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

Radio Amateurs Team Up to Help University Design Low-Cost Ventilator

Amateur radio volunteers from around the world have volunteered to assist University of Florida Professor Sam Lampotang and his engineering team in their quest to rapidly develop an open-source, low-cost patient ventilator that can be built anywhere from such commonly available components as PVC pipe and lawn-sprinkler valves. The amateur radio volunteers are developing Arduino-based control software that will set the respiratory rate and other key parameters in treating critically ill coronavirus victims.

Multiple volunteers responding to a call for help from Gordon Gibby, MD, KX4Z, included noted software developer Jack Purdum, W8TEE, and  uBITX transceiver maker Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE. University of Florida physicians are working to address the critical legal aspects as the design moves closer to fruition.

The ventilator’s valves would precisely time compressed oxygen flow into patient breathing circuits under Arduino control, allowing exhausted patients with “stiff” lungs impacted by viral pneumonia to survive until their body can clear the infection. The software design team is also adding simple features such as an LCD display, encoders to choose parameters, and watchdog safety features. — Thanks to Gordon Gibby, KX4Z

ARRL Headquarters is Closing

ARRL Headquarters will comply with an executive order from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont that all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities reduce in-person workforces by 100% no later than March 23, 2020, at 8 PM. ARRL will equip as many Headquarters staffers as possible to work remotely.

W1AW bulletin and code practice transmissions will continue. Customer service representatives will be available to take calls, although response times could be longer than usual. Operations at the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) will also continue, and the best way to receive a timely response is via email, as call volume has been heavy. The ARRL publication schedule will remain unchanged.

The ARRL warehouse will be working with a reduced staff, so orders will be delayed, and ARRL will not be able to respond to expedited shipping orders. ARRL Headquarters will remain open until 5 PM on March 23, as managers and staff prepare for the shutdown.

ARRL will keep members posted on this situation.

DARPA Launch Challenge Cancelled

The launch of the PSAT3 CubeSat, which was part of the DARPA Launch Challenge, has been canceled. The Challenge offered a $10 million prize for any launch provider that could deliver a rocket with only 30 days’ notice of what payloads they would have and where they would launch from — and then, to do it again only 30 days later. “We were on the second launch,” said PSAT3’s Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, of the US Naval Academy. “But on March 2, the third attempt by the launch provider was scrubbed at T-9 minutes and was not resolved until the launch window and DARPA Challenge deadline had passed. Therefore, the Challenge was over. There was no winner, and we lost the launch.” The US Naval Academy project spacecraft remains available for a CubeSat Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) launch opportunity, Bruninga said. He described PSAT3 as a follow-on opportunity to duplicate the functionality of PSAT2 in a full-sized P-POD payload that remains attached to the upper stage rocket body. The launch was to take place from Kodiak, Alaska.

Outer Space is Your Next Radio Frontier!

You can make contacts through amateur radio satellites, and even with the International Space Station, using equipment you probably own right now! All it takes is the right information, which you’ll find in ARRL’s new book Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners.

Dozens of spacecraft are in orbit just waiting for your signals, and more are being launched every year. This book is your guide to a whole new world of operating enjoyment. Inside you will be able to locate satellites and determine when they will be available in orbit, gain tips for building your own “satellite station, find a simple step-by-step guide to making your first contacts, and discover satellite antenna projects you can build at home.

“Even with just a dual-band FM transceiver and a mobile antenna, you can make contacts through an amateur satellite!” said ARRL author and QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY.

Building amateur radio satellites is difficult; communicating through amateur satellites is not. Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners will introduce you to new experiences that you may have thought were out of your reach. Start reading and discover how easy it can be!

Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners is available from the ARRL Store or your ARRL Dealer. (ARRL Item no. 1304, ISBN: 978-1-62595-130-4), $22.95 retail, special ARRL Member Price $19.95. Call (860) 594-0355 or, toll-free in the US, (888) 277-5289. It will also be available as an e-book for the Amazon Kindle.

