Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CQ Offices Closed Due to Storm

CQ's offices in Long Island have been closed since Monday, October 29, due to an extended power outage as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Our editorial and advertising staffs are working offsite and should be reachable by e-mail. However, the circulation, customer service and production departments are not able to operate at this time (10/31).

We do not know yet when power will be restored or when we will be able to reopen. We will post a notice here when our offices are open again. Thank you for your understanding.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update - 1500 UTC 26 October

Update 10/31: The Hurricane Watch Net has closed. However, there is massive devastation in the northeast from Sandy and its remnants. Please keep an ear out for emergency traffic on all frequencies.

Hurricane Sandy continues to pose a significant threat to the east coast of the U.S., and the Hurricane Watch Net remains active for the foreseeable future on 14.325 MHz.  PLEASE AVOID INTERFERENCE TO THIS NET DURING THE CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST this weekend.

National Hurricane Center satellite image of Hurricane Sandy
as of 1200 UTC on 26 October. The storm is expected to lash
the mid-Atlantic states this weekend and possibly cause
large-scale damage to the northeast early next week.
IARU Region II Area C Emergency Coordinator Arnie Coro, CO2KK, reports that Cuba's hurricane nets on 80, 40 and 2 meters have secured as the storm has moved north of the island, leaving at least 11 deaths and hundreds of thousands of evacuations in its wake:

After more than 36 hours of hard work, the activities of our amateur radio emergency nets activated as Hurricane Sandy was approaching eastern Cuba were closed. The services provided to our communities was of great value and fully appreciated, gaining recognition on the mass media as an example of how volunteers are able to help in a very notable way.

The role of the HF bands, 40 and 80 meters, was extremely important to carry on the emergency traffic, due to the fact that several of the normally very reliable 2-meter repeaters were damaged by the storm's very strong winds that at mountaintop repeater locations reached as high as 240 kilometers per hour (145 miles per hour).

Our big thank you and appreciation to all the radio amateurs in eight neighboring countries who offered possible relays when propagation was difficult on 40 meters. All of us who participated enjoyed excellently clean frequencies thanks to the advice and information provided by CQ Amateur Radio, the ARRL, IARU and several national amateur radio organizations in our area.

We did learn something new... that with solar flux at or above 150, 40 meters remained open for the short distances involved in the emergency nets!"

Hurricane Sandy is expected to affect the Carolinas and Virginia over the weekend and then possibly combine with a low-pressure system moving south from Canada to create a potentially devastating hybrid storm in the northeast early next week. If you are in the alert areas, please prepare personally for the storm and contact your local amateur radio emergency communications leaders to see how you can help if needed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hams Prepare as Hurricane Sandy Threatens Caribbean, US East Coast - Keep Frequencies Clear for Emergency Traffic

The Hurricane Watch Net (<>) has activated on 14.325 MHz as Hurricane Sandy churns through the Caribbean and continues to threaten the U.S. east coast. In addition, Arnie Coro, CO2KK, Emergency Coordinator for IARU Region II, Area C, informs us that hurricane nets in Cuba are active as the storm approaches.

"We have now, starting at 1600 UTC Oct 24 ,activated our Cuba emergency communications nets on 40 , 80 and 2 meters FM, they are on SSB voice HF and FM on 2 meters

Locations of Hurricane Sandy & Tropical Storm Tony as of
2015 UTC on October 24. Please keep emergency frequencies
clear as Hurricane Sandy poses a major threat to Caribbean
islands and a possible threat to the US east coast.
(NOAA satellite image)

Operating frequencies on 40 meters are:

7110 kHz primary
7120 kHz secondary
7045 kHz for Eastern Cuba provinces

The 80 meters frequencies are:
3740 kHz primary
3720 kHz secondary

Other 40 and 80 meters band frequencies using SSB voice  may be activated
as required by provincial emergency nets."
CO2KK requests that these frequencies be kept clear for emergency communications. This is particularly important with the CQWW DX SSB Contest this coming weekend.  Please monitor weather sources and keep these frequencies in mind if you are operating in the contest. Emergency communications always take priority over all other communications.

FCC Proposes No-Retest Licenses for Former Hams - Dec. 24 Comment Deadline

The FCC is proposing to allow former hams to regain their licenses (but not necessarily their old call signs) without retesting, to shorten the grace period for license renewal, to reduce the minimum number of examiners at license test sessions to two, and to permit remote administration of amateur exams in hard-to-reach areas. See additional detail in the December and January issues of CQ. The complete Notice of Proposed Rule Making, WT Docket # 12-283, may be downloaded from <>. The deadline for filing comments is December 24, 2012, with reply comments due by January 22, 2013.

GRE Suspends Scanner Manufacturing; Alinco Unaffected

GRE America has announced that its parent company, General Research of Electronics of Japan, has been forced to temporarily suspend the manufacture of scanners for both its own GRECOM brand and for RadioShack. GRE America Sales Director Raj Gounder reported on the company's website that the shutdown is the result of the closure of its factory in China due to a redevelopment project in the area. A new factory was under construction but increased costs made it impossible to finish the building. Gounder says the company is working to establish a contract with a new factory and to resume manufacturing as soon as possible. 

Meanwhile, Gounder says GRE America will continue to market, support and service GRECOM scanners already built and will maintain its library database. In addition, he says there will be no impact on GRE America's marketing, service and support for Alinco amateur radio products in the U.S.

German Space Agency Rejects AMSAT-DL Mars Plan

After five years of discussions and negotiations with the German space agency DLR, AMSAT-DL reports that the agency has withdrawn its support for the amateur satellite organization's plan to send a ham radio satellite to Mars, the so-called "P5" satellite. According to the AMSAT News Service, the agency advised the group that P5's mission was financially infeasible and that "the scientific attraction was, compared with the current Mars missions, insufficient." 

"Obviously, our P5 mission is now compared with regular missions which cost hundreds of millions of Euro," said the AMSAT-DL board in a statement. The decision also affects plans for a geostationary Earth-orbiting satellite (P3E), which was to be part of the overall P5 program. AMSAT-DL officials are not giving up hope, though, noting that the group "recently had some interesting meetings in China and if we can't do rocket science in (Germany), we have to look for other countries."

Four Amateur Satellites Launched from ISS

Four new amateur radio "cubesats" were deployed on October 4 from the International Space Station. As has been the case for virtually all recent cubesats operating in the amateur bands, they are downlink-only satellites and most have scientific missions not directly related to amateur radio. The ARRL reports that the four satellites deployed in October were TechEdSat, a collaboration between NASA, Japan's and Sweden's space agencies and San Jose State University in California; FITSAT-1, built by university students in Japan, WE-WISH, built by Japan's Meisei Electric Company Radio Club and transmitting CW telemetry and slow-scan TV images; and F-1, built by university students in Hanoi, Vietnam. As of press time, signals had been monitored from all the satellites except F-1.

U.S. Postal Rates to Increase in January

The cost of sending a letter in the United States will increase a penny, to 46 cents, as of January 27, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Postcard stamps will also go up one cent to 33 cents. Rates will also increase for Priority Mail and other services (including the cost of mailing magazines), subject to final approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Postal Service will also be introducing a "forever stamp" for international postage, at a new rate of $1.10/ounce for all overseas destinations. For more information, see <>. Suffers Brief Shutdown Due to "Cloud" Outage

Anyone trying to access the popular website on the morning of October 22 most likely received a "server not found" message from their web browser. publisher Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, reports that the outage was the result of "some kind of big network failure" suffered by, which provides QRZ's "cloud" services. Lloyd said the outage lasted about two-and-a-half hours and knocked hundreds of websites offline. Apparently, the outage began with yet-unspecified problems in northern Virginia and then spread from there. Normal service was restored later in the day.

DHS to Provide EmComm Training at Dayton 2013

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Emergency Communications will be offering the department's Auxiliary Emergency Communications course in conjunction with next year's Dayton Hamvention®. According to Newsline, the course will be free and "is intended to supplement and standardize an operator's basic knowledge of emergency amateur radio communications in a public safety context." It is scheduled to be held just prior to the Hamvention, in the Dayton area. Details are available on the Hamvention website at <>.

Ham Store Giving Away Stations to Promote Youth Activity

A new amateur radio dealer is attempting to promote activity by young hams and to increase its visibility in the marketplace by giving away a complete HF amateur station every two years. Amateur Radio Supplies of Haverhill, Massachusetts invites applications from amateurs under age 21, stating how often they are able to operate on the HF bands, the location from which they typically operate and how they would use the equipment if they were selected. Nominations are also being accepted. The first winner will be selected on January 1, 2013. Additional details may be found at <>.

W1AGP Retires as ARRL Media/PR Manager

Allen Pitts, W1AGP, retired in October as the ARRL's Media and Public Relations Manager after more than eight years of coordinating the League's promotion of amateur radio to the public and helping local volunteers to do the same. Pitts was responsible for developing and managing several recent ARRL public relations campaigns, including "Hello Radio" in 2006, "Emergency Radio" after Hurricane Katrina, "We Do That" in 2008 and "Do It Yourself" in 2011. At press time, there was no word on the appointment of a successor.

Iran Claims Small-Satellite Launch Capability

The AMSAT News Service reports that Iran's space agency claims that nation now has the ability to launch small satellites into orbit. The announcement says several Asian countries and one university in Australia are already in talks to put satellites on Iranian rockets, which reportedly can carry payloads of up to 10 kilograms, or approximately 22 pounds. Iran has already launched at least two of its own satellites.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Help Wanted: WPX Contest Director

The appointment of Randy Thompson, K5ZD, as director of the CQ World Wide DX Contest has created a vacancy in the position of director of the CQ WPX Contest. Interested contesters are invited to apply. You must be an experienced contester with particular knowledge of the WPX Contest, must be a proven administrator, able to work well with other people and to meet deadlines for submitting material for publication in CQ. Randy has posted a detailed description of what the position involves on the WPX Contest blog page at <>.

If you are interested, we encourage you to read the blog posting and to contact K5ZD to apply, or for more information.  -- The editors

Plaque Available for the DXer’s MOST Difficult Award

CQ is pleased to announce the availability of a special plaque for those who have achieved ALL 40 CQ zones on 160 meters. This is considered the most difficult of all amateur radio awards to earn. The Worked All Zones 160M Plaque recognizes you as one of the elite Top Band DXers.

The cost is $100 within the United States, $120 US elsewhere. Please contact WAZ Award Manager Floyd Gerald, N5FG <n5fg (-at-)> for details.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Payne, Kummer, Join CQ Advertising Department

(Hicksville, NY) October 4, 2012 -- CQ Communications President Richard Ross, K2MGA, today announced the appointments of Charlie Payne, ex- WN2AKC, and Jon Kummer, WA2OJK, to the company's advertising department. Payne and Kummer succeed Charles "Chip" Margelli, K7JA, who resigned to pursue other opportunities in the amateur radio industry.

Payne, of Nicholasville, Kentucky, is the new Advertising Director for CQ Amateur Radio, CQ VHF and WorldRadio Online magazines. A former ham who held a Novice license in the 1970s, Payne has been selling magazine advertising since 1984, when he formed a partnership with his father, who spent 40 years in the business. He has worked both with business-to-business publications - primarily in the metalworking industry - and with special interest consumer titles - primarily in the equine industry. He is already studying to regain his amateur license.

Kummer, of Port Washington, New York, has held WA2OJK since 1970, and has been in magazine publishing since 1980. Magazines he has represented include Electronic Engineering Times, Military and Aerospace Electronics and Microwaves & RF. An avid collector and restorer of antique radios and TVs, Jon is also currently editor and publisher of Antique Radio Classified.

This will be Kummer's fourth stint at CQ Communications, having sold advertising in the past for Modern Electronics, Electronic Servicing & Technology, CQ Amateur Radio and WorldRadio Online. He is now taking on advertising sales responsibilities for Popular Communications.

"I'm very happy to be back at CQ and to work with the CQ staff again," said Kummer. "It's not often that a person has the opportunity to work with a publication such as Popular Communications, the world's leading magazine for communications enthusiasts."

Payne said he is looking forward to both the opportunities and the challenges that the position presents, and that his guiding philosophy is, "You can always do something."

“We’re extremely excited to welcome these two ad sales pros to our staff, following in Chip’s path," said Ross. "Our parting with Chip was completely amicable, and Chip still is ironing out details of his next adventure in the amateur radio industry.  Our best wishes go out to him.” 

Charlie Payne may be reached by e-mail at <>; Jon Kummer may be reached at <>.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Randy Thompson, K5ZD, Named Director of CQ World Wide DX Contest

(Hicksville, NY) October 1, 2012 -- CQ Contest Hall of Fame member and WPX Contest Director Randy Thompson, K5ZD, has been named Director of the CQ World Wide DX Contest, effective immediately. Randy succeeds Bob Cox, K3EST, who retired in September after 35 years at the helm of the world's most popular amateur radio contest.

Thompson, 53, has been a ham since age 13. He is an accomplished contester, having multiple wins in the CQ World Wide DX Contest and the CQ WPX Contest, among others. He has also competed in four World Radiosport Team Championships. In addition, Randy is a past editor of the "National Contest Journal" (a post he has held three separate times) and a co-founder of the website. He is a longtime member of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club and an instructor at K3LR's Contest University. He has been Director of the CQ WPX Contest since 2008, coincidentally the same year in which he was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame.

"The CQ WW is the biggest event on the contest calendar," commented Thompson. "I am honored to be involved and follow in the giant footsteps of K3EST. With the great conditions we are seeing on the bands, this year should be the biggest CQ WW ever! The first order of business is to have the team ready for the new 5-day log deadline and faster results reporting."

CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, said Thompson's appointment marks the start of a new chapter in the history of CQ World Wide DX Contest, adding "The CQ management team looks forward to working with Randy as CQWW Director. His four years as WPX Contest Director have already demonstrated his ability to successfully and creatively guide a major contest, and we are totally confident that he will take the CQWW to even greater heights."

Thompson's appointment to the directorship of the CQWW creates a vacancy for director of the CQ WPX Contests. Anyone interested in taking on the challenge of leading a major contest should contact Randy at <>.