FOR MANY OF US in the RF and microwave industry, the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is the "place to be" every year. Boasting roughly 10,000 attendees, the show—known by many as the Microwave Theory & Techniques Symposium (MTT-S)— focuses on components and technologies for both commercial and military applications. Although the show's location changes every year, MTT-S is always a magical place where the industry's leading products and technologies are unveiled and displayed. It also is a site where people network, partnerships are formed, business deals are closed, and old friends get together.

Next year, however, there is concern that the site may be a little too "magical." The chosen site for IMS 2007 is Honolulu, Hawaii. Since the 2007 Hawaii site was announced a few years ago, many people have been grumbling about it. In the February 3rd Microwaves & RF UPDATE e-newsletter, Technical Director Jack Browne discussed the complaints that were being sounded more recently. He immediately got a flood of very opinionated e-mail responses, which made us realize that this was an issue that we should discuss with our readers.

Over the past few years, many conferences and trade shows have dwindled or disappeared. Yet MTT-S has remained strong in both its technical offering and on the exhibit floor. An additional bonus is that it always gets a decent showing of folks from Europe's RF and microwave industry. Unfortunately, the Hawaii destination is likely to eliminate those European show-goers. At the same time, many US companies—especially from east of the Mississippi River—are concerned about the additional expense and travel time involved in going to Hawaii. As a result, some companies are already saying that they probably will not exhibit. It is likely that the attendee numbers also will be down.

On the positive side, however, IMS 2007 could—and hopefully will—attract new attendees from the Pacific Rim. The majority of US engineering companies have been focused on starting or increasing business in Asia. With the right contacts at MTT-S, they could satisfy this goal. Incidentally, the IEEE's Electromagnetic Compatibility Society Symposium will be held in Hawaii in July of 2007. For companies that exhibit at both the EMC Symposium and MTT-S, some savings will certainly result.

Let us know where you stand on the Hawaii site. I can be reached at nfriedrich@penton.com. See you in San Francisco!