Guide to September 2020 Ham Radio Contests

As we fondly bid farewell (okay, maybe not so fondly) to a summer of missed in-person get-togethers and social distancing, we welcome in a host of Ham radio contests to get prepared for big events on the horizon. Here are a few September highlights to mark on your calendars:

International G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest (September 2-4) 2300Z to 2300Z. Run by the CW FISTS Club, this event is a great opportunity to hone your straight key skills and pay your respects to a Ham who was determined not to let the rhythmic sounds of dots and dashes fade quietly into the past. Founded in 1987 by Geo, G3ZQS, the CW FISTS Club (The International Morse Preservation Society) is dedicated to promoting Morse code around the world. The organization boasts chapters in the Americas; Australia; Europe; and East Asia. Learn more about CW FISTS Club activities.

ARRL EME Contest (September 12-13) 0000Z to 2359Z. The objective of this annual event is to work as many amateur stations as possible via the earth-moon-earth (moonbounce) path on any authorized amateur frequency above 50 MHz. For this weekend, contacts are restricted to 2.3 GHz and up. Weekends in October and November will be for bands from 50 to 1296 MHz.

ARRL September VHF Contest (September 12-14) 1800Z to 0300Z. Amateurs in the U.S. and Canada will be trying to work stations in as many 2 degree x 1 degree Maidenhead grid squares as possible using authorized frequencies above 50 MHz. Stations outside the U.S. and Canada may only work stations in the U.S. and Canada. All legal modes are permitted, including CW, SSB, FT8, MSK144, FM-Only, PSK31, FSK441, and JT65.

Ohio State Parks on the Air (September 12) 1400Z to 2200Z. With DX Engineering proudly rooted in the Buckeye State, this annual event is near and dear to our Ham radio hearts. Tom, KB8UUZ, DX Engineering technical writer, is the chairman of what will be the 14th edition of this outdoor operating event that highlights Ohio’s beauty and diversity. If you’ve never activated a park, here’s an OnAllBands article on what you’ll need for successful portable operations. Also, don’t miss the flora, fauna, frequencies, and fun of Wisconsin Parks on the Air September 19 (1600Z to 2300Z), sponsored by the Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club, W9ZL.

U.S. State QSO Parties:

  • Colorado: September 5-6 (1300Z to 0400Z)
  • Tennessee: September 6-7 (1800Z to 0300Z)
  • Texas: September 12-13 (1400Z Sept. 12 to 0200Z Sept. 13) and (1400Z to 2000Z Sept. 13)
  • Alabama: September 12-13 (1500Z to 0300Z)
  • Iowa: September 19-20 (1400Z to 0200Z)
  • New Jersey: September 19-20 (1600Z to 0359Z)
  • New Hampshire: September 19-20 (1600Z Sept. 19 to 0400Z Sept. 20) and (1600Z to 2200Z Sept. 20)
  • Washington State Salmon Run: September 19-20 (1600Z Sept. 19 to 0700Z Sept. 20) and (1600Z to 2400Z Sept. 20)
  • Maine: September 26-27 (1200Z to 1200Z)

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