Guide to February 2023 Ham Radio Contests

With the arrival of February, love is once again in the air and on the air at OnAllBands! While many hams pursue their amateur radio adventures separate from a disinterested, tolerant, or, hopefully, supportive spouse, there are those couples who share a marriage license as well as amateur radio licenses. You can read about perhaps the most famous ham radio couple, Lloyd (W6KG) and Iris (W6QL) Colvin, in this excellent article about the YASME Foundation.

As we did last year, OnAllBands would like to take a moment to honor those who have found wedded bliss by filling logbooks together (cue the B-52’s massive 1989 hit “Love Shack”). With respect to Jeff Foxworthy, you may be one of these amateur radio lovebirds…

  • If your idea of the perfect date is taking turns shoveling dirt for a new vertical antenna in the backyard.
  • If your wedding registry included “galvanized turnbuckles” and “ladder line” rather than “pickle forks” and “charcuterie boards.”
  • If you think the lyric “When the moon hits your eye…” is referring to EME.
  • If you’re both perfectly content holding handhelds rather than holding hands.
  • And a favorite from last year—If you’ve ever written this poem inside a card: “Roses are red, violets are blue, my best QSO was when I hooked up with you!”

There are plenty of opportunities to fall in love with amateur radio contesting in February, including RTTY action, the first State QSO Parties of 2023, PSK31 on Valentine’s Day, 10-meter and Topband challenges, and much more. Here are a few highlights:

Mexico RTTY International Contest, February 4, 1200Z to February 5, 2359Z. Now in its 25th year, this annual contest hosted by the Federacion Mexicana De Radioexperimentadores encourages amateurs from around the world to contact other amateurs on 3.5 to 28 MHz (WARC bands prohibited) in baudot RTTY mode.

European Union DX Contest, February 4, 1200Z to February 5, 1200Z. In this 24-hour CW/SSB worldwide c0ntest, the European Union acts a multiplier.

British Columbia QSO Party, February 4, 1600Z to February 5, 0359Z, and February 5, 1600Z to 2359Z. Check out these helpful hints for BC stations to maximize Q potential by taking advantage of other contests happening this weekend.

10-10 International Winter Contest, SSB, February 4, 0001Z to February 5, 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 10 meters. 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 8, 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 Club website.

OMISS (O.M. International Sideband Society) QSO Party, February 11, 1500Z to February 12, 1500Z. Check out these tips for being successful in this SSB-only contest. Per the OMISS website, “OMISS, or O.M. International Sideband Society, has been operating list-type awards nets on the General Amateur bands since 1981. Want to get your WAS quickly? This is a great place to get it done. Do you like to work lots of stations for unique awards? We have several challenging awards to work for, each with an attractive certificate to hang on your wall. Do you like contesting? We hold an annual QSO Party and invite the whole Amateur community.”

CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest, February 11, 0000Z to February 12, 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. Also, get ready for the North American RTTY Collegiate Championship, February 25, 1800Z to February 26, 0559Z. It will be running simultaneously with the North American QSO Party, RTTY. For a primer on RTTY, check out these OnAllBands articles from Ed Muns, W0YK: Getting Started in RTTY and The Origins and Evolution of RTTY.

ARRL School Club Roundup, February 13, 1300Z to February 17, 2359Z. This bi-annual event is designed to foster contacts with and among school radio clubs. Participants can exchange QSO information with any amateur radio station, so non-school clubs and individuals are encouraged to participate as well. All amateur bands except 60, 30, 17, and 12 meters are permitted.

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.

ARRL International DX, CW, February 18, 0000Z to February 19, 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 24, 2200Z to February 26, 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.

Want to boost your Topband capabilities in 2023? Check out the high-performance, 55-foot-tall DX Engineering 160 Meter Thunderbolt Antenna, rated at 5,000 watts SSB and CW. Its high-efficiency design features a capacity hat engineered for top performance, rugged construction, an adjustable matching network to help you achieve the lowest SWR, low take-off angle to reduce local QRM, and the ability to withstand steady winds of 50 MPH.

State QSO Parties

  • Vermont, February 4, 0000Z to February 5, 2400Z
  • Minnesota, February 4, 1400Z to 2400Z
  • South Carolina, February 25, 1500Z to February 26, 0159Z
  • North Carolina, February 26, 1500Z to February 27, 0100Z

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