CQ Amateur Radio January 2021

CQ is the magazine for active hams, with a focus on the practical. Every article is clearly written and aimed at involving you, the reader...whether it's a story of operating from some exotic location, an article to deepen your understanding of ham radio science and technology, or a fun-to-build project that will have practical use in your ham shack. Join us on our monthly journey through the broad and varied landscape of the world's most fascinating hobby!

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CQ Communications, Inc.
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3 min

COVID-19 UPDATE The COVID-19 pandemic has radically altered plans for any social gathering and hamfests and ham radio-related conferences are taking a huge hit. CQ urges all readers to please check with the organizers of these events to ensure the event will still be held. JANUARY LOCUST FORK, ALABAMA — The Blount County Amateur Radio Club will hold Freezefest 2021 on Saturday, January 2 at the Locust Fork High School, 155 School Road. Website: <http://w4blt.org>. Talk-in 146.700 (PL 91.5). BETHPAGE, NEW YORK — Ham Radio University will be held virtually on Saturday, March 9 due to restrictions from COVID-19. For more information, visit <http://hamradiouniversity.org>. LAWRENCEVILLE, GEORGIA — The Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society will hold the 2021 TechFest from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, January 16 at the Gwinnett Medical Resource Center, 665 Duluth Highway.…

6 min
ham radio news

ARRL: FCC Should Waive Fees on Amateur Applications The ARRL has told the FCC it has the power to waive fees on amateur radio applications and should do so. In comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that set up a new fee schedule for all licensed services, including a $50 fee for virtually all amateur applications, the League said Congress has never specified fees for amateur applications (except vanity calls) and that the FCC is authorized to waive fees if it would be in the public interest. According to the ARRL Letter, the services provided by volunteer examiners, VE coordinators, and the Volunteer Monitor program save the Commission money in ways that other services don’t, in addition to amateur radio’s longstanding role in providing emergency and disaster communications at no cost…

8 min
zero bias: a cq editorial

Following up last month’s editorial on “Looking Back at a Year of Looking Back,” I think it’s appropriate to start 2021, our 77th year of publication, with a look ahead. This year will be one of new beginnings … a new decade, a new sunspot cycle, new leadership for the FCC with whatever that may portend for amateur radio. As I write this, we’re also on the cusp of having a vaccine for the coronavirus, and the new year will hopefully bring us a return to some semblance of normalcy. Amateur radio has been a great antidote to the restrictions imposed in many places to help slow the spread of the virus. Social distancing, or what we’ve been calling social DXing, has been a part of ham radio’s fabric since its…

4 min
news bytes

Arecibo: End of an Era for a Ham-Connected Radiotelescope The December 1st collapse of the instrument platform at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico reverberated in the ham community as well as the astronomy / radioastronomy world. Officials had hoped to be able to safely disassemble the 900-ton telescope suspended 400 feet above the observatory’s 1,000-foot dish after determining in November that repairs would be impossible after two cable breaks over the past several months. A dramatic video of the collapse is available online at <https://tinyurl.com/y29wbp9x>. One of the observatory’s ham radio connections is Head of Telescope Operations Angel Vazquez, WP3R. He explained what happened on the morning of December 1st in a video posted on Twitter by Wilbert Andrés Ruperto at <https://tinyurl.com/y6p83oqs>, and posted the following on the HamSCI reflector on…

6 min
fp/w1uf — setting a new dxpedition “record”

I have not been a pilot for as long as I’ve been a ham — but it seems that way. My first flying lesson was in 1953. I have been a ham since 1947. But looking back from today’s perspective, they are virtually concurrent. Combining the two hobbies is a special plus. When 2-meter repeaters came along, I set up one of the air-to-ground VHF antennas on my then-current airplane — a Beechcraft Bonanza — so I could connect a handheld and enjoy the line-of-sight from altitude. Home base was Hanscom Field near Boston, Massachusetts. Back in the ’60s, I had a non-ham partner on the Bonanza who loved to fish. Jack and I made flights to northern New England and to Quebec and the Maritimes with fishing in mind. Some…

14 min
refurbishing a collins r-390-a//urr series receiver

Plus, the Evolution of a Cold War Warrior 1950-1955 Prior to 1950, the U.S. military had been operating the Collins 51J series of receivers. The Army Signal Corps then approached Collins to develop a more advanced receiver to cover a frequency range of 500 kHz to 32 MHz. The Army also wanted improved selectivity, frequency accuracy, image rejection, dynamic range, stability, and good electro-mechanical design. Thus was born an engineering miracle, the Collins R-390//URR communications receiver. The Contract and Security The Collins R-390//URR was to be capable of receiving amplitude modulation (AM), frequency-shift keying (FSK), CW, and MCW (modulated CW). The details were covered under U.S. Signal Corps specifications SCL-1134-B, and contract No: W36-39-sc-44552. This order was placed by the U.S. Army Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and it was…