Visalia International DX Convention, Other Events Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Worries

[UPDATED 2020-03-12 @ 1503 UTC] Concern over COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of the 2020 International DX Convention (IDXC), which was to be held April 24 – 26 in Visalia, California. The IDXC 2020 co-chairs posted an announcement on the convention website on March 10.

“We send out our apologies to all our perspective patrons of the 2020 International DX Convention. Due to concerns, health and well-being of our amateur radio family, our age group and possible compromised health issues, we are taking the side of safety and canceling the convention,” IDXC Co-chairs Cathy Gardenias, K6VC, and Kris Jacob, KC6TOD, said on behalf of the convention committee. They conceded that, although the number of COVID-19 cases remains low, it only takes one person to pass the virus.

“We will be refunding everyone’s reservation funds/shirt request funds,” the announcement continued. “We appreciate your support and patience while we proceed with sending refunds back to each person.”

Additional amateur radio-related events have been cancelled or postponed as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) fears. Science City at the University of Arizona in Tucson, set for March 14 – 15, where AMSAT had planned satellite demonstrations, and Communications Academy 2020, due to be held in Seattle April 24 – 26, have been cancelled.

The March 14 Great Lakes Convention and the March 15 Toledo Hamfest in Ohio have been cancelled, the sponsoring Toledo Mobile Radio Association (TMRA) has announced. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced plans this week to issue an executive order barring public participation in sporting events and other large gatherings (defined as 100 or more attendees). Ohio has reported four confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, and the latest individual affected did not become sick as a result of traveling. Several conference presenters and vendors already had cancelled their participation. Refunds are in process.

The University of Scranton’s Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, who’s organizing the HamSCI workshop, set for March 20 – 21, said on March 11 that “it is no longer feasible to hold an in-person HamSCI workshop this year” because of the coronavirus situation. “This has been a very difficult decision to make, as a tremendous amount of planning and effort by many people have gone into preparing for the workshop,” he said. “We will refund all registrations for this event.” Frissell said the Science/Program Committee is looking at alternative plans for the HamSCI workshop, which could include an all-electronic meeting. Check the HamSCI workshop website for updates.

In Scotland, the GMDX Convention, set for April 4, has been postponed until later this year, but a new date has not yet been announced. “The current coronavirus situation looks to be escalating, and there will no doubt be a significant increase in severity by the date of the convention,” GMDX Group Chair Rob Ferguson, GM3YTS, said. “We cannot take the risk of holding the convention in these circumstances.”

In England, the Wythall Radio Club has cancelled its March 15 hamfest. “As a responsible club, we have taken this step to minimize any risks to the expected 400+ visitors and traders from the COVID-19 virus, due to the uncertainties regarding the spread of the virus,” the club said.

The Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) has announced the cancellation of several amateur radio events planned for March, in the wake of a government policy requesting that events be canceled, postponed, or reduced in size for the immediate future. Affected events included the West Nippon Ham Fair on March 8, the Chugoku Regional Amateur Radio Direction Finding Competition on March 15, and the Kagawa Ham Festival on March 22. West Nippon Ham Fair organizers said they had considered postponing the event for 6 months, but concluded there was no certainty that the coronavirus situation would be resolved by then.

The Nara DX Association in Japan has postponed the planned V6J IOTA DXpedition to Murilo Island in the Hall Islands at least until next year or later. “We hope the propagation will be better then,” the group said.

Vicenzo Favata, IT9IZY, the president of Italy’s International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) member-society ARI announced this week that the organization’s headquarters in Milan has been closed in line with governmental directives. He noted governmental mandates calling for the suspension of conferences, meetings, and social events while any threat of COVID-19 exists.

Coronavirus concerns also postponed until May 3 a March 8 amateur radio flea market in Iceland, where some 3 dozen COVID-19 cases have been reported.

FUNK TAG (Radio Day) in Kassel, Germany, organized by the DARC and set for April 18, has been cancelled. The DARC Board said it was following the recommendation the federal health minister, who advises avoiding events with more than 1,000 visitors.

Norway’s IARU member-society NRRL postponed its annual general meeting, set for April 19, in line with government recommendations.

The FCC has put new measures in place as a result of the coronavirus situation. Visitors, employees, and contractors who have been in any country subject to a COVID-19-related CDC Level 3 Travel Warning are not allowed to enter FCC facilities. The FCC suspended until further notice any FCC involvement in large, non-critical gatherings involving national or international participants.

Postponed earlier were the March 18 – April 2 T30ET DXpedition to Tarawa (West Kiribati). That may be rescheduled for this fall, assuming the COVID-19 situation is resolved by then. Travel restrictions imposed on individuals entering American Samoa as a result of the coronavirus outbreak also caused Swains Island W8S DXpedition organizers to postpone that DXpedition, tentatively until September 23 – October 6.

In a March 11 announcement, the Dayton Hamvention® Executive Committee, said, “As of now we plan on holding Hamvention unless otherwise directed. It is our intention to follow the orders of the State of Ohio and the Greene County Health Department.”

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