Guide to July 2021 Ham Radio Contests 

With Field Day behind us and hotter days ahead, it’s time to focus on logging some CW, SSB, RTTY, and digital QSOs in a cool spot at home, or perhaps finding a nice shady place on an island to conduct a mini-DXpedition for the weekend (July 24-25). Ready to have some fun? Here are a few July contests to mark on your calendar.

RAC Canada Day Contest (July 1) 0000Z to 2359Z. Celebrate this big day in the Great White North by making some QSOs with Canada’s many active operators. The Radio Amateurs of Canada sponsor this annual event in commemoration of Canada’s Confederation (July 1, 1867). Amateurs all over the world are invited to help blow out the candles (not their station’s speakers) during Canada’s Birthday Party on the air. Read all about the RAC here.

Marconi Memorial HF CW Contest (July 3-4) 1400Z, July 3 to 1400Z, July 4. This worldwide CW-only contest has been around since 1996, commemorating Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor known for his pioneering work in radio transmissions. Single- and multi-operator categories are available. Click here for complete rules.

IARU HF World Championship (July 10-11) 1200Z, July 10 to 1200Z, July 11. Open to all licensed amateurs, the International Amateur Radio Union’s HF World Championship encourages operators to make as many contacts as possible, especially with IARU member society HQ stations, on the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10M bands. Stay tuned: OnAllBands will be featuring the IARU in a post on July 29!

North American QSO Party, RTTY (July 17-18) 1800Z, July 17 to 0559Z, July 18. Here’s a great opportunity for both RTTY aficionados and novices. Designed for contesting beginners and veterans, North American QSO Parties are low-power-only contests that are fun and challenging.

Per the NAQP website: “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. The 12-hour format allows participants to do some great contesting, yet still have time for other activities during the weekend. Participants can enter in the single op or multi-op categories and also have the opportunity to combine up to five separate single op scores into a team score.”

Want to learn more about RTTY? Check out these OnAllBands articles from Ed Muns, W0YK:

CQ Worldwide VHF Contest (July 17-18) 1800Z, July 17 to 2100Z, July 18. Fans of 6M and 2M operating have this annual summer event marked on their calendars long in advance, anticipating the improved propagation and challenge of working the world while collecting VHF Maidenhead grid locations for award credits. The contest features single operator, hilltopper, rover, and multi-op categories. Get all the details here.

RSGB IOTA Contest (July 24-25) 1200Z, July 24 to 1200Z, July 25. Whether you’re a chaser or activator, the Radio Society of Great Britain’s Islands on the Air Contest is a welcome chance to celebrate the world’s well-known and lesser-travelled island groups (more than 1,200 of them) dotting the planet. The contest is based on the RSGB IOTA awards program, established in 1964 to promote amateur radio and draw attention to the “widespread mystique surrounding islands.”

If you’re new to the RSGB IOTA Contest, which has been around since 1993, click here to read a guide for novices who wish to operate from an official IOTA spot or those who seek to make contact with IOTA stations. Bands for the 24-hour contest are 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10M on CW and phone. Also for new island operators, check out this article by blogger Sean Kutzko, Kx9X, “Your First Pileup, Techniques for Success.”

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