DL8DYL, their son Robert DM7XX, and Dietmar DL3DXX at Waldmax beer garden amongst the greeneries. The three of us from HS-land opted for the ‘safe’ grilled steak and chicken as we did not dare try the “Hackepeter”, a local delicacy of raw minced pork and beef mixed with raw egg yolk – definitely not for the faint hearted. Afterwards, Bun DL/AD8FJ and Champ DL/KY1A made some CQ calls from DFØSAX superb station and managed to log a number of QSOs from NA, the UK, Max ON5UR, and 4 JA stations; Yoshi-san JA3PJL and Iwasa-san JH8SLS on SSB, and Masa-san JA6GGD and Toyo-san JH5PXJ on CW.

Figure 33. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, JC E2ØNKB, Robert DM7XX, Irina DL8DYL, Ralf DL9DRA, Dietmar DL3DXX, and Bun E25KAE at Waldmax beer garden near Dresden.

Figure 34. Bun E25KAE operating SSB from DFØSAX Club Station.

Figure 35. Champ E21EIC operating CW from DFØSAX Club Station alongside Dietmar DL3DXX (note the huge amplifier!).

After a fully rested night, we were treated with a delicious breakfast by Dietmar at the DFØSAX Club Station on Wednesday morning before heading out for a trekking adventure in the Elbe Valley. We spent an hour working our way up Lilienstein via a well-marked pathway and ladders, to find a splendid panoramic view of Saxon Switzerland and Czech Republic at the top. There was a café nearby to reward those who have hiked up but unfortunately it was closed on the day we were there. Lilienstein seemed like a great spot for SOTA.

Figure 36. Bun E25KAE, JC E2ØNKB, Champ E21EIC, and Dietmar DL3DXX spent the day trekking at Lilienstein and Bastei.

On Wednesday afternoon, we headed straight over to Bastei, a majestic-looking rock formation rising 194metres above the Elbe River in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. We visited Bastei’s historic bridge and took a circular walk away from the crowds, passing Felsenbühne Rathen on the way. The 2-hour descent and ascent were quite challenging and steep at times, but along the way we get to handpick wild blueberries until our fingers were a multitude of colours; and to be in company of such a great friend Dietmar, it was definitely all worth it by a long shot. For the evening, we enjoyed a barbeque with the DA2X gang back at the club station, and managed to get a few more air-time under DL/AD8FJ and DL/KY1A. The band openings were not as good compared to yesterday so we did not hear anybody from JA.

Figure 37. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, Dietmar DL3DXX, JC E2ØNKB, Bernd DL2DXA, Bun E25KAE, Dirk DL1DR, Irina DL8DYL, and Robert DM7XX at DFØSAX Club Station.

Figure 38. (L-R) Dietmar DL3DXX enjoying Beer Chang from Thailand with Sascha DL5JJ.

Figure 39. Sascha DL5JJ driving 5 hours from Stuttgart to meet us at DFØSAX Club Station and to help us find 22pF capacitors for our amplifier back in Thailand.

Figure 40. Direct QSL cards from DL/AD8FJ and DL/KY1A sent straight from Dresden following in Don Miller’s footsteps.

Our Thursday was spent roaming around Dresden city centre, visiting the famous tourists spot including the Zwinger from the Baroque period, Semperoper opera house, Statue of King Johann, Schlossplatz, Goldern Rider statue of King August II, and Fürstenzug with its procession of the rulers of Saxony. We of course did not fail to climb the Dome of Frauenkirche to see the unique view of Dresden and its surrounding area. Because the day was fairly hot, we gladly bumped into Camondas Schokoladenmuseum whose chocolate ice-cream square dusted with cocoa powder was so divine that we promised to go back there again one day. Overall, we had a fantastic time in Dresden and finally bid our farewell to Dietmar DL3DXX at the airport on Thursday afternoon.

Figure 41. A panoramic view of Dresden city centre.

Figure 42. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, Bun E25KAE, Dietmar DL3DXX, and JC E2ØNKB at the Dome of Frauenkirche.

Figure 43. (L-R) JC E2ØNKB, Bun E25KAE, Dietmar DL3DXX, and Champ E21EIC enjoying our lunch next to River Elbe.

On Friday, Bun DL/AD8FJ managed to work her first 6m contact on FT8 from DF6RK’s station in Oberems near Frankfurt as 6m was still prohibited in Thailand, and we later said our goodbyes to Ralf DF6RK and Benji DJ5BK who have kindly assisted us on this journey as well as being our host most of the trip. We travelled back to Bangkok on Friday 1st July on TG927 having completed our two main missions and that was to pay our respect to DJ9ZB (SK) and to attend HAM Radio Friedrichshafen 2022 under the slogan “Seeing Friends Again”. At the end of day, HAM radio is about making international friendship and this trip was the epitome of that.

Figure 44. Bun E25KAE working her first ever contacts on 6m under DL/AD8FJ.

Figure 45. (L-R) Benji DJ5BK, Bun E25KAE, and Ralf DF6RK with a signed copy of Funkamateur.

Lastly, I would like to thank our hosts for welcoming us with open arms; Uncle Franz DJ9ZB’s family (Aunt Marita, Alex and Judith including their children Lola, Maja and my friend Josef), Ralf DF6RK and Benji DJ5BK, Dr. Gerd DK5FJ, Torsten DL8TV, and Dietmar DL3DXX. We safely reached Bangkok on Saturday 2nd July 2022, and most surprising of all, still remained COVID-free! How we got away with that after meeting so many people, we will never know.

Figure 46. A final picture before we leave for the airport, Champ E21EIC, JC E2ØNKB, and Bun E25KAE at Ralf DF6RK’s QTH with his caravan and antennas in the background.

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