This was my first visit to Friedrichshafen so could be considered a beginners guide ! Friedrichshafen is located on the southern side of Germany, the local airport is Friedrichshafen. While the town has a local airport it only has limited flights from the UK so this wasn’t the route I opted for.
My route flew from Gatwick to Zurich, I then took the train to Romanshorn and then the ferry to Friedrichshafen. This route allows you to see some of the local area before you arrive, the train and ferry combined costs around £27 each way. The train takes around 1Hr, and the ferry around 45 minutes, providing you with a great opportunity to take some pictures on Lake Constance.
An alternative route is to take the train from Zurich to Friedrichshafen, this take around 2 hrs and costs around the same at £25.
The ferry and train seem to be coordinated, so the ferry leaves shortly after the train arrives (and vica versa) . Its only a short walk through the underpass to access the ferry, and the boat delivers you right into the centre of Friedrichshafen, be sure to check out the viewing platform close to the harbor entrance during your visit.
The train can be booked online, using the SBB website and the ferry here. Its possible to purchase combined tickets, and the train leaves Zurich airport every 60 minutes.
The main event is of course the rally, spread over 3 days and comprising of over 4 main halls. The halls are split into 3 main areas, projects and construction area, flea market and commercial exhibitors. The rally website contains all the information needed to plan your visit.
The rally entrance tickets are cheaper online, so ordering in advance will save you money and time. You can order you tickets by visiting the rally website, a 3 day pass is around £15. Parking is provided on site, cost is around 4 EU per vehicle. The rally can be accessed by using the free shuttle bus, details are published on the rally website and the bus usually collects from the harbour and main station.
The rally has an extensive collection of previously owned equipment (and some junk) with objects as diverse as a £4k HP spectrum analyser to electronic scales used to weigh fruit in your local supermarket.
The rally provides a great opportunity to meet radio friends from all over the world, with ample time for eating and drinking. Most of the radio societies and DX groups have stands in the main hall, and it was nice to see the RSGB working hard on their stall. We even shared (metaphorically) lunch with Steve M1ACB the RSGB General Manager and President Nick G3RWF.
With this number of halls and exhibitors it really does take days to take everything in and explore the various stalls and new products.
One to definitely add to your bucket list, and by far the largest rally in Europe. Thanks to George M1GEO for vehicular transportation, Chris G8OCV, Dave G7UVW and Peter G0IAP for showing me the ropes and Lin (George mum) for booking my travel and flights !