Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog. I would like to start off by apologizing for my lapse of posts and not staying with the schedule that I set for myself. I had planned on posting on Sundays and Thursdays. Unfortunately, RL got in the way this week. My wife and I, are in the process of becoming foster parents and we had our last classes this week as well as trying to get our house ready to receive children. So, that took a front seat to my time. Lets see if we can get back on track now. In this post, we will be covering Awards and Contests.
Lets talk about Contests first off. The biggest contest in amateur radio actually just finished up yesterday, Field Day. Field day occurs on the last full weekend every June and runs from 1800 Saturday to 1800 Sunday UTC time, so my time it goes from goes from 1300 Saturday to 1300 Sunday. I have participated in several of these events in the past, unfortunately I wasn’t able to this year. The concept of Field day is to setup a station that is not a permanent setup and operate for the 24 hours and try to get as many contacts as possible. There are several different classes of operation during field day. Everything from a totally emergency setup using generators, temporary antennas and radios to personal stations at home to the newest category, Emergency Operations Center stations. It is a great way to get together with friends and/or new friends and get on the air on a band that you may not have access to with your own license class, since everyone that participates in a field day event uses one callsign per station, normally someone that has a Extra class license.
The Amateur Radio Relay League(ARRL) sponsors several contests though-out the year. Check out their contest information website at http://www.arrl.org/contests. There are contests at least once or twice a week and they range from everything from voice to CW(morse code), to RTTY. RTTY is a digital mode that we will cover in a later post. There are contests that are run from Lighthouses scattered all over the US, retired navy ships, and so many others. Contesting can be a fun thing to do, but it can also be kind of stressful if you are the one that has a bunch of people trying to contact you at one time.
Official Awards given by the ARRL can be fun to strive for. Of course you could also have club level awards given out and those vary from club to club. As far as the official ARRL awards, there are quite a few of them. I am just going to briefly touch on a few of them, but if you would like to read more about them, check out the ARRL website awards page at http://www.arrl.org/awards.
The most prestigious award given by the ARRL is the DXCC award. You can get this award when you make and confirm contacts in 100 of the different DX regions. There is several different types of this award and different ways that you can get this award. I, unfortunately, haven’t looked into this very much until I started writing this post so I’m not entirely sure of how it works. Maybe I will write a later post about this and go into more detail.
Another one is the Worked All Continents(WAC) award. You get this award when you make and confirm a contact on all of the six continents (North America, South America, Oceania, Asia, Europe and Africa). This can be done one a variety of bands and modes. You can go even further with this award and do the 5 band WAC award by working all six continents on each of the 5 primary bands of 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 Meters. The basic award is fairly easy to get, the Five-band WAC is probably a little harder.
On a smaller, but larger scope there is also a Worked All States(WAS). As you can probably guess after reading the above paragraph, you get this award when you work and confirm contacts in all 50 states in the US. You can go even further on this award by getting the Triple Play Award which requires you to make contacts on voice, cw, and digital modes in each of the 50 states.
In the same line as the last award, there is the Fred Fish Memorial Award. This award is given when you make a contact in each of the 488 Maidenhead grid squares in the 48 contiguous states. The only catch to this award is all contacts must be made on the 6m band. This award is named after Fred Fish, who was the first ham to do this.
There are several other awards that are offered by the ARRL. Check out their website for more information. Like I said before these are just the awards that are offered by the ARRL.
I hope the you learned a little something from this post that might spark your interest in becoming a ham or if you already are a ham, hopefully this post taught you something that you didn’t know and might spark your interest in expanding your ham radio experience. As always, please bookmark and share my blog with your friends or maybe someone that you know that might want to get their license.
73 de Curtis, K5CLM