Friday, March 27, 2020

Randy Thompson, K5ZD, Named Interim WPX Contest Director

(Hicksville, NY – March 27, 2020) – Former CQ WPX Contest Director Randy Thompson, K5ZD, has been appointed interim director of the on-air competition following the resignation of Terry Zivney, N4TZ. Zivney had been contest director for the past seven years. The WPX Contest is amateur radio's second-most popular competition, with only the CQ World Wide DX Contest drawing more entrants each year.

"We thank Terry for his excellent work in administering and promoting the WPX Contest," said CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, "and we will miss him as part of our contesting staff. I am looking forward to working closely again with Randy, who has been part of our contest leadership team for many years."

Thompson, who has also previously served as director of the CQ World Wide DX Contest, is a long-time CQ Contest Committee member and administrator of the various CQ contesting websites. Experienced contesters who are interested in "giving back" to the contesting community by administering a major contest are invited to apply for the position of WPX Contest Director. Inquiries and applications should be directed to CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, via e-mail to <>.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Safe Contesting Suggestions from CQ

If you're "sheltering in place" or otherwise stuck at home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the CQ World Wide WPX SSBContest this coming weekend (March 28-29) is the perfect way to have some fun and keep connected with the outside world.

However, we want to make sure you practice "safe contesting," especially if you're planning a multi-operator effort. A few suggestions:

- Consider staying at home and operating single-op (except for family stations), especially if local jurisdictions are limiting or prohibiting group gatherings
- Consider remote multi-op with operators "traveling" to your station via the internet instead of in-person (if you're equipped for it and if your ops will all be legal)
- If you're too far along in planning an in-person multi-op operation, please follow "social distancing" recommendations, including:
  • setting up operating positions at least six feet (two meters) apart;
  • not sharing microphones/headphones/computer keyboards without first wiping them down with disinfectant wipes;
  • staggering meal breaks to keep from having everyone together at one time;
  • not sharing sleeping/napping spots,
  • not touching your face, and of course,
  • washing your hands for at least 20 seconds between every contact (well, maybe not quite that often, but you get the idea).

We want all of you not only to enjoy this contest but many more to come as well!

73, stay healthy, and good luck in the contest,
Your friends at CQ

PS - If you haven't already seen our previous e-mail, you can get two free digital issues of CQ (March and April) just by sending a request to <> (See note below). Plus, you can take advantage our spring subscription special to sign up or renew at a big discount at <>.

Note about our free issue offer: Please be patient, as requests are being processed manually by limited staff working from home; and if you've already put in a request, please don't send a repeat as that slows the process for everyone. Thanks & 73.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

2020 Dayton Hamvention Cancelled

The Dayton Hamvention Executive Committee has announced that this year's Hamvention has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  The following is a statement from General Chairman Jack Gerbs:

"The Hamvention Executive Committee has been monitoring the COVID19 pandemic. We have worked very closely with our local and state health Departments.
 It is with a very heavy heart the Hamvention Executive Committee has decided to cancel Hamvention for this year.
 This decision is extremely difficult for us but with around two months until the Great Gathering we felt this action necessary.
More specific details regarding the closure will soon be posted here.
Thank you for your understanding in this time of International Crisis.
Jack Gerbs
General Chairman HV2020"

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Coronavirus Prompts Cancellations of Visalia, HamSCI, Conferences

[This is an update to a previously posted item]

Concerns over coronavirus and various advisories regarding travel and large group gatherings have prompted cancellations of two upcoming ham meetings - the Visalia International DX Convention in California and the HamSci workshop in Pennsylvania.

In a March 10 letter to speakers and participants, the co-chairs of the International DX Convention wrote: "Due to concerns (for the) health and wellbeing of our amateur radio family, our age group and possible compromised health issues; we are taking the side of safety and cancelling the convention. Even though the percentage of COVID-19 is low, there are person(s) who have the illness but mild form and have not seen a physician. It only takes 1 person to pass the virus to a person with a compromised illness. We will be in close proximity of each other. Yes, the timing is bad, but all of your lives and families are more important."

On March 11, HamSCI Coordinator Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, announced that "it is no longer feasible to hold an in-person HamSCI workshop this year...The Science/Program Committee is discussing over the next few days the best alternative plans for the HamSCI workshop. This may mean a form all-electronic meeting using teleconference/webinar services." As of March 16, plans are in place for all sessions to be held online via Zoom meeting software. Registration is free. Get details at <>.

Monday, March 9, 2020

VP2VB Returns to the Airwaves

The original VP2VB - DXpeditioner Danny Weil.
(Courtesy Yasme Foundation)
Four seasoned DXpeditioners plan to set sail from New York on March 10, heading for the British Virgin Islands and returning the call sign VP2VB to the airwaves for the first time in decades. That was the call sign of legendary DXpeditioner Danny Weil, who was persuaded in the 1950s by then-CQ DX Editor Dick Spencely, KV4AA, to take ham radio with him aboard his sailboat, the Yasme, on his attempts to sail solo around the world. 

