News Updated 1/15/2021

Dayton Hamvention Cancels 2021 Show

Dayton Hamvention® has been canceled for the second year.

“Unfortunately, several setbacks in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic make necessary the difficult decision to cancel Hamvention 2021,” a January 11 announcement from the Hamvention Executive Committee said. Sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), Hamvention was set to take place May 21 – 23 in Xenia, Ohio.

“Hundreds of volunteers have been working to do everything necessary to bring this Hamvention to the many amateur radio enthusiasts and vendors who support the Dayton Hamvention,” the committee continued. “Vaccine distribution both in the United States and around the world is lagging behind what was planned. In addition, the emergence of a more communicable form of the COVID-19 virus increases the potential for further public health problems in the next few months. We make this difficult decision for the safety of our guests and vendors.” Tickets deferred last year will be deferred again until 2022.

The Hamvention Committee hinted at a QSO party for Hamvention weekend. In November, Hamvention had announced that “The Gathering” would be the theme for the 2021 show.

Hamvention is the largest annual amateur radio gathering in the US, and was the host of the ARRL National Convention for its last event, held in 2019. The ARRL Hamfest and Convention Calendar includes a searchable database that includes other canceled in-person events.

FCC Invites Comments on Expanding the Number of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators

In a January 5 Public Notice, the FCC requested comments on whether the current 14 Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs) are sufficient to facilitate the efforts of their accredited Volunteer Examiners (VEs) in administering amateur radio examinations, or whether it should authorize up to five additional VECs. Comments are due by February 5, and reply comments are due by February 19. After Congress authorized it to do so, the FCC adopted rules in 1983 to allow volunteers to prepare and administer amateur radio examinations, and it established the system of VECs and VEs. The ARRL VEC is the largest of the 14 VECs in the US.

“VECs introduced consistency into the volunteer examiner program by centralizing accreditation of volunteer examiners, coordinating the dates and times for scheduling examinations, and managing the various administrative tasks arising from examinations,” the FCC said. Authorized VECs may operate in any of the 13 VEC regions, but must service at least one region. The FCC pointed out that some VECs now offer remote examinations.

“The Commission has long maintained 14 VECs and now seeks to consider whether they continue to serve the evolving needs of the amateur community, or whether there are unmet needs that warrant considering expanding the number of VECs,” the FCC said.

The FCC Public Notice provided questions for framing comments:

  • Are the existing 14 VECs sufficient to coordinate the efforts of Volunteer Examiners in preparing and administering examinations for amateur radio operator licenses, or are additional VECs needed?
  • What needs are currently being met, and which needs, if any, are not?
  • If the FCC were to allow additional VECs, how many more would be needed to satisfy existing Amateur Radio Service license examination needs? (The FCC indicated that it would likely cap the number of additional VECs at five.)
  • Given that VECs use a collaborative process to create examination question pools and volunteer examination administration protocols, would additional VECs enhance or hinder this process?
  • How would increasing the number of VECs address the unmet needs, if any, of the amateur radio community, and what obstacles or complications could result from increasing the number of VECs?

Interested parties may file short comments on WT Docket No. 21-2 via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing Service (Express). Visit the FCC’s “How to Comment on FCC Proceedings” page for information on filing extended comments.