CQ Amateur Radio February 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. FEBRUARY FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA — The Northern Arizona DX Association will air a special event station W7P from Saturday, February 13 through Sunday February 21 every year until 2030 to commemorate the discovery of Pluto from the Lowell Observatory by Clyde Tombaugh. Every year will feature a new QSL card and a special endorsement is available if you contact Doug Tombaugh, N3PDT, Clyde’s nephew. Website: <www.nadxa.com>. ORLANDO, FLORIDA — The Orlando Amateur Radio Club will hold the Orlando Hamcation 2021 Special Edition virtually beginning Saturday, February 13 through Sunday, February…

6 min
ham radio news

Major Hamfests — Including Dayton — Fall Victim to COVID As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, hopes for returning to a “normal” schedule of in-person hamfests have been pushed further into the future. The Dayton Hamvention® Executive Committee announced in mid-January that it had reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s event, blaming the slower-than-planned rate of vaccinations and the emergence of a new, more communicable, strain of the virus. Dayton’s action followed a decision by Ham-Com (Dallas) to close permanently after 41 years. In addition, the Orlando Hamcation has announced that it will hold an all-virtual event in February and SEA-PAC has decided to move to an all-virtual event this June. Also on the virtual hamfest calendar is the second running of the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo in March. This event,…

5 min
zero bias: a cq editorial

The FCC tells us that “(a)n amateur station must use the minimum transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired communications.”1 Question: How seriously do most of us take that rule? And how do we determine just what the minimum necessary power is to carrying out the desired communications? Do we start with high power, turn it down until the other station can’t hear us and then turn it back up a little? Do we start out low and slowly increase power until the other station can hear us? Or do we start with our transmitter’s default maximum power setting (100 watts for most current HF rigs; 50 watts for many VHF FM transceivers) and just leave it there, unless we’re actively trying to see how far we can turn…

3 min
news bytes

Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, Named 2021 Carole Perry Educator of the Year Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, of Bloomington, Indiana, has been named as the 2021 Carole Perry Educator of the Year by the Orlando Amateur Radio Club. Rapp, who claims to have been the youngest person ever issued an amateur radio license when he earned his Novice license at age 5 in 1976, is a high school chemistry teacher and long-time advisor to his school’s amateur radio club. He is also the coordinator of the IARU Region 2 Youth on the Air program and will be director of the YOTA summer camp later this year. Neil is a member of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station U.S. Education Committee (one of his classes also sent an experiment to the ISS), was…

1 min
qrp quickies

We have once again collected short stories from several QRP enthusiasts about their adventures in low-power operating (special thanks to Gary Wilson, K2GW, for his help). K2QFA takes us skiing and moonbouncing with his FT-818 and VE3IPS shares not only the story of “quarantine-building” a 4-States QRP Group “Bayou Jumper” but some personal family history of the World War II resistance in Italy! But we’ll start with AC2YD, who wrote that he wasn’t sure his story was publication-worthy, but I told him that it captures the soul of QRP! – W2VU…

4 min
what two watts can do

I’m astonished at what 2 watts can do … physics and nature are amazing! I got my Novice license as a sophomore in high school in 1970 (credit to a mostly youth-populated radio club at the local YMCA), and a year-and-a-half later, upgraded to General and then Advanced, working mostly CW, 60-100 watts, on 80, 40, and 15 meters, with a little bit of 20 and 10 thrown in. I earned WAS, WAC, DXCC, and operated contests … LOVED IT! Then, soon after college, I dropped it, responding to other pulls and tugs of life … but it was always with me, and having an understanding of radio proved invaluable for my engineering career. Return from Exile After retiring in 2016, I heard the siren call again, got my Extra in 2018, and set…