Friday, January 13, 2017

K8ZT’s Contesting Companion
At the last meeting of my local radio club, the Cuyahoga Falls Amateur Radio Club (, I was asked if there were any upcoming contests, so this article is an attempt to answer that question. Hopefully, this will become a continuing column in CFARC’s Chattering Relay. Each month I will provide a list of featured upcoming contests, provide contesting tips and anecdotes. I will also post each month’s article to my Blog-, for future reference or to pass on to non-CFARC friends.

Before I get started with this month’s feature contests, here is the planned monthly format:
  • Links to sites listing contests (by the way, I really dislike underlined pale blue hyperlinks in articles so I usually will use a serifed font dark blue or maroon font, for all links.)
  • A link to a shared Google Calendar of featured contests you can subscribe to. Subscribing will automatically add my featured contests to your Google (Gmail) Calendar (coming soon).
  • My list of featured contests (in order to deal with newsletter deadlines and allow you to plan ahead, I will list contests 6 to 8 weeks out). Please let me know if you have any favorites that I did not feature (
  • Anecdotes and other miscellaneous contesting/award information.

Contesting Site Links

  • Bruce Horn’s WA7BNM Contest Calendar- (probably the most comprehensive listing of contests anywhere).
  • ARRL Contest Calendar (a.k.a. Contest Corral)-
  • - Contesting News, Articles, Surveys, Tips, Calendars & more!
  • SM3CER Contest Service- contests, propogation, DX spots and more.

  • DL2NBY’s Ham Radio Contest Calendars - A somewhat overwhelming but very thorough collection of subscribable Google Calendars (CW, Phone, Digital Contest & Mixed).
  • a place for rumors, bragging, and summaries of current contests. You can upload your claimed score here to share with the world
  • The CQ Magazine Contests- Worldwide DX- PH, CW, RTTY & 160M; WPX- PH, CW & RTTY and DX Marathon (some of the most popular/larger contests).
  • NG3K Amateur Radio Contest/DX Page,, the place to find Announced DX Operations (ADXO) Stations that will be on during Contests plus a wide variety of other tools for Contesters and/or DXers.

Upcoming Contests (a sampling of some of my favorites)

  • January & February 2016 (please note times are in UTC, which is currently 5 hours ahead of our local time so a Saturday contest may actually start on our Friday evening. See the above contest calendars for detailed time and rules)

    • Jan 7/8
      • ARRL RTTY Roundup- a chance to work both the US and DX stations
    • Jan 21/22
      • ARRL January VHF- Great for Technician licenses or those with only VHF/UHF FM equipment. The Portable or Rover categories are great if you do not have antennas up a home or live in a hole!
      • North American QSO Party, SSB. A 10-hour shorty with a friendly pace even for first timers. The exchange is Name and State (you must use your actual state, but the name is up to you, for example, I use AL because it is much shorter than Anthony, it is my initials and I hate being called Tony!)
    • Jan 27-29
      • CQ 160 Meter CW. A great chance to try a new band. A very friendly contest. Don’t worry if you only have a small yard and/or short antenna the stations on the other side of the QSO want the points and most have great receiving antennas (some even have ½ mile Beverages!). Not a CW operator? Then watch for the Phone version of this contest Feb 24-27.

    • Feb 3/4
      • Vermont QSO Party- a small, but fun contest for a small state maybe even one you have not worked for your WAS.
      • 10-10 Winter SSB- If 10 meters is open definitely try to work this one as 10 will be hibernating with upcoming low sunspot years. Primarily a daylight only contest so great for early to bed group. You do not need a 10-10# for exchange but it does make it more fun for details on getting one visit 10-10 International
    • Feb 11/12
    • Feb 18/19
      • ARRL International DX CW- A chance for US/Canadian stations to work stations around the world (remember because you are in the US you cannot contact US/Canadian stations). Lots of activity from around the world and a great chance to start, or complete your DXCC. Don’t forget to visit for announced DX stations that will be operating. If you are not a CW operator, the phone version of this contact is just a few weeks later on March 4-5, 2017 so march your calendars now.
    • Feb 24-27
      • CQ 160 Meter SSB. for those that passed on the CW version of this contest above, do miss this chance to try a new band. A very friendly contest. Don’t worry if you only have a small yard and/or short antenna the stations on the other side of the QSO want the points and most have great receiving antennas (some even have ½ mile Beverages!). Remember if you don’t even try to operate on 160 Meters you will never make contacts there!

Contesting Tips & Anecdotes (Because this was the first month of the column it ran very long, so there is only time for a short anecdote).

Did you ever think about it- Amateur Radio Contesting is the only competition I can think of where you cannot score points unless you provide your competitors with points!