Hawaii is no doubt one of the world's more beautiful locations. Whether it is the right spot for the microwave industry's most important technical conference and exhibition remains to be seen. An early sampling of companies based in the continental US seems to indicate a higher "drop-out rate" on the East Coast versus the West Coast for companies attending the 2007 IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S) International Microwave Symposium (IMS) this June 3-8 in Honolulu. But West Coast firms have offered that attendance from the Far East could more than make up for the lack of visitors from the continental US.

The MTT-S IMS is, of course, more than simply an industry conference and exhibition. It is a gathering place, a chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances, and an opportunity to learn more about technologies and companies of interest. Given the advancing average age of this industry, the 2007 MTT-S provides the opportunity to "count the survivors" among us. At last year's event, one of the most commonly asked questions had to do with retirement. The MTT-S conference sessions, as usual, pack impressive technical wallop. The content of the conference is superb in terms of session topics, diversity of subjects, and blending of practical and experimental technologies. For a brief preview of the technical sessions and a sampling of the products to be shown on the exhibit floor, don't miss the Special Report beginning on page 33. For those with a bent for the latest in microwave measurement techniques, and who are willing to extend their stay on the islands through at least the Friday (June 8th), the 69th Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG, www.arftg.org) Microwave Measurement Conference provides a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet some of the top measurement minds in the industry.

Although not a technical endeavor, one of the favorite pastimes of MTT-S IMS attendees is what might be called "the informal survey." There is always the survey on what is the most exciting new product or development from the show floor, and the survey on what constitutes the hottest news or gossip item. In the past, this "informal survey" approach has been used to explore the industry's interest in a particular market area. This year, that focus may be on WiMAX. Interest in this broadband wireless format (based on the IEEE 802.16 standard), which has both fixed and mobile versions, is growing rapidly and appears to be the next huge opportunity for the industry. With the number of major companies in support of the standard through such organizations as the WiMAX Forum (www.wimaxforum.org), its success seems almost certain. But then, an "informal survey" on the MTT-S exhibit floor may reveal otherwise. Check this space in two months for the results.