PREMIER VHF/UHF/SHF EVENT
G3PYB and G8ACE make the pilgrimage
“Where to this year?” was the question on my mind
all through the summer. Having been to Microwave Update
in the USA twice in two successive years, as well as to
countless UK Microwave Round Table meetings at Martlesham,
GCHQ, R.A.L and the like, thoughts turned to Germany.
Originally Peter, G3PYB, and myself (G3PHO), had planned
to attend Update 2002 in New England but that had to be
put on the “backburner” as our respective XYLs were not
too keen to go and we had wanted to make a real holiday
over there rather than just a few days with the microwavers.
Sam, G4DDK, had often spoken in glowing terms of the VHF/UHF/SHF
Convention at Weinheim in the Rhine area of Germany. Apparently
this annual event has a strong microwave component. So,
that was it ... a few days (four to be precise)
of pure amateur radio with no whinging wives (please don’t
tell Sandy and Judy I’ve said this!!) to complain about
there being nothing for them to do. In any case we left
them at home!
Organising the trip was a breeze.
With friends like Dave, DL4MUP (aka G4HUP), to book us
a hotel and provide maps of the local area and Jonathan,
HB9DRD (aka G4KLX), to give hints on what to look for
and where to go at the event, we couldn’t go wrong.
Two’s company and three is even better company when it’s
John, G8ACE! He decided to come as well so we all left
G3PYB’s Portsmouth home at 6am on Thursday, 5th September
and drove to Weinheim via the Channel Tunnel and a series
of excellent motorways from Calais to Brussels and eventually
Weinheim. The contrast in driving techniques and road
conditions between England and the Continent was very
marked to say the least. With many stretches of
German autobahns having no limit at all we found ourselves
cruising along at speeds between 90 and 100mph (sometimes
over that) while BMWs and Mercedes passed us well in excess
of that. It all appeared to be much safer than our crowded
seven hours on the Continental roads we
arrived in Weinheim at 7pm local time, checked out the location
of the radio event and then signed in at the Schmittbergerhof
hotel, an excellent family-run place on the SE outskirts
of the town. Three days, with breakfast and evening dinner
on the first night, came to just £80 each … can’t
| After a good night’s
sleep, we spent much of Friday sightseeing in nearby Heidelberg
and being treated to a guided tour by Bertold Stadler,
a German friend of G3PHO. He kindly invited us to a strawberry
flan and cream tea at his home afterwards. There we met
his wife Roswitha who, along with Bertold had visited
G3PHO in Sheffield some years earlier.
though not a radio amateur, has considerable interest
in UHF and microwave RF. Formerly at the Planke Institute
and the University of Heidelberg, he now spends much of
his retirement at home investigating the effects of UHF
RF on body tissue. This photo shows his homemade,
high-Q cavity, with a bandwidth of just 20kHz, through
which he passes 600 watts of RF in the 400MHz part of
the spectrum. The insertion of any item into the cavity
(eg where the plastic bottle is!) detunes it and he measures
this change. He has a fine array of test and measuring
That evening we made our
way to the local radio club room and barbeque.
Club room is an understatement! It’s located seemingly
miles from the road, in the middle of a vast expanse
of flat fields.
| Next to it are two or three towers,
bristling with antennas covering 80 metres up to 10GHz or
so, as well as a large field where hundreds of visiting
amateurs were to camp for the weekend. On arriving we couldn’t
miss a group of Dutch microwavers who were camping right
next to the barbeque and beer area! This group included
PA5DD, PA3AGS and PE1BTV, familiar to many of you who have
been to Martlesham in recent years. Their sense of humour
shone through both barbeque evenings at the club house.
They were a great bunch to be with and we swapped much valuable
microwave information in the process.
||Hans, PA3AGS, Ron,
K5LLL and Ruud, PE1BTV, enjoy a chat and a beer.
Ron lives in Texas and has a son NN5DX and XYL K5KAT
G3PYB (left)talks millimetre waves with a couple of Dutch
amateurs. The discussions went on for a while, as indicated
by the empty bottles!
||Next day, Saturday,
we were up early to get to the famous radio fleamarket!
This part of the convention was reputed to be a little
down on previous years but we were very impressed none
the less. There was an official fleamarket located in
the lower yard of the school housing the convention and
much interesting stuff was to be seen there, albeit at
rather high (like UK) prices
However, a short walk away was
a really big, unofficial “flohemark” in a large public
carpark. Here were rows and rows of cars and tables,
all bristling with radio surplus (and surprisingly very
little computer stuff). There was quite a lot of microwave
surplus and test gear. However, with the three of us
being a little “long in the tooth” microwave-wise, we
did not buy much apart from the odd box and surplus
left to right: John, G8ACE, Peter, G3PYB, Sam,
Dave, DL4MUP (G4HUP)
at the main event we registered for the two days,
Saturday and Sunday, and proceeded into the official sales
area. The first floor of the school was crowded with dealers
selling the latest in VHF to microwave technology. They
were all there… Kuhne Electronik (DB6NT), shown on the left
in this photo, Eisch-Kafka, UKW Berichte, Giga-Tech and
so on, along with dozens of smaller dealers we had not heard
of before. The highlight for me was to see the 5 watt
24GHz amplifier on DB6NT’s stand. Michael said I could
not have afforded it even if it were for sale (which it
wasn’t)! Nevertheless I did spend some Euros there, purchasing
a 3.4GHz transverter to drive my recently acquired surplus
14W amplifier. On the same day we met up with Sam, G4DDK,
who was on a family holiday in Bavaria.
| An excellent series
of talks was scheduled for all of Saturday
and up to 3pm Sunday. The three lecture streams
covered many topics including sub-millimetre radio astronomy,
47GHz amplifier techniques, VHF antennas, new microwave
antennas, a software-based TX/RX sequencer, and amateur
laser transmissions. The problem was that almost all of
them were in German and we three UK amateurs could not
cope with that!
Sunday saw more talks and the trade
stands but the fleamarket had shrunk somewhat as many
folk had gone home. However John and Peter just couldn't
resist these blue cases at bargain prices.
was still brisk trading taking place!
We had one last look around before leaving just
before 1pm, to drop off Jonathan, HB9DRD(G4KLX) at Weinheim
rail station, before our long drive back to the UK.
in Portsmouth around midnight, we didn’t feel like staying
up long! The drive up to Sheffield on Monday afternoon
was a nightmare! The heavens opened and torrential rain
made the usual four hour journey into one of five and
a half! Back in Germany we had been roasted in hot
29 degree C temperatures and sunshine!
Our thanks to all in Weinheim who organised
such a great event!
We will be back!