Guide to January 2023 Ham Radio Contests

While it’s impossible to predict what’s in store for 2023 (though things look increasingly promising for Cycle 25!), one thing can be chiseled in stone: Every month offers exciting and varied challenges for ham radio operators of all skill levels. The year’s inaugural month is no different. Maybe this is the year you try RTTY, resurrect your pre-1950s gear for truly old-school operating, or venture onto the frozen tundra of your backyard or nearby park to make some cold-weather QSOs? Great news—it’s all possible in January!

ARRL RTTY Roundup, January 7, 1800Z to January 8, 2400Z. Amateurs worldwide contact and exchange QSO information with other amateurs using digital modes (Baudot RTTY, PSK, FT8/FT4, ASCII, AMTOR, and Packet—attended operation only) on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. Any station may work any other station. Stations may be worked once per band, regardless of mode. Automated operation is not permitted; each claimed contact must include contemporaneous direct initiation by the operator on both sides of the contact. 

North American QSO Party, CW, January 14, 1800Z to January 15, 0559Z. From the National Contest Journal: “The North American QSO Parties are favorites of beginners and seasoned operators alike. The NAQPs are low-power only (no amplifiers allowed) which makes for a lot more breathing room on the bands. Small stations can generate very effective ‘runs’ in the NAQP contests. Multipliers count once per band, which makes for an exciting format, as multipliers can be ‘moved’ from band to band. The NAQPs allow stations from all parts of North America to be in the running for the top spots.”

CW not your thing? The SSB portion of the contest runs January 21-22, 1800Z to 0559Z. The North American Collegiate Championship, SSB, is scheduled to run simultaneously with the North American QSO Party. Read more about this annual event here.

ARRL January VHF Contest, January 21, 1900Z to January 23, 0359Z. For amateurs in the U.S. and Canada (and their possessions) to work as many amateur stations in as many different 2 degrees x 1 degree Maidenhead grid squares as possible using authorized frequencies above 50 MHz.

Australia Day Contest, January 25, 2200Z to January 26, 1000Z. Hosted by the Wireless Institute of Australia, this event is held annually on Australia Day (January 26), the country’s official national day which marks the 1788 landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove and the raising of the Union Flag. Records of celebrations on January 26 date back to 1808.

Per the contest’s website, “Amateurs in VK will endeavor to contact other amateurs around the world. Some VK operators will be using the AX prefix to celebrate Australia day, as it’s wanted by many amateurs around the world.
Scoring is distance based and calculated using 4-character grid squares.”

Antique Wireless Association (AWA) Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest, January 25-26 and 28-29, 2300Z to 2300Z. This event honors the memory of Linc Cundall, W2QY/W2LC (SK), one of three founders of the AWA back in 1952. From the AWA website: “This contest is designed to favor those using low power equipment constructed before 1950. As with other on-air events, you do not need to be an AWA member to participate.” Participants are encouraged to send in photos of the gear used during the event, as the website reads: “This is a great opportunity to get that World War II surplus gear on the air!” For more details on the AWA, check out the AWA website.

CQ 160 Meter Contest, CW, January 27, 2200Z to January 29, 2200Z. For 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. You’ll find plenty of help for your 160-meter pursuits at DX Engineering, including 160 meter preampsvertical antennasadd-on kitsmatching networksDXing on the Edge, the Thrill of 160 Meters by Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, and more.

Winter Field Day, January 28, 1900Z to January 29, 1900Z. The first Winter Field Day was held the weekend of January 13-14, 2007. Since then, thousands of participants have bundled up and schlepped their gear into the cold to practice portable emergency communications in winter environments. If you truly want to be prepared for the worst, you should too.

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