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Guide to January Ham Radio Contests

For Ham Radio contesters, a new year means exciting opportunities to sharpen skills, move up in the competitive standings, try something new like RTTY or moonbounce, enjoy the leisurely pace of friendly competitions, or make plans to finally come out on top in the frenzy of highly publicized events that attract the planet’s elite operators. No matter what your intentions, you’ll have plenty of chances in 2020 to get on the air and get those competitive juices flowing. Here are a few January contests to put on your radar:

  • ARRL RTTY Roundup (January 4-5) 1800 UTC Saturday to 2359 UTC Sunday. 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 meter bands.
  • North American QSO Party, CW (January 11-12) 1800Z Saturday to 0600Z Sunday. From the National Contest Journal website:

“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.”

  • ARRL January VHF (January 18-20) 1900 UTC Saturday to 0359 UTC Monday. For amateurs in the U.S. and Canada (and their possessions) to work as many amateur stations in as many different 2 degree x 1 degree Maidenhead grid squares as possible using authorized frequencies above 50 MHz.
  • CQ 160 Meter Contest, CW (January 24-26) 2200Z Friday to 2200Z Sunday. 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.
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