St. Patrick’s Day Hamfest — Midland Hamfest March 21, 2020 POSTPONED

Forwarded for the Midland ARC Board of Director’s

Good afternoon,

Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus scare and the unpredictability of venue
management and public officials, we are postponing the St. Patrick’s
Day Hamfest and West Texas Section Convention.  We are exploring the
options to host the event this summer in either June or July. The new
date will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.

All pre-registration, registration and extra chance tickets for door
prizes will be honored during the rescheduled event as will table
reservations for the swap meet.

All raffle tickets for the Elecraft K4 have been sold.  We will draw
the winning ticket for the Elecraft K4 on Saturday March 21, 2020.
The winner will be notified.


W5QGG Board of Directiors

ARRL Hamfest and Convention Closings

The ARRL has created a webpage that lists all hamfests and
conventions that have advised the League that they are canceling
scheduled events.

For the list of currently known closings, please go to:


Correction to Frequency Measuring Test Website URL

An incorrect website address for the April 24 Frequency Measuring Test (FMT) appeared in QST. The correct URL is fmt.arrl.org. The old website is still active and has a hyperlink to the new site.

Nominations Invited for 2020 McGan Silver Antenna Award for Excellence in Public Relations

The ARRL Public Relations Committee invites nominations for the Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, presented annually to a radio amateur who has demonstrated success in public relations efforts on behalf of amateur radio and who best exemplifies the volunteer spirit of Philip McGan, WA2MBQ (SK).

“ARRL Public Information Officers (PIOs) and other volunteers are working hard every day to create greater awareness of all that amateur radio has to offer,” the Committee said in announcing the opening of nominations for the award. “They are publicizing special events, writing press releases, or doing interviews on radio and television or in newspapers to highlight the service that amateur radio provides.”

A journalist, McGan was the first chairman of the ARRL’s Public Relations Committee, which helped reinvigorate ARRL’s commitment to public relations. To honor McGan, members of the New Hampshire Amateur Radio Association joined with the ARRL Board of Directors to establish an award that would pay lasting tribute to the important contributions he made on behalf of amateur radio.

Activities for which the McGan Award is presented include those specifically directed at bringing amateur radio to the media’s and the public’s attention in a positive light. This may include such traditional methods as news releases or interviews, or less traditional methods, such as hosting a radio show or being an active public speaker.

The ARRL Board of Directors will choose the award winner at its July 2020 meeting, based on recommendations from the ARRL Public Relations Committee. The Committee has responsibility for reviewing the nominations and supporting material.

Eligible nominees must be full ARRL members in good standing at the time of nomination. The award is given only to an individual, and nominees may not be current ARRL officers, directors, vice directors, paid staffers, or members of the ARRL Public Relations Committee. Nominees must not be compensated for any public relations work involving amateur radio — including payment for articles.

A nominee’s efforts must fit the definition of public relations and recognize the promotion of amateur radio to the non-amateur radio community.

Nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters by the close of business on Friday, May 15, 2020. Nominations must be on an official entry form. Anyone may make a nomination.

Just Ahead in Radiosport

  • March 14 — AGCW QRP Contest (CW)
  • March 14 – 15 — RSGB Commonwealth Contest (CW)
  • March 14 – 15 — F9AA Cup, SSB
  • March 14 – 15 — South America 10 Meter Contest (CW, phone)
  • March 14 – 15 — Stew Perry Topband Challenge (CW)
  • March 14 – 15 — Oklahoma QSO Party (CW, phone)
  • March 14 – 15 — TESLA Memorial HF CW Contest
  • March 14 – 15 — QCWA QSO Party (CW, phone)
  • March 14 – 15 — Idaho QSO Party (CW, phone)
  • March 14 — QRP ARCI Spring Thaw SSB Shootout
  • March 15 — North American Sprint, RTTY
  • March 15 – 16 — Wisconsin QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
  • March 16 — Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)
  • March 17 — CLARA Chatter Party (CW, phone)
  • March 19 — NAQCC CW Sprint

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on amateur radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile email preferences.