According to the Yasme Foundation, the current trip will focus on the low bands, with two stations on the air for six days. Operators include Martti Laine, OH2BH; Adrian Ciuperca, KO8SCA; Niko Halminen, OH2GEK, and Sandro Nitei, VE7NY. QSL via OH2BH; more details on VP2VB page on (See related story below about the 2020 Yasme Foundation Excellence Award.)

Hamvention Award Winners Announced

The Dayton Hamvention® has announced the winners of its 2020 achievement awards. Yasuo "Zorro" Miyazawa, JH1AJT, has been named Amateur of the Year for his long-term commitment to advancing amateur radio as well as his philanthropic work through the Foundation for Global Children, which he founded. (For more about Zorro and his work, see "A50BOC: Thunder Dragon DX on the Low Bands," in the April issue of CQ.)

This year's Technical Achievement Award will be shared by the team of Joe Taylor, K1JT; Steve Franke, K9AN, and Bill Somerville, G4WJS. They are the key members of the group behind the WSJT-X software suite that has revolutionized ham radio, especially FT-8 and FT-4 (the FT stands for Franke and Taylor).

The 2020 Special Achievement Award goes to Jordan Sherer, KN4CRD, who developed JS8Call, a new digital protocol for weak-signal mesh networking and keyboard-to-keyboard communication.
Finally, the Hamvention Award Committee is honoring Oklahoma's South Canadian Amateur Radio Society as Club of the Year. The club is heavily involved in community service and Skywarn as well as sponsoring a  host of other activities.

All of the honorees will be recognized at a special banquet on Saturday night of the Hamvention.

Coronavirus Causing Disruptions

As of early March, concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19) seem to be casting a shadow over many ham-related activities. The FCC is banning all "non-critical" travel by staff members, both to domestic and foreign destinations - until further notice - and will not permit visitors into FCC facilities if they have been in a country experiencing widespread infections up to two weeks prior to their visits.
(CISA image)

Two DXpeditions have been postponed due to protection measures. The planned W8S DXpedition to Swains Island was put on hold, according to the ARRL Letter, because American Samoa won't let anyone into the country who has not first completed a 14-day quarantine in Hawaii. In addition, the scheduled T30ET operation from Tarawa, West Kiribati, has been postponed due to similar quarantine requirements. The W8S team has tentatively rescheduled its operation for late September and early November.

Meanwhile, the Dayton Hamvention®Executive Committee says it is keeping in close contact with state and local health officials but, at this time, is not anticipating any impact from the virus on the Hamvention. The committee notes that, as of early March, there were no confirmed COVIC-19 cases anywhere in Ohio, and that health officials say the current ris to the general public is very low.

W5UR Re-Elected ARRL President; Vice Director Becomes First VP

Rick Roderick, W5UR, won re-election as ARRL President by just one vote at the League's January board of directors meeting, deflecting a challenge by Pacific Division Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, on an 8-7 tally. First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW, did not seek re-election, and he was succeeded by New England Division Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, who was the only nominee, according to the ARRL Letter.

As reported last month, the board voted not to renew the contract of CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, and named a search committee to make recommendations for a replacement.

ARRL Opens Access to Ballot-Counting, Portions of Board Meetings

Reversing decades of tradition, the ARRL board in January voted to allow candidates for director and vice-director, or their surrogates, to observe ballot-counting in board elections. League members may also petition to be observers, traveling at their own expense. The board also instructed the Programs and Services Committee to develop procedures to permit a limited number of ARRL members to attend portions of the board's annual meeting each January.
In addition, the board's Public Service Enhancement Group reported that it will focus this year on updating the National Traffic System and plans to open a dialog with Radio Relay International, a group of former NTS officials who broke away in protest over past changes in League policy.

ARRL/AMSAT File Comments Opposing Removal of 3.4-GHz Ham Band

Both the ARRL and AMSAT have filed formal comments with the FCC in opposition to the Commission's proposal to reallocate the 3.3-3.5 GHz band, on which amateurs currently have a secondary allocation. According to the ARRL Letter, the FCC proposal is in response to a law passed by Congress in 2018 to make more spectrum available for wireless broadband. 

The League's comments highlighted the work of amateurs on the band over many decades, studying propagation and building mesh networks, amateur television networks and conducting moonbounce communication. The ARRL says there is no reason why these activities cannot continue while still accommodating broadband use, noting that hams are frequency-agile and can avoid causing interference to primary users. 

AMSAT noted the importance of microwave spectrum for current and future amateur satellite projects, emphasizing that the best frequencies for satellite uplinks are between 2.4 and 5.67 GHz, even though there are currently no amateur satellites using 3.4 GHz because it is not available in Europe and Africa. The AMSAT News Service says the comments also highlighted the many non-satellite uses of the band, including mesh networking, EME and contesting.