Guide to October 2021 Ham Radio Contests

Buckle up for Contest Season! Here are a few October highlights to keep you busy:

  • QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party: October 9, 0000Z to 2359Z. The QRP Amateur Radio Club International kicks off autumn in their usual manner—by doing more with less! This club for low-power enthusiasts worldwide sponsors various contests and events that promote QRP operating and related activities, such as building minimalist radios, portable ops, and antenna experimentation. Like much of the club’s activities, its Fall QSO Party (HF CW only) is a test of ingenuity and skill, as operators make QSOs using anywhere from 55 mW or less to 5W. For QRPers, there’s nothing more thrilling than reaching across the world. Check out this article from OnAllBands blogger Sean, KX9X, about one of his most memorable QSOs on 55 milliwatts.
  • ARRL School Club Roundup: October 18, 1300Z to October 22, 2359Z. The bi-annual event is designed to foster contacts with and among school radio clubs. Participants can exchange QSO information with any amateur radio station, so non-school clubs and individuals are encouraged to participate as well. All amateur bands except 60, 30, 17, and 12 meters are permitted.
  • ARRL’s EME—2.3 GHz and Up: October 23, 0000Z to October 24, 2359Z. Work as many amateur stations as possible via the earth-moon-earth path on designated frequencies. Also get ready for EME excitement on November 20-21 and December 18-19 (50 to 1296 MHz).
  • Stew Perry Topband Challenge: October 23, 1500Z to October 24, 1500Z. Here’s a popular event 160M fans won’t want to miss. Point value of QSOs depends on the distance between the two stations. Participants are given one point plus another point for each 500km of distance. Points are also multiplied for lower power categories—for both the sending and receiving station.
  • Telephone Pioneers QSO Party: October 24, 1800Z to October 25, 0300Z. This will mark the 57th annual running of the TPQSO Party. On October 24, 1800Z to 1900Z will be digital only; 1900Z to 2200Z will be digital and CW; and 0000Z to 0300Z will be phone. On October 25, 1800Z to 1900Z will be digital only; 1900Z to 2200Z will be phone; and 0000Z to 0300Z will be digital and CW. Find all the details here.
  • CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB: October 30, 000Z to October 31, 2359Z. This is why they call this time of year Contest Season! The CQ Worldwide DX Contest is the largest amateur radio contest in the world with over 35,000 participants. The challenge is to make as many contacts with as many DXCC entities and CQ Zones as possible, while competing against the world’s elite contesters. Not into SSB? The CW portion of the contest is November 27-28.

In addition, look out for these state QSO parties:

  • Nevada: October 9, 0300Z to October 10, 2100Z
  • Arizona: October 9, 1500Z to October 10, 0500Z
  • Pennsylvania: October 9, 1600Z to October 10, 0500Z, and October 10, 1300Z to 2200Z
  • South Dakota: October 9, 1800Z to October 10, 1800Z
  • New York: October 16, 1400Z to October 17, 0200Z
  • Illinois: October 17, 1700Z to October 18, 0100Z

Ready to upgrade your station for better results this year? Whether you’ll be working HF or VHF, contact DX Engineering at for expert advice on the gear you need to move up in the rankings. Or visit for antennas, transceivers, amplifiers, headsets, microphones, footswitches, keys, and contesting accessories like our RXSHARE Audio Switch and trusted gear from Top Ten Devices, now a valued member of the DX Engineering family of products.

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