Guide to March 2024 Ham Radio Contests

As the weather warms up a bit and March Madness takes hold, we turn our attention to a bevy of contesting opportunities in the days ahead. March features contests for those who operate old-school rigs; State QSO Parties; RTTY, CW, 10 meter, and Topband challenges; and events that annually attract scores of operators worldwide. Here are just a few to mark on your calendar.

Novice Rig Roundup (NRR), March 2, 0000Z to March 10, 2359Z. The annual roundup is a super-cool blast of nostalgia for hams who want to go on the air with the old-school rigs they used when they were Novices, or with the wish-list radios of their youth that they now own.

It’s the perfect opportunity to hop in the way-back machine, set the dial to your early ham shack, and enjoy leisurely and stress-free CW operating like you did as a teen, with all the “whoops,” “chirps,” and “drift” of days gone by.

Find complete rules, suggested frequencies, loads of vintage rig photos, and how to receive your lifetime NRR membership number

And check out this great article from OnAllBands blogger Anthony, K8ZT, on his first rig, a TenTec Argonaut 515.
International Women’s Day YL POTA Party: March 8, 0000Z to 2359Z. Here’s a great chance to celebrate International Women’s Day by either activating a park or chasing the many portable stations that will be on the air during this 24-hour event sponsored by the Young Ladies Radio League. Look for an OnAllBands article on the YL POTA Party coming soon.

YB DX RTTY Contest,March 9, 0000Z to 2359Z. All amateurs are welcome to participate in this 24-hour RTTY challenge sponsored by the YB Land (Indonesia) DX Club.

South America 10 Meter ContestMarch 9, 1200Z to March 10, 1200Z. The contest’s objective is for amateurs worldwide to exchange QSO information with as many stations as possible on the 10M band. Contacting South American stations from outside the continent will earn you double the points per QSO. From the contest’s website: “(This) competition encourages the amateur radio world to beam their antennas toward South America.” Find everything you need for effective 10M operation at DX Engineering, including antennas, amplifier modification kits, band pass filters, choke kits, tuners, and more. And read this OnAllBands article for tips on how to take advantage of the 10-meter bonanza hams are currently experiencing.

TESLA Memorial HF CW Contest, March 9, 1800Z to March 10, 0559Z. Hosted by the Amateur Radio Union of Serbia, this annual event honors the legacy of Serbian-American electrical engineer and inventor, Nikola Tesla.

Stew Perry Topband Challenge, March 9, 1500Z to March 10, 1500Z. Hams can enter this annual 160 meter, CW-only contest as “single operator or multi-operator; high, low or QRP power. Low power is 100 watts or less output. QRP is 5 watts or less. High power is 1,500 watts output or whatever you can legally run in your country, whichever is less,” per the Stew Perry website. The challenge uniquely awards QSO point values based on distance between stations. Click here for complete rules.

EA PSK63 Contest, March 9, 1200Z to March 10, 1200Z. Open to all licensed amateur radio operators, this contest—organized by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles (URE, or Spanish Amateur Radio Union)—is all about using BPSK63 to make QSOs on the 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10M bands. The maximum power allowed is 50 watts. Both single- and multi-operator contesting categories are offered. Founded in 1949, the URE represents the interests of hams and shortwave listeners in Spain.

FIRAC HF Contest: March 10, 0700Z to 1700Z. The Fédération Internationale des Radio Amateurs Cheminots (the International Federation of Railway Amateurs) hosts the CW portion of this annual 80-10M contest the second Sunday in March. Get complete rules here.

AWA John Rollins Memorial DX Contest, March 13, 2300Z to March 14, 2300Z and March 16, 2300Z to March 17, 2300Z. Sponsored by the Antique Wireless Association (AWA), this event was officially renamed in 2009 to honor John, W1FPZ (SK) for his contributions to the AWA over the years. It’s open to both AWA members and non-members. The objective: Contact the greatest number of participating stations using pre-1970 tube gear on 80, 40, and 20M. Modern gear is allowed, but extra points are awarded for using pre-1970s transmitters/receivers and for homebrew rigs using tubes that were available before 1970. Output power is limited to 100W for CW and 100W carrier level for AM.

Speaking of tubes, DX Engineering carries a nice lineup of RF vacuum tubes from Penta Laboratories–perfect for fixing a current amplifier, reviving a legacy model, or building one of your own.

AGCW VHF/UHF Contest: March 16, 1400Z to 1700Z (144) and March 16, 1700Z to 1800Z (432). This annual event is hosted by the German Telegraphy Activity Group.

Africa All Mode International DX Contest: March 16, 1200Z to March 17, 1200Z. Per the contest website, the goal of this single- and multi-operator event is to encourage contesting from Africa. Stations worldwide may work any African DXCC entity during the 24-hour contest period on SSB, CW, or RTTY. Find complete rules here.

FOC QSO Party, March 23, 0000Z to 2359Z. This event is held twice a year by the First Class CW Operator’s Club. Open to amateur operators worldwide, it is held in memory of Bill Windle, G8VG (SK), past chairman of the FOC. Participating stations should call “CQ BW” from 015 to 040kHz on all bands, excluding the WARC bands. Read more contest details and information about the FOC here.

Sasquatch Stomp, March 29, 1900Z to March 30, 0300Z. Sponsored by the Pacific North West QRP Group, this CW-only event modeled after the Zombie Shuffle is designed to inspire operators to get on the air and have fun. From the Sasquatch Stomp website, “The event is scored, but unlike other contests the final score for each participant will be a negative number with the object being to get the lowest number below zero.”

CQ WW WPX Contest, SSB, March 30, 0000Z to March 31, 2359Z. The objective of this 48-hour contest is for contestants to contact as many amateurs and different prefixes as possible.

Also check out these State QSO Parties:

  • Idaho: March 9, 1900Z to March 10, 1900Z
  • Oklahoma: March 9, 1500Z to March 10, 0200Z and March 10, 1500Z to 2100Z
  • Wisconsin: March 10, 1800Z to March 11, 0100Z
  • Virginia: March 16, 1400Z to March 17, 0400Z and March 17, 1200Z to 2400Z

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