A Guide to May 2023 Ham Radio Contests

Like it does every year, the month of May looms large in the ham radio world, boasting Dayton Hamvention (May 19-21), Four Days in May (May 18-21), and Contest University (May 18—registration open until May 10). If you can’t make it to Contest University to get the latest information on upgrading your stations and improving your scores, there are some opportunities this month to participate in contests that can hone your operating skills for the remainder of 2023 and beyond. Here are a handful of contests to mark on your calendar:

VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest: May 3, May 10, May 17 1700Z to 2000Z. Open to all licensed hams, this contest runs the first Wednesday of every month for 2M, the second Wednesday for 70cm, and the third Wednesday for 23cm. Its purpose according to event coordinators: “Increased activity will provide the possibility of working new DXCC entities or grid squares; also, can make use of short-lived propagation or even detect openings which otherwise can go unnoticed.”

SBMS 2.3 GHz and Up Contest and Club Challenge: May 6, 0600 local to May 7, 2359 local. Hosted by the San Bernardino Microwave Society, established in 1955, this contest encourages operators to work as many amateur stations in as many different locations as possible in North America on bands from 2.3 GHz through light.

Per the SBMS website, the contest follows “the same basic framework as the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest rules” with these major differences: all bands above 2.3 GHz count and there is a bonus for working bands above 24 GHz (three points per km of distance worked on 24 GHz and six points per km of distance worked on 47 GHz and up). Also, there is a club competition and individual winners are recognized for high scores on each band as well as on all bands.

Check out the new Icom IC-905 VHF/UHF/SHF All Mode Base/Portable Transceiver, which offers the capability of operating up to 10 GHz with the optional CX-10G Transverter (sold separately).

His Majesty King of Spain Contest, CW: May 20, 1200Z to May 21, 1200Z. Sponsored by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles (URE), this contest is available to amateurs worldwide. Choose from 14 single- and multi-operator categories. Ham and King of Spain emeritus, Juan Carlos de Borbon, EA0JC, was leader of the country from 1974-2014.

57th Alessandro Volta Worldwide RTTY Contest: May 13, 1200Z to May 14, 1200Z. Hosted by the SSB and RTTY Club COMO and the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani, this annual event is designed to “increase interest in RTTY mode and to honor the Italian discoverer of electricity, Alessandro Volta.” Read contest rules here. Plus, learn the story behind Volta’s amazing work in this article from blogger Kim Klimas. And check out these OnAllBands posts from Ed Muns, W0YK, on RTTY:

U.S. State and Canadian QSO parties* 7th Call Area QSO Party: May 6, 1300Z to May 7, 0700Z (WA, ID, OR, NV, MT, WY, UT, AZ)
* Indiana: May 6, 1500Z to May 7, 0300

* Delaware: May 6, 1700Z to May 7, 2359Z
* New England: May 6, 2000Z to May 7, 0500Z; May 7, 1300Z to 2400Z
* Canadian Prairies: May 13, 1700Z to May 14, 0300Z 
* Arkansas
: May 20, 1400Z to May 21, 0200Z

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