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CQ Highlights - April 2021


You probably know that FT8 is the hot new digital mode, but do you know the "best practices" of proper FT8 etiquette? Continuing CQ's long-running tradition of providing readers with info on "how to work it" on new modes as well as "how it works," we start off this issue with a guide to FT8 operating practices by N2SQW, followed by tips from K2AOP on how to measure the values of surface-mount resistors.

Next up are the SSB results of the 2020 CQ World Wide DX Contest, which set participation records as a result of Covid travel restrictions, and the rules (such as they are) for the 20th annual CQ World Wide Foxhunting Weekend in May; along with our annual visit from Professor Heisseluft … who writes about a new effort to eradicate malaria and how hams can help monitor and report on its progress. [BONUS: See box below on a "CQ Classic" of Professor Heisseluft's prophetic 1994 article, "Ionospheric Propagation on Mars," posted here on our website!]

Finally among our features, AL6Y shares her first experience in hand-grinding quartz crystals to change their frequencies, an article that ended up having ripple effects throughout the issue, as Editor W2VU explains in his "Zero Bias" editorial.

Among our April columns, "Math's Notes" editor WA2NDM introduces non-metallic amateur antennas; EmComm Editor N8BHL reports on a survey of Section Emergency Coordinators around the U.S. on the current state of amateur radio EmComm; "Learning Curve" editor KO0Z looks at severe weather nets; and "Magic in the Sky" editor AA6JR brings us the latest installment of the "Dear Hammy" advice column.

Kit-Building Editor K0NEB tunes in the Four-States QRP Group's Crystal Spotter kit; "Communications Horizons" editor K8RKD looks into the future at "the golden age of audio" and AG4W joins Awards Editor KI4KWR to share his story of "Starting an Awards Journey."

Antennas are the focus of three columns this month … QRP Editor KA8SMA revisits the compact Sabretooth antenna; MF/LF Editor KB5NJD looks at using and protecting the separate receive antenna port on many modern transceivers; and Antennas Editor WA5VJB heats up the airwaves with a close look at antenna temperature. (Yes, it's a real thing.)

Finally, we welcome our new VHF-Plus Editor, Trent Fleming, N4DTF; Contesting Editor N3QE looks at the balance between contacts and multipliers in a contest; and Propagation Editor NW7US reports that what we've been reporting for months is now official: the folks who make such pronouncements have declared that Solar Cycle 25 has officially begun and that Cycle 24's solar minimum occurred in December 2019.

You'll find all that and much more in the pages of the April issue of CQ magazine. Click here to subscribe!.

BONUS ARTICLE! We ran out of space in the issue for this month's "CQ Classic" article – Professor Heisseluft's prophetic 1994 article, "Ionospheric Propagation on Mars." We thought it would be particularly appropriate to reprise this article now, considering the recent landing of the Perseverance rover on the red planet, as well as reports of hams monitoring transmissions from spacecraft in Mars orbit. So through the magic of the web, we've got it here for you anyway, even though it got squeezed out of the magazine. Just click here or go to the "CQ Overtime" link on our home page and click on the article title.

Articles from the April, 2021, issue of CQ posted on our website include:

Zero Bias – Serendipitous Synergy
CQ Classic (1994): "Ionospheric Propagation on Mars" by Professor Heisseluft
Announcing: The20th Annual CQ World Wide Foxhunting Weekend
April/May 2021 Contest Calendar
April/May 2021 Hamfests and Special Events


On the cover: Contesting during COVID … Rol Anders, K3RA, follows strict safety protocols as he operates W3LPL in Glenwood, Maryland during the 2020 CQWW SSB DX Contest. (Cover photo by Mark Bailey, KD4D)


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