Guide to September 2023 Ham Radio Contests

While fall is the season of change, one thing remains constant—there’s always plenty to do in the world of amateur radio! Tune up for Contest Season with a varied selection of September activities, including an array of State QSO Parties, State Parks on the Air events, 10-meter fun, VHF/UHF challenges, another year of operating from Masonic lodges, and more. Here are just a few of September’s offerings:

INDEXA Worldwide QSO Party: September 2, 0000Z to September 10, 2400Z. There’s still time to participate in this event (billed as “QSO Party for the World), which celebrates 40 years of INDEXA (International DX Association) supporting DXing and DXpeditions. The event is open to all radio amateurs, both members and non-members of INDEXA. From the contest website, “You can operate as much or as little as you desire, earn points and multipliers, submit your score, compete for awards, or just chat. Operate 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters on CW, SSB, or RTTY. Enjoy the places this event takes you and have fun.” Read complete rules here.

NRAU (Nordic Radio Amateur Union) 10M Activity Contest: September 7, 1700Z to 1800Z (CW); 1800Z to 1900Z (SSB); 1900Z to 2000Z (FM); and 2000Z to 2100Z (Digital). Here’s a great chance to take advantage of 10M openings compliments of Solar Cycle 25. Looking for gear to maximize your 10M capabilities? Click to read about some antenna upgrades available at

ARRL EME Contest: September 9, 0000Z to September 10, 2359Z. The object of this annual event is to work as many amateur stations as possible via the earth-moon-earth path on any authorized amateur frequency above 50 MHz. September 9-10 is designated for 2.3 GHz and up. October 28-29 and November 25-26 are for 50 to 1296 MHz.

WAE DX Contest, SSB: September 9, 0000Z to September 10, 2359Z. The German Amateur Radio Club (DARC) invites amateur operators worldwide to participate in this Worked All Europe contest. The RTTY portion of the contest is scheduled for November 11-12. Read complete rules here.

ARRL September VHF Contest: September 9, 1800Z to September 11, 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 9, 1400 UTC to 2200 UTC (10 am to 6 pm Eastern Time). 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 a member of the contest committee for this 16th 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 16, 1600Z to 2300Z (11 am to 6 pm local/CDT), sponsored by the Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club, W9ZL. If you’re very lucky, you may spot Wisconsin’s state animal, the wedge-shape-headed badger, which can be found throughout the state. However, because the animal is notorious for its ability to elude humans, you’re more likely to catch a glimpse of one on the state flag or on the many T-shirts featuring Bucky Badger, the University of Wisconsin’s red-pinstriped mascot.

QRP Afield: September 16, 1500Z to 2100Z: Hosted by the QRP Club of New England, this low-power event rewards operators based on power levels and location (e.g., 10 points per contact for QRP operation from a field or mobile location).

CQ World Wide DX Contest, RTTY, September 23, 0000Z to September 24, 2359Z. This annual event attracts more than 15,000 RTTY enthusiasts from around the world.

3rd Annual Masonic Lodges on the Air, September 23, 1400Z to 2200Z. “The idea for the Masonic Lodges on the Air Contest grew out of the realization that many Freemasons have a love for Amateur Radio,” the event’s official website reads. The idea is to see how many Masonic Lodges you can contact in a day on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters SSB. You do not need to be a Mason to participate, but organizers ask that you get permission from your local lodge to contest from their property. Get complete rules here.