CQ Amateur Radio April 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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4 min

APRIL MCKEESPORT, PENNSYLVANIA — The Two Rivers Amateur Radio Club will hold its 49 th Annual Amateur Radio/Computer Show from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, April 18 at the McKeesport Palisades, 100 Fifth Avenue. Contact Bill Powers, N3GHT, (412) 260-5699. Email: <atsf-bill2@gmail.com>. Website: <http://trarc.net>. Talk-in 146.73 VE exams. WORLDWIDE — The Vienna Wireless Society will host the 2021 ARRL Virginia Section Convention via Zoom from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 24. The free online event will host webinars, workshops, ARES AUXCOMM seminars, and a raffle. Website: <http://bit.ly/VaSecConvSchedule>. MAY SUPERIOR, WISCONSIN — The Arrowhead Radio Amateur Club will hold its HAM FEST! From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 1 at the Head of Lakes Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Building, 4700 Tower Avenue (Wisconsin Hwy. 35). Contact: Robert Schulz, KCØNFB, (218) 481-7458. Email:…

6 min
ham radio news

Dayton Looks Skyward for 2021 Awards While there won’t be an in-person Dayton Hamvention® this year, the Hamvention Awards Committee continued its tradition of honoring the achievements of outstanding amateurs, and three of its four 2021 awardees have their heads in the stars … literally! This year’s Amateur of the Year is Angel Vazquez, WP3R, Head of Telescope Operations at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. In addition to his many ham radio activities associated with the observatory, such as using the big dish antenna for a moon-bounce effort in 2010, Angel also provided emergency communications for area families every day for eight weeks after Hurricane Maria in 2017. He is currently deeply involved in plans to rebuild the main radiotelescope at Arecibo following its collapse last year. The 2021 Technical Achievement Award…

4 min
zero bias: a cq editorial

What does grinding a crystal have in common with winning the CQ World Wide DX Contest? More than you might think… It all started when Lisa Roberts, AL6Y, a protégé of Contributing Editor Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, submitted an article about learning from Eric how to hand-grind vintage crystals to bring them into the ham bands to use with vintage radios. Interesting article for some future issue, I thought. Next, I got KØNEB’s Kit-Building column for this month (p. 50), which is focused on the Four States QRP Group’s “Crystal Spotter,” a kit you can build to tune your receiver to the exact frequency of a crystal-controlled transmitter (nowadays generally QRP). Hmmm, I thought, “some future issue” for Lisa’s article has just become this issue (and you’ll find her article on p.…

5 min
our readers say…

Judy Garland a Ham? Editor, CQ: I enjoyed the “Hams – Past – Present – Future” article (CQ Classics, December 2020) but I take issue with the parenthetical remark “Judy Garland is a ham.” Where did that come from? I’m clearly not an expert on Judy Garland but nothing I have ever read about her life mentioned her being a ham radio operator. She was in a movie with Mickey Rooney where ham radio was part of the plot, but that’s as close as Ms. Garland gets to ham radio, at least in anything I have read about her life. – Rick Markey, KN3C W2VU responds: Hi Rick, I kind of scratched my head about that myself, since I had also never heard anything about her being a ham. I wish I could ask the author…

9 min
optimizing on-the-air practices in ft8

I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time operating the FT8 digital mode. For those unaware of what FT8 is, this is a digital communications mode often referred to as a “sound card mode.” The creators of this mode are Joe Taylor, K1JT, and Steven Franke, K9AN. The FT8 operating mode is part of the WSJT-X program. It operates using frequency-shift keying and requires only 50 Hz of bandwidth per signal. Either the computer’s sound card or an external sound card is used along with specialized software to decode the signal for receiving and encode the signal for transmitting. This article is not about teaching how to set up your hardware or software. The focus of this article is on good operating procedures and tips for better…

2 min
how to accurately measure surface-mount resistors

The accurate method for measuring a surface-mount resistor is called “The Four-Lead Kelvin Connection.” Current is put through the resistor and voltage is measured across the resistor as shown in the upper part of Figure 1. The important point to understand is that there are four separate connections to the resistor so that the current connection contact resistance is not included in the resistor’s measurement. When the DVM (digital voltmeter) is (typically) connected at A and B, there will be an error in the resistor’s measured/calculated value because contact resistance is added at the two current connections. To accurately measure LOW-value surface-mount resistors, cut a thin (0.010-inch) slit across the copper of a circuit board as shown in the lower part of the diagram. Connect an accurate 1-mA, 10-mA, or 0.1-A constant…