Guide to July Ham Radio Contests

Make your own fireworks this summer by logging some CW, SSB, RTTY, and digital QSOs. Here are a few July contests to help you stay cool inside while the weather heats up, including the chance for a young Ham to score an awesome new rig.

Marconi Memorial HF CW Contest (1400Z, July 4 to 1359Z, July 5) 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 (1200Z, July 11 to 1159Z, July 12) 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.

North American QSO Party, RTTY (1800Z, July 18 to 559Z, July 19) 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.”

CQ Worldwide VHF Contest (1800Z, July 18 to 2100Z, July 19) 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 (1200Z, July 25 to 1200Z, July 26) 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.

First Youth “Dream Rig” Essay Contest: If you have young Hams in your life, be sure to tell them about the Intrepid DX-Group’s “Dream Rig” Essay Contest. To encourage the next generation of amateur operators, the organization is awarding a brand-new Icom IC-7300 HF Plus 50 MHz Transceiver to the U.S. amateur license holder—19 years or younger—who writes the best two-page essay answering these questions:

  • What are your Amateur Radio goals?
  • What can we do to attract more youth to Amateur Radio?

Essays should be sent in a text or MS Word attachment to by July 31, 2020. Entrants can also mail their essays to: The Intrepid-DX Group, 3052 Wetmore Drive, San Jose, CA 95148. Entries must be postmarked by July 31, 2020. The winner will be announced on the group’s Facebook page and website August 10, 2020. Rules also state that the winner must promise to keep the IC-7300 (which has been purchased from DX Engineering) for one year, use it on the air, and not flip it, trade it, or sell it.

All submissions become the property of the Intrepid-DX Group and may be published. Questions about the contest can be sent to

The Intrepid-DX Group is a U.S.-based 501 C(3) nonprofit organization that promotes Amateur Radio activities in developing countries.

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