Events

A Guide to August 2020 Ham Radio Contests

Even during the Dog Days of August, there’s a great deal of activity in the Ham world, whether you’re into SHF operating or making QSOs with island stations. We’ve compiled a few of the many Amateur Radio contests that should keep you occupied as we move ever closer to “Contest Season.”

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest (August 15-16) 0600 Local to 2400 Local. If you’re a fan of operating on the Super High Frequency (microwave) spectrum, this is your chance to shine. North American amateurs will attempt to contact as many stations in as many different locations as possible in North America on bands from 10 GHz (3-centimeter band) through Light. Amateurs are encouraged to operate from more than one location during this event. Contesters may enter in either “10 GHz only” or “10 GHz and Up” categories. The second weekend of the contest will be September 19-20.

North American QSO Party, SSB (August 15-16) 1800Z to 0559Z. All amateur licensees are eligible to work as many North American stations as possible during the 12-hour contest period.

ARRL Rookie Roundup, RTTY (August 16) 1800Z to 2359Z. From the ARRL, the Rookie Roundups “encourage newly-licensed operators (“Rookies”) in North America (including territories and possessions) to operate on the HF bands and experience competitive Amateur Radio operating. Experienced operators (“Non-Rookies”) are strongly encouraged to participate and help new operators—either on the air or in person.”

W/VE Islands QSO Party (August 29-30) 1200Z to 0300Z. The W/VE Islands QSO Party invites operators worldwide to contact stations on islands in the United States and Canada during the 15-hour event. The objective of the contest is to “promote the U.S. and Canadian islands programs to amateurs worldwide.” Choose from two classes: QRP (5 watts or less) or QRO (greater than 5 watts).

Now in its 26th year, the U.S. Islands Awards Program centers around activating and chasing U.S. river, lake, and shore islands. Per its website, “The W/VE Islands QSO Party is our once a year ‘contest’ that has a class for just about any individual or group. Operate from a friend’s island ‘Fixed’ QTH, take your club on a single island ‘Expedition,’ or go on a mobile or waterborne ‘Rover’ adventure.”

Thinking about activating an island? Here’s a state-by-state U.S. island directory.

Kentucky State Parks on the Air (August 29) 1400Z to 2200Z. The Murray State University Amateur Radio Club (MSUARC) is sponsoring the first Kentucky State Parks on the Air event. Activators will have an opportunity to operate from the Bluegrass State’s 50 parks and nine national sites, while chasers can make CW, SSB, and Digital QSOs with Hams enjoying the diversity of the state’s outdoor areas. The MSUARC was formed in 1960 to provide Hams on campus with a place to safely operate without having to set up antennas in their dorms. Read more about the club here. For further information about the fun of conducting a mini-DXpedition in a park near you, here’s an OnAllBands blog about getting involved in the Parks on the Air (POTA) program.

Also check out these state QSO parties:

  • Maryland-DC: August 8-9 (1400Z to 0400Z)
  • Hawaii: August 22-24 (0400Z to 0400Z)
  • Ohio: August 22-23 (1600Z to 0400Z)
  • Kansas: August 29-30 (1400Z, August 29 to 0200Z, August 30) and (1400Z to 2000Z, August 30)
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