Guide to October 2023 Ham Radio Contests

While contesters the world over await the SSB portion of the CQ World Wide DX Contest at the end of the month, don’t forget that there’s plenty to do on the air leading up to this mega-event. Below are a few opportunities that illustrate the versatility of ham radio, from the Solar Eclipse QSO Party sponsored by HamSCI to ARRL’s earth-moon-earth challenge. 

UKEICC 80M Contest: October 4, 2000Z to 21000Z. The United Kingdom and Ireland Contest Club sponsors these twice-monthly one-hour contests that coincide with the hours of darkness over most of the UK, Ireland, and Europe. Entry is open to all stations, and the scoring is distance-based, similar to the successful 160M Stew Perry Contest. The contest runs again on October 25.

Per the contest website, “These are primarily single-operator events, but individual entrants may also wish to enter our Teams competitions, either by forming a team of 3 entrants, with 1 reserve (i.e., a team of 4, but only 3 scores count in each contest) or as a team of two entrants.”

Collegiate QSO Party: October 7, 0000Z to October 8, 2359Z. From the contest website, “The Collegiate QSO Party is an operating event focused on amateur radio clubs at colleges and universities around the world. Each Fall, the Collegiate QSO Party provides an opportunity for clubs to demonstrate amateur radio to new members, engage with alumni, and promote activity throughout college and university communities.” Click on “Info Packet” from the Collegiate QSO Party website for rules and more.

Oceania DX Contest, Phone: October 7, 0600Z to October 8, 0600Z. The CW portion of the contest runs from October 14, 0600Z to October 15, 0600Z. Celebrating its 78th year, this contest promotes HF contacts to and from stations in the Oceania region as well as contacts between stations in Oceania. Find complete rules here.

Solar Eclipse QSO Party: October 14, 1200Z to 2200Z (Partial eclipse begins at 1500Z in Oregon and ends at 1840Z in Texas). Sponsored by HamSCI (Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation), this unique contest is designed to generate observations of propagation by the Reverse Beacon Network and PSKReporter event logs before, during, and after the eclipse on the amateur bands for the purpose of ionospheric sounding.

From the HamSCI website, “The Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) is unique among ham radio competitions as it awards points for two-way QSOs (ham to ham contacts via radio) and bonus points for reception reports from skimmers, RBN nodes, and the like.  

“Please be aware that the SEQP is one of many events to be held during the HamSCI Festivals of Eclipse Ionospheric Science. You are welcome to participate in more than one event. Each event has its own ‘rules’ page, accessible from the ‘Festival’ link above.”

Read much more about the important work of HamSCI on OnAllBands later this month.

PODXS 070 Club 160M Great Pumpkin Sprint: October 14, 2000Z to October 15, 2000Z. Participants choose a six-hour block between the contest times to work as many stations as possible on 160M using PSK31 mode. Also choose from four power categories: 5W, 25W, 50W, and 100W. Click here for a history of the PODXS 070 Club.

QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party: October 14, 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.

ARRL School Club Roundup: October 16, 1300Z to October 20, 2359Z. This 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.

Stew Perry Topband Challenge: October 21, 1500Z to October 22, 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. Looking to boost your top band capabilities? Read this article on the effectiveness of the DX Engineering 160M THUNDERBOLT Vertical Antenna.

ARRL’s EME—50 to 1296 MHz: October 28, 0000Z to October 29, 2359Z. Work as many amateur stations as possible via the earth-moon-earth path on designated frequencies. This portion of the ARRL EME event continues on November 25-26.

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB: October 28, 0000Z to October 29, 2359Z. This is why they call this time of year Contesting 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 25-26.

In addition, check out these state QSO parties:

  • California: October 7, 1600Z to October 8, 2200Z
  • Nevada: October 14, 0300Z to October 15, 2100Z
  • Arizona: October 14, 1500Z to October 15, 0500Z
  • Pennsylvania: October 14, 1600Z to October 15, 0400Z, and October 15, 1300Z to 2200Z
  • South Dakota: October 14, 1800Z to October 15, 1800Z
  • New York: October 21, 1400Z to October 22, 0200Z
  • Illinois: October 22, 1700Z to October 23, 0100Z

Ready to upgrade your station for better contesting results this year? Visit for antennas, transceivers, amplifiers, headsets, microphones, DX Engineering footswitches, keys and paddles, upgraded coaxial cable, and receiving equipment.

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