Friday, June 26, 2020

Tim Shoppa, N3QE, Named CQ Contesting Editor

New CQ Contesting Editor Tim Shoppa, N3QE
  (Hicksville, NY - June 26, 2020) -- Tim Shoppa, N3QE, of Bethesda, Maryland, has been named CQ magazine's Contesting Editor, CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, announced today. Tim succeeds Dave Siddall, K3ZJ, who is stepping down after five years of writing the magazine's monthly contesting column. Recent increases in work responsibilities limit the amount of time Siddall has available to write about contesting.
Shoppa is an active contester and has been secretary of the Potomac Valley Radio Club for several years. He closely tracks individual contester and contest club activities worldwide. He has a modest but active station on a suburban lot in the Washington, DC, suburbs where he consistently wins the USA TBW (Tri-Bander/Wires) category in the CQ WPX contests - despite having only a wire antenna - and guest operates several times a year at large multi-multi contest stations. He also had the top 80-meter score in the 2018 CQ DX Marathon.
Tim works for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, coordinating the data acquisition of 70,000 devices around the railroad and the supervisory control center computers at the Washington DC Metrorail system. He holds a patent covering track circuit monitoring and alerting in automatic train control systems.
Licensed since age 10, Shoppa took a 30-year break from active hamming after high school before rediscovering the hobby in 2008 and becoming heavily involved in contesting. Tim says he hopes to use the CQ contesting column "to encourage both individual operators and clubs to get on the air in ham radio contests while improving their skills and stations."
"I thank Dave for his five years of dedication to the CQ contesting column and input on a variety of subjects," said Moseson, "and I look forward to working with Tim as he brings his combined experience as a 'little pistol' and a 'big gun' to the pages of CQ."
Shoppa's first column will appear in the September, 2020 issue.

Friday, June 12, 2020

More COVID Changes…

We have more cancellations and format changes to report this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with one new event! The Huntsville Hamfest in Alabama, scheduled for mid-August, has been cancelled for this year; the AMSAT Space Symposium and annual meeting has been converted to a virtual event on the same weekend, October 16-18; and ARISS, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program, has been continuing to test its "MultiPoint Telebridge" system to allow students in a variety of locations (such as their homes) to still visit with ISS astronauts via amateur radio. 

In addition, Youth on the Air in the Americas replaced its planned summer camp in late June with a series of on-air events, including "Virtual YOTA Day" on June 24 and a special event station, W8Y, which was to be operated during the week of June 21-26 from various locations by the young hams who had been scheduled to attend the camp that week. See <> for details.

Across the Atlantic, IARU Region 1's Youngsters on the Air program <> inaugurated monthly online meetings to discuss various topics, such as Region 1's Youth Contesting Program.

On the flip side, trying to fill the vacuum created by so many hamfest cancellations, QSO Today podcast host Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, has organized a worldwide virtual hamfest for the weekend of August 8 and 9. The "QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo" will use an online exposition platform to connect attendees with various vendors and to present talks on a variety of ham radio subjects. More information is available at <>.

Don't Send Those Buro Cards Just Yet

If you still enjoy exchanging paper QSL cards with DX stations, you should know that getting those
cards from here to there may be a problem for the foreseeable future. The US Postal Service says it has temporarily stopped accepting international mail for nearly 100 countries around the world due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 10, mail service to 21 countries had been suspended due to "foreign postal operator service suspension" and another 75 countries were on the "do not mail" list due to "unavailability of transportation." The regularly updated list of specific countries, along with procedures for requesting a refund or remailing in the future is at <>.

In a related story, the ARRL says it was experiencing 1-3 week delays in shipping member orders as of mid-May, due to restrictions on how many people at a time could be present in their warehouse and excessive demands on shipping carriers. 

Here at CQ, we have experienced very slow and sporadic mail delivery. On the bright side, our offices, which have been closed since mid-March under state stay-at-home orders, were scheduled to reopen on June 15.

Ham Makes Space History

Launch of the SpaceX Dragon capsule
to the International Space Station on
May 30, 2020. (NASA photo)

One of the two astronauts launched to the International Space Station on May 30 aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule is a ham – Bob Behnken is KE5GGX. 

Astronaut Bob Behnken, KE5GGX
(NASA photo)
He and crewmate Doug Hurley were the first astronauts to travel to orbit aboard a commercially built and operated spacecraft, as well as the first to be launched from a U.S. spaceport in over nine years. 

According to Newsline, Behnken and Hurley join the ISS's Expedition 63 crew, which is commanded by another ham, astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR.