The Fifth Annual
Crypto-Conference, Sale and Forum.

The 2017 "HamRadio-2017" meet at Friedrichshafen Germany was the site of the fifth annual Crypto-Conference, Sale and Forum. (In 2018 the conference will be held on June 1.)

Report on the Fourth Annual (2016) Friedrichshafen Conference, Sale and Enigma Forum
Report on the First Annual (2013) Friedrichshafen Conference, Sale and Enigma Forum
Report on the 2011 Friedrichshafen Conference and Sale

In 2017 the meet was held from July 14-16, 2017 in the huge "Messe" (Convention Center) adjacent to the airport in Friedricshafen which is on the bank of the lovely Bodensee (Lake Constance). (In 2018 the meet will be held from June 1-3.)

This year we reserved 8 tables in the flea market for the display and sale of crypto-related apparatus, spy radios and other items. A huge "ENIGMA" banner flew over the tables so you could see them from across the large hall. There were two huge halls with about 1000 tables displaying equipment for sale so the big "ENIGMA" sign helped people locate our tables. A wide variety of exotic crypto gear, spy radios and other interesting items were on display and on offer. During the four days of the conference a great deal of Crypto gear and many spy radios and other items changed hands and both sellers and buyers came away very happy.

Many of the buyers were members of the Cryptocollectors Email reflector on Yahoo-Groups so they all knew exactly what they were buying and the appropriate values. Many of the sellers were also on the reflector but some spectacular items were also brought to the show by other sellers such as crypto-expert Professor Dr. Franz Pichler of the University of Linz, Austria who brought some very fine early telegraph instruments and some unusual crypto-related books.

In addition to the buying, selling and networking in the flea market, the Fifth Annual Enigma Forum was held on Friday afternoon at 1600. It was very well attended with a crowd of over 200 people who watched the lectures and the demonstrations and joined in on the discussions.

I hope that this report will encourage you to consider attending next year. I do not believe that there has ever been such a broad selection of fine and unusual crypto- gear for sale in one place along with such a gathering of crypto- experts and historians. In my opinion, this conference is a lot more fun than Ebay, the food is better, and you can bargain face-to-face with the sellers. Don't even think of coming without a shopping bag full of Euros or you will be kicking yourself about the things you wanted but could not buy because the sellers only accept Euros.

Below you will find some photographs of the items that were offered for sale as well as pictures of the sellers and buyers and the Forum.

Suspended signs and Enigma pictures made it easy to find our crypto-tables in one of the large flea market halls.

This a photo of one of the two halls enclosing the flea market. There were approximately 500 3-meter-long tables in each hall.

Over 20,000 people attend the meet each year. This warning sign kept people aware of the possibility of pickpockets.

This one of our two rows of 4 tables of crypto-related goodies.

This our other row of 4 tables of crypto-related goodies. Klaus Kopacz is explaining some of the features of his exact Enigma replica.

Klaus Kopacz was kept busy explaining and demonstrating all of the features of his exact Enigma Replica.
To the left of his replica you can see some battlefield relic Enigma parts.
To the right of his replica you can see his CD-57, his NEMA and his FIALKA and power supply all of which are in near-mint condition.

Klaus Kopacz had brought along an SG-41 that had been dug up from a battlefield and that was in very poor condition. He soon found a buyer for this rare machine despite the poor condition.

Here is another view of the SG-41 that Klaus sold.

There was always a crowd in front of our tables.
Here, Mark Simons and Paul Reuvers are explaining details of their popular Enigma-E kits. Paul Reuvers can be seen in the background showing their detailed English-language FIALKA technical manual.

Here is one of the spy radios on Paul and Marc's tables.

As they had in 2016, at the end of Paul and Marc's tables, several vintage teletype machines ran continuously. They were very popular with the crowds.

John Alexander displayed several absolutely mint cipher machines and patiently explained their operation to the crowd.

Ray Robinson, a Cryptocollector from Australia examines a stylus-operated Morse Code key used by clandestine radio operators.
Tom Perera (left) and Dan Perera (right) in front of their display. From left-to-right, an R-014 Russian Burst Encoder, a working 3-rotor Enigma, a FIALKA and two FIALKA power supplies.

Early on setup day several Russian Fialkas, power supplies and rotors were spotted and it triggered a feeding frenzy as cryptocollectors rushed over to buy them.

Two of the FIALKAS were in very bad condition having been 'demilitarized' with a sledge hammer applied liberally to the rotor area and keyboard. They had then been doused with gasoline and burned but they had been removed from the bottom of the pile with not too much heat damage.

Dan and Tom were lucky enough to be the first on the scene and were able to buy the one complete FIALKA along with a nice power supply. When they plugged it in, it worked in most modes but the keyboard was completely unresponsive.
One of the truly amazing people who attend the Friedrichshafen meet each year is nicknamed "Willie". He is a former FIALKA operator and repairman and amazingly he carries a complete FIALKA tool kit around with him as he walks through the flea market each day.
He saw Dan and Tom fumbling around with their newly purchased FIALKA and came over to offer his help. Look at that grin on his face as he begins to disassemble the super-complex FIALKA !

Willie knew exactly where the hidden screws were located that held the keyboard into the FIALKA.

Pretty soon, Willie had the keyboard assembly out of the FIALKA.

And soon after that, the keyboard was back in the FIALKA while a crowd of interested cryptocollectors and hams watched Willie at work.

A few minutes later Willie made the final adjustments and the FIALKA was working beautifully.

There is certainly no other place in the world where you can buy a FIALKA and have it tweaked to perfection by such an expert !

After Willie fixed the FIALKA we put it in the free running mode and the noise drew many people to watch the complex mechanism running and rotating the 10 rotors in different directions. Some, like this man made videos of the FIALKA in action.

FIALKAS and Fialka power supplies, parts and rotors are very hard to find because most are destroyed by the Russian military. It is quite surprising therefore to find a nearly unlimited supply of original FIALKA oil cans.

Here is a flea market dealer showing off the box of Fialka oil cans on his tables and allowing us to peek under his table to see that he has another huge box filled with them.

His story is rather amusing ! He bought the huge supply of oil cans as military surplus and began attaching labels to each can to advertise his automobile garage. He gave the oil cans to each of his customers as a Christmas gift. When he closed his garage he still had a huge number of these cans and he brings them to Friedrichshafen each year to sell them on his tables. He is also a major dealer in German WW-II radio equipment.

Here is a closer view of a FIALKA oil can as shown on the website run by Paul Reuvers and Marc Simons.

Some historic documents surfaced this year. Here is a rare and original Begleitbuch for Marine Enigma M4 serial number 7171.

The owner of the Begleitbuch was kind enough to allow me to take photographs of each page. This last page is dated 25 August, 1944 and it is signed by the Marineovercommand of the North Sea.

Here is a picture of an Enigma signed by Mavis Baty who is famous for her work at Bletchley Park during the war.

Here is a picture of an unusual disc cipher device that circulated as a show-and-try-to-identify-it... It was not offered for sale.

This vendor displayed three empty Enigma boxes, four empty 2-rotor boxes, a destroyed FIALKA, A spy radio, The SG-41 that he bought from Klaus and an Enigma that was in very rough condition. By the end of the meet he had sold many of these items despite quite high prices.

Here is his unusual rotor box that holds two Enigma rotors in a vertical position.

Here is a closer view of his rotor boxes, the SG-41 and the destroyed FIALKA.

Here is a view of his Enigma. All parts were heavily corroded and nothing would move freely. It was eventually sold to a member of the cryptocollectors group.

Here is a view of the inside of his Enigma.

John Alexander had heard that someone was going to bring a rare T-52 cipher machine and sure-enough it appeared on the left of the same dealer's tables.
It drew a lot of attention throughout the show.

The seller did not put a firm price on his T-52 and people made higher and higher offers as the show continued. I do not think that he sold it.

Several people in our group noticed that it was not a true T-52c as its tag indicated. Instead, it was a very unusual variant that was quite unlike a true T-52c. It had a switch that allowed it to Switch modes to emulate various T-52 variations.

Here is a close view of the mode switch on the strange T-52c.

Klaus had brought along a book showing the appearance of a T-52c. Here is the picture of a T-52c. It is clearly very different from the one being offered for sale which is shown in the next picture.

Here is the T-52c being offered at Friedrichshafen.

Here is the maker's tag on the T-52c being offered at Friedrichshafen.

The label clearly states that it is a T-52c.

As we were standing around discussing the T-52c, Klaus mentioned that he had a nice T-52d for sale. He brought out this picture and it was immediately and instantly bought by an American cryptocollector.
Now the problem became how to pack and ship a very expensive machine that weighs well over 200 pounds and requires 4 people to lift off the table. Hopefully it will arrive in America safely.

It arrived safely in America two days after it was picked up by FedEx in Germany.


Here is a German teletype machine surrounded by American and Russian military radios.

There were many old and interesting telegraph keys for sale.

These are mostly Russian, British and American military telegraph keys.

These are mostly Russian telegraph keys.

This was the most interesting semi-automatic telegraph key at the show. It was a rare German key made by Hannes Bauer.

There were so many German WW-II military radios for sale that they would not all fit on the tables and some had to be displayed on the floor.

Rare radio tubes appeared for sale on several tables.

A wonderful part of the show is a room in which kids learn to solder and build kits while coached by mentors. Here is a picture of a learning session.

A Maker Faire is presented on the same weekend in a different building. The 'hit' of the show was this huge robotic rock band which played every few minutes.

Many robotic devices and 3-D printers demonstrating a wide variety of construction projects were humming away during the show.

The well-known maker of the Unimat series of multiple-use tools had a large display booth. The Unimat can become a lathe, drill press, milling machine, saw, etc. etc. and is ideal for small home construction projects. It is now made with a lot of plastic and seems to have a less precise "feel" than my trusty old metal Unimat.

The Maker Faire also included many tables offering examples of Steam Punk creations like these.


Here are the presentations made at the Fifth Annual Enigma Forum.

Tom dedicated the Fifth Annual Enigma Forum to Enigma historian Dr. David Hamer who passed away in 2017.

Tom described David's contributions to our knowledge of the history of the Enigma through his lectures, his leadership roles in various organizations and museums and his publications.

Here are several photographs of David lecturing at the Cryptosymposium in Charlotte, North Carolina and with his wife at the Bletchley Park reunion in 2009.

Tom described the special considerations that need attention following David's passing.
Whenever a major historian such as David passes, his/her work needs to be preserved and made available to future researchers.

Tom discussed the tasks of:
1. Maintaining David's website.
2. Deciding what to do with his digital archives stored on his computer hard disk.
3. Deciding what to do with his library.
4. Deciding what to do with his 4-rotor M4 marine Enigma.

Tom also suggested that everyone involved in collecting and studying history should make plans to ensure the continued availability of their work.

Tom reminded the audience of the corrosion hazard caused by the light green light filters in some Enigmas and referred them to his Corrosion Warning website for further information.

Tom Perera showed various circuit diagrams designed to explain and clarify the wiring of an Enigma. Starting with the original German wiring diagram he ended his discussion by showing several animated diagrams that Ralph Simpson and he had developed.

You may view and download these animated Power Point presentations from Ralph Simpson's website at the following links:

This first set of Power Point slides was developed for use directly in presentations. Individual slides from this set can be copied and pasted into your Power Point presentations: The size of the illustrations is 10" x 7.5". (** Be sure to select: "Retain original formatting" when you do this.)

This second set of Power Point slides was developed for use in making posters. The size of each slide is 30" x 22.5". You may use the slides in this set for making high resolution posters showing Enigma wiring.

The illustrations are copyrighted but you may use them for non-commercial purposes without asking for permission.

Tom Perera also presented a narrated disassembly of an Enigma.

Tom Perera also presented some pictures of an Enigma that had been recovered from the sunken German Submarine Tender "Ammerland" and discussed the problems associated with stabilizing such a relic from further deterioration.

Tom Perera also presented some pictures from the newly opened Museum of World War II in Gdansk, Poland.

They have devoted an entire room to telling the story of Marian Rejewski and his associates as they figured out the Enigma wiring and broke the Enigma codes for the first time in 1933. They continued reading Enigma-coded messages until Poland was invaded in 1939.

This picture shows the room with an Enigma in the center, hands-on Enigma simulators in the background, and a constantly running presentation explaining the work of the 3 Polish mathematicians.

Jerry McCarthy presented a description of the design and operation of Rejewski's Cyclometer. It was the first device designed to help break the Enigma codes.

Since I do not have a picture of his presentation this year I have substituted a picture of his presentation on the Lorenz SZ-42 cryptomachine from a previous year.

Paul Reuvers gave an exceptional in-depth description of the restoration of an Enigma that he and Mark Simons had completed.

During the restoration he and Marc Simons observed an interesting single red letter on each rotor. They offered a possible explanation for the existence of these letters which are related to the turn-over points of the rotors.

The forum ended with Klaus Kopacz (in the yellow shirt) demonstrating his exact Enigma replica and his replica Enigma battery to a very large, appreciative and enthusiastic audience.

You may want to visit: for more pictures and details about his replica.

This is a photograph of the 2009 Bletchley Park Reunion with arrows pointing to some of the Friedrichshafen conference speakers and attendees.

From Left-to-Right they are:
Marc Simons (hidden behind another person)
Paul Reuvers
John Alexander
Tom Perera
and Klaus Kopacz



Thomas B. Perera Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus: Montclair State University

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