A Guide to March 2021 Ham Radio Contests

As the temperatures outside begin to rise, the contesting calendar begins to heat up as well, with a number of high-profile contests, a sprinkling of State QSO Parties, and some off-the-beaten-path opportunities to sharpen your skills and fill your log books in March:

ARRL International DX, SSB (March 6-7) 0000Z 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 mission of the contest 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.”

Novice Rig Roundup (March 6-14) 0000Z to 2359Z. The 7th Annual Novice Rig Roundup is a super-cool blast of nostalgia for Hams who want to go on the air with the old-school rigs they used when they were Novices, or with the wish-list radios of their youth that they now own.

The Novice Rig Roundup (NRR) is the perfect opportunity to hop in the way-back machine, set the dial to your early Ham shack, and enjoy leisurely and stress-free CW operating like you did as a teen, with all the “whoops,” “chirps,” and “drift” of days gone by. It’s a casual affair that’s all about having fun and claiming bragging rights and award certificates.

Find complete rules, suggested frequencies, loads of vintage rig photos, and how to receive your lifetime NRR membership numberLearn more at the Novice Rig Roundup Facebook page.

And check out this great article from OnAllBands blogger Anthony, K8ZT, on his first rig, a TenTec Argonaut 515.

YB DX RTTY Contest (March 13) 0000Z to 2359Z. All amateurs are welcome to participate in this 24-hour RTTY challenge sponsored by the YB Land (Indonesia) DX Club.

South America 10 Meter Contest (March 13-14) 1200Z to 1200Z. The contest’s objective is for amateurs worldwide to exchange QSO information with as many stations as possible on the 10 meter band. Contacting South American stations from outside the continent will earn you double the points per QSO. From the contest’s website: “(This) competition encourages the amateur radio world to beam their antennas toward South America.” Find everything you need for effective 10M operation at DX Engineering, including antennas, amplifier modification kits, band pass filters, choke kits, tuners, and more.

8th TESLA Memorial HF CW Contest (March 13-14) 1800Z to 0559Z. Hosted by the Amateur Radio Union of Serbia, this annual event honors the legacy of Serbian-American electrical engineer and inventor, Nikola Tesla.

Stew Perry Topband Challenge (March 13-14) 1500Z to 1500Z. Hams can enter this annual 160 meter, CW-only contest as “single operator or multi-operator; high, low or QRP power. Low power is 100 watts or less output. QRP is 5 watts or less. High power is 1,500 watts output or whatever you can legally run in your country, whichever is less,” per the Stew Perry website. The challenge uniquely awards QSO point values based on distance between stations. Click here for complete rules.

EA PSK63 Contest  (March 13-14) 1600Z to 1600Z. Open to all licensed Amateur Radio operators, this contest—organized by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles (URE, or Spanish Amateur Radio Union)—is all about using BPSK63 to make QSOs on the 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands. The maximum power allowed is 50 watts. Both single and multi-operator contesting categories are offered. Founded in 1949, the URE represents the interests of Hams and shortwave listeners in Spain.

CQ WW WPX Contest, SSB (March 27-28) 0000Z to 2359Z. The objective of this 48-hour contest is for contestants to contact as many amateurs and different prefixes as possible.

Also check out these state QSO Parties:

  • Idaho: March 13-14, (1900Z to 1900Z)
  • Oklahoma: March 13-14, March 13 (1400Z to 0200Z) and March 14 (1500Z to 2200Z)
  • Wisconsin: March 14-15 (1800Z to 0100Z)
  • Virginia: March 20-21, March 20 (1400Z to 0400Z) and March 21 (1200Z to 2400Z)

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