A Guide to February 2021 Ham Radio Contests

It’s February, and love—of Ham Radio, of course—is in the air! There are plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself and your fellow Hams this month, including PSK31, RTTY, CW, 10 meter, vintage radio, and State QSO Party events. Here are a few highlights:

  • 10-10 International Winter Contest, SSB (February 6-7) 0001Z to 2359Z. This QSO party (one of nine held by the organization annually) is open to new and prospective members of Ten-Ten International Net, Inc., which was formed in 1962 as the Ten-Ten Net of Southern California to promote activity and good operating practices on the 10 meter band. Over the years the group has expanded internationally, with more than 75,000 10-10 numbers issued worldwide. Here is a list of affiliated chapters. From the Ten-Ten website:

“In order to keep the interest up on the 10 meter band, the idea of collecting ‘10-10 numbers’ as an incentive in keeping the 10 meter band occupied was developed. The ultimate benefit is to keep the 10 meter band for Amateur Radio. Personally, each member enjoys the camaraderie of kindred spirits, whether the activity is informal rag-chewing or numbers chasing or a more formal 10-10 QSO party.”

  • NAQCC CW Sprint (February 10) 0130Z to 0330Z. With more than 10,000 members in 103 countries, the North American QRP CW Club hosts these CW sprints throughout the year. Open to licensed and shortwave listeners who have an interest in CW/QRP operation, these events and other club activities encourage “the use of CW and helping all hams increase CW speed and proficiency…using simple wire antennas,” per the NAQCC CW website.
  • CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest (February 13-14) 0000Z to 2359Z. This annual event draws more than 20,000 RTTY enthusiasts trying to make as many contacts with as many different callsign prefixes as possible.
  • PODXS 070 Club Valentine Sprint (February 14) 0000Z to 2359Z. For those with a soft spot for PSK31 mode, this is a Valentine’s Day treat that will let you make connections without the use of Cupid’s arrow. Work as many stations on 160/80/40 meters as possible using PSK31 mode during a six-hour block. This event is open to all Amateur Radio operators licensed to operate on the HF bands.
  • AWA Amplitude Modulation QSO Party (February 13-14) 2300Z to 2300Z. You don’t need to be a member of the Antique Wireless Association to participate in this annual celebration of the AM mode. Per the AWA website:

“Although vintage gear is encouraged, you will hear modern gear on during this event. Whatever generates an AM signal may be used. This event has some of the friendliest people you will hear on the air. You will notice a nice relaxed format where people often chat between QSOs. In addition, there are some pretty good multipliers based on the power of your transmitter. If you have a great antenna, it pays to turn down the power.”

  • ARRL International DX, CW (February 20-21) 000Z to 2359Z. W/VE amateurs (anyone from the U.S. or Canada): Work as many DX stations in as many DXCC entities as possible on the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands. DX stations: Work as many W/VE stations in as many of the 48 contiguous states and provinces as possible.

Per the ARRL, the contest’s objective is to “encourage W/VE stations to expand knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, improve operating skills, and improve station capability by creating a competition in which DX stations may only contact W/VE stations.”

  • CQ 160 Meter Contest, SSB (February 26-28) 2200Z to 2200Z. This annual contest challenges amateurs around the world to contact other amateurs in as many U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and countries as possible utilizing the 160 meter band.

State QSO Parties

  • Vermont (February 6-7), 0000Z to 2400Z
  • Minnesota (February 6), 1400Z to 2400Z
  • South Carolina (February 27-28), 1500Z to 0159Z

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