August 2023 Guide to Ham Radio Contests

The Dog Days of Summer still have some serious bite when it comes to ham radio contests. August offers up a great mix of events for just about everyone, including the annual Perseid meteor-scatter contest; ARRL’s Super High Frequency challenge, Rookie Roundup, and EME contest; and plenty of State QSO Parties, including the Ohio party—an event near and dear to the many native Buckeyes at DX Engineering, headquartered in Tallmadge, Ohio. Enjoy!

HARC 90th Special Call Sign Promotion: Until August 20. One of Canada’s oldest ham radio groups, the Halifax Amateur Radio Club is celebrating 90 years of operation this year. Club members are encouraged to use the special call signs VC1933 or VC1HARC90 with the objective of making contact with as many amateur radio stations worldwide as possible. Open to hams globally, the HARC 90th Anniversary QSO Party runs from August 5, 0001Z to August 6, 2359Z.

NRAU (Nordic Radio Amateur Union) 10M Activity Contest: August 3, 1700Z to 1800Z (CW); 1800Z to 1900Z (SSB); 1900Z to 2000Z (FM); and 2000Z to 2100Z (Digital). Here’s a great chance to take advantage of 10M openings compliments of Solar Cycle 25. Looking for gear to enhance your 10M capabilities? Click to read about some antenna upgrades available at 

European HF Championship: August 5, 1200Z to 2359Z. Canceled in 2022, this contest organized by the Slovenia Contest Club is set to resume in 2023. Three new categories have been added for this year’s contest: Single-Op-Unlimited, Single-Op QRP, and One-Band (160M-6M). Access the latest rules here.

ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest: August 5, 1800Z to August 6, 1800Z. Work as many stations as possible on the 222 MHz through 241 GHz bands using any allowable mode. A station in a specific grid locator may be contacted from the same location only once on each band, regardless of mode.

MMMonVHF/DUBUS 144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest: August 12, 0400Z to August 14, 0359Z. MMMonVHF, in cooperation with the magazines DUBUS and Funk-Telegramm, invites you to take part in the 16th edition of the “144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest” during the maximum of the Perseid meteor shower. Per the contest website, the meteor shower will be active until August 24. Its maximum is estimated to occur on Sunday, August 13, between 0700 UTC and 1400 UTC.

This is a great chance to take a crack at one of the coolest aspects of the hobby. Better yet, it’s an activity that’s open to Technician license holders. For other ideas on getting the most from punching your ticket, check out this article by OnAllBands blogger Sean Kutzko, KX9X, on 15 Things to Do with a Technician License.

Here’s another way to get involved in the excitement. Founded in 1988, the International Meteor Organization is a collection of meteor observers from around the world who ensure “the comprehensive study of meteor showers and their relation to comets and interplanetary dust,” per the group’s website. Check out how to become a member.

ARRL EME Contest: August 12, 0000Z to August 13, 2359Z. The object of this annual event is to work as many amateur stations as possible via the earth-moon-earth path on any authorized amateur frequency above 50 MHz. August 12-13 and September 9-10 are designated for 2.3 GHz and up. October 28-29 and November 25-26 are for 50 to 1296 MHz.

Kentucky State Parks on the Air: August 12, 1400Z to 2200Z. The Murray State University Amateur Radio Club (MSUARC) is sponsoring its annual 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. Makeup date is August 26.

Keymen’s Club of Japan Contest: August 19, 1200Z to August 20, 1200Z. Formed in 1976, the Keymen’s Club of Japan is devoted to promoting CW operation on the amateur bands. Find club history and contest rules at the KCJ website.

SARTG WW RTTY Contest: August 19, 0000Z to 0800Z and 1600Z to 2400Z; August 20, 0800Z to 1600Z. This annual RTTY-only event is sponsored by the Scandinavian Amateur Radio Teleprinter Group.

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest: August 19, 0600 Local to August 20, 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) 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 16-17.

For those interested in 10 GHz operation, you’ll find the Icom IC-905 VHF/UHF/SHF All Mode Base/Portable Transceiver at The rig boasts operating capability up to 10 GHz with the optional CX-10G Transverter (sold separately).

North American QSO Party, SSB: August 19, 1800Z to August 20, 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 20, 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 26, 1200Z to August 27, 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 29th 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.

Also check out these state QSO parties:

  • Maryland-DC: August 12, 1400Z to August 13, 0400Z
  • Hawaii: August 26, 0400Z to August 28, 0400Z
  • Ohio: August 26, 1600Z to August 27, 0400Z
  • Kansas: August 26, 1400Z to August 27, 0200Z; August 27, 1400Z to 2000Z

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