Guide to July 2022 Ham Radio Contests

Now that Field Day 2022 is another memory, you can grab July by the horns and take advantage of a full slate of opportunities to improve your CW skills, contact an island station or two (or even better, operate from one), log some RTTY QSOs, and shoot to the top in the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest. Ready to have some fun? Here are a few July operating events to mark on your calendar.

ICWC Medium Speed Tests: July 4/5, 11/12, 18/19, 25/26, 0300Z to 0400Z. The International CW Council sponsors the Medium Speed Test every Monday and Tuesday to “populate the CW bands with activity…at the speed of 20-25 WPM,” per the ICWC’s website. The ICWC, which is comprised of representatives from CW clubs worldwide, “promotes and aids in the retention and growth of International Morse Code as a mode of communication among amateur radio operators.” Read more about the council’s goals and activities here.

IARU HF World Championship: July 9, 1200Z to July 10, 1200Z. 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. Read all about the IARU in this OnAllBands article.

North American QSO Party, RTTY: July 16, 1800Z to July 17, 0559Z. 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 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 16,1800Z to July 17, 2100Z. 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 30, 1200Z to July 31, 1200Z. 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-traveled 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.”

Tennessee State Parks on the Air: July 30, 1400Z to 2200Z and July 31, 1400Z to 2200Z. Here’s your chance to operate from one of the spectacular parks in the Volunteer State, chase activated parks from within the state, or enjoy some DXing from anywhere. Incidentally, the nickname “Volunteer State” was coined during the War of 1812 in reference to the large number of Tennesseans who participated.

Adventure Radio Society (ARS) Flight of the Bumblebees: July 31, 1700Z to 2100Z. Held the last Sunday of July, this annual four-hour, five-watt max power CW contest on 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters (around standard QRP frequencies) is looking for “bumblebees,” defined as participants who operate portable from field locations. To qualify, you must get to your operating site principally under your own power “by walking, biking, boating, and so on,” per contest rules. The distance traveled to the site is at the bumblebee’s discretion. You’ll need to apply for your 2022 Bumblebee number to qualify as a bumblebee operator in the contest. Home-based stations may also participate. Check out the 2021 rules here.

Two-hour ARS Spartan Sprints are held the first Monday of every month, encouraging operators to make as many contacts as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters using five watts or less. How low can you go? The ARS wants you to see for yourself:

“We encourage you to experiment with 1 watt or less,” the ARS website reads. “You will be surprised at how effective these low levels can be, and how much fun QRP really is. Similarly, we encourage you to experiment with simple wire antennas. And we encourage Sprinters to use equipment they built from ‘scratch’—that is, equipment built from schematics.”

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