A Guide to April 2021 Ham Radio Contests

Spring is the time when State QSOs kick into high gear. So whether you’re an activator or a chaser, it’s a great time to be a Ham! Also check out a couple of state parks on-the-air events, an SSB sprint, and a challenge for you low-power aficionados:

North American SSB Sprint Contest (April 4) 0000Z to 0400Z. This single-operator contest on 80, 40, and 20 meters provides a four-hour adrenaline rush for top operators and those looking to hone their skills during a frenzied window of activity. Three power level categories (up to 1,500W, up to 100W, and up to 5W) are available. If you’re used to making hay by planting yourself on a frequency and running stations at will, that won’t work here. The contest’s special QSY rule makes sure nimbleness ultimately wins the day. Per the sprint contest website:

“Unlike most contests, the SSB Sprint has a QSY rule that prevents contestants from CQing on the same frequency over and over. In the SSB Sprint, if you call CQ and then work a station, you must QSY at least 5kHz before you can call CQ again or at least 1kHz before calling another station. Because of the Sprint QSY rule, most competitors find Searching and Pouncing (S&P) for new QSOs to be more rewarding than it is to call CQ. S&P QSOs generally make for two quick QSOs per frequency rather than one.”

While it’s only a single-ops contest, participants can combine separate scores to earn team awards. Sound like fun? It sure does to us! Click here for complete rules.

Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest (April 10-11) 2100Z to 2100Z. This annual CW-only event is in honor of Yuri Gagarin, the Russian pilot and cosmonaut who orbited the Earth on April 12, 1961, in the Vostok 1 capsule, becoming the first human to journey into outer space. A national hero, Gagarin died on March 27, 1968 during a routine training flight when his MiG-15UTI crashed near the town of Kirzhach.

QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party (April 10) 0000Z to 0600Z. QRP American Radio Club International—a club for low-power enthusiasts worldwide—sponsors this annual spring event for Hams who strive to do more with less. The HF CW-only contest offers all-band, single band, high bands (20M, 15M, 10M) and low bands (80M, 40M) entrance categories. To participate: “Get on any of the HF bands except the WARC bands and hang out near the QRP frequencies. Work as many stations calling CQ QRP or CQ TEST as possible, or call CQ QRP or CQ TEST yourself! You can work a station for credit once on each band,” per the QRP ARCI website.  

U.S. State—and one Canadian Province—QSO parties:

  • Mississippi: April 3-4 (1400Z to 0200Z)
  • Louisiana: April 3-4 (1400Z to 0200Z)
  • Nebraska: April 10-11 (1300Z to 0100Z) April 10 and (1300Z to 2200Z) April 11
  • New Mexico: April 10-11 (1400Z to 0200Z)
  • Georgia: April 10-11 (1800Z to 0359Z) April 10 and (1400Z to 2359Z) April 11
  • North Dakota: April 10-11 (1800Z to 1800Z)
  • Michigan: April 17-18 (1600Z to 0400Z)
  • Ontario: April 17-18 (1800Z to 0500Z) April 17 and (1200Z to 1800Z) April 18
  • Florida: April 24-25 (1600Z to 0159Z) April 24 and (1200Z to 2159Z) April 25

State Parks on the Air

  • Florida: April 3-4 (1400Z to 2200Z) April 3 and (1400Z to 2200Z) April 4
  • Texas: April 17-18 (1400Z to 0200Z)

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