Guide to May 2024 Ham Radio Contests

May is the season of making “eyeball” QSOs. That’s because the Southeast Ohio area—only about three hours south of DX Engineering headquarters near Akron—transforms into the center of the ham world around the third week of the month. Three annual events make the Buckeye State amateur radio central for a handful of action-packed days:

  • Four Days in May (May 15-19), billed as the biggest and best QRP event in the world
  • Contest University (May 16—registration open until May 7, or when capacity has been reached), a full day of good fellowship and insights on boosting your contesting scores
  • Dayton Hamvention (May 17-19), three unforgettable days of attending educational sessions, upgrading stations with the latest equipment, and catching up with old friends who arrive by the droves to celebrate the world’s best hobby

DX Engineering will be well-represented at all of the above (more about that later this month on OnAllBands). While you’ll be busy getting ready to show off your latest QRP creation, increase your contesting prowess, or capture that rare find from the Hamvention flea market, here are a few May contests to mark on your calendar: 

Straight Key Century Club Weekend Sprintathon: May 11, 1200Z to May 12, 2400Z. This monthly event “aims to bring together operators with different skill levels in a regularly scheduled, informal operating event lasting 36 hours,” per the SKCC website. The contest now includes a multi-operator category. The SKCC was established in January 2006 and is going strong with more than 28,000 members. From the group’s website:

“The Straight Key Century Club is the most active group of mechanical-key Morse code radiotelegraph operators in the world…Here’s how it works: Apply for free membership (open to licensed amateur radio operators only.) Make HF radio contacts using any of the three original types of manual telegraph keys: Straight, Bug, and Cootie. Gain on-air experience in sending and receiving by swapping numbers with other members; enter Club-sponsored sprints, contests, and special events; rag chew; earn activity and achievement awards; access our online resources, newsletter, forum, and chat.” 

Find the SKCC membership request form here.

Canadian Prairies QSO Party: May 11, 1700Z to May 12, 0300Z. This marks the third running of the CPQP, an SSB/CW event on 40/20/15/10M. From the CPQP website: “This is your opportunity to get to know your western Canadian neighbors in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.”

“The Canadian prairie provinces consist of Manitoba (VA4/VE4), Saskatchewan (VA5/VE5) and Alberta (VA6/VE6),” the website explains. “Unlike most American states, these three Canadian provinces are not subdivided into counties. Instead, we have federal electoral districts. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have 14 districts each, while Alberta has 34, making for a total of 62 districts. For those who are ‘out of province’ (think ‘out of state’), your goal will be to work as many of the 62 districts as possible. For those ‘in-province’, the goal is to work everybody (13 provinces/territories plus 50 states). Note that stations within the Canadian prairie provinces can count one multiplier from every province, including their own.”

58th Alessandro Volta Worldwide RTTY Contest: May 11, 1200Z to May 12, 1200Z. Hosted by the SSB and RTTY Club COMO and the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani, this annual event is designed to “increase interest in RTTY mode and to honor the Italian discoverer of electricity, Alessandro Volta.” Learn the story behind Volta’s amazing work in this article. And check out these OnAllBands posts from Ed Muns, W0YK, on RTTY:

His Majesty King of Spain Contest, CW: May 18, 1200Z to May 19, 1200Z. Sponsored by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles (URE), this contest is available to amateurs worldwide. Choose from 14 single- and multi-operator categories. Amateur operator and King of Spain emeritus, Juan Carlos de Borbon, EA0JC, was leader of the country from 1974-2014.

Arkansas QSO Party: May 18, 1400Z to May 19, 0200Z.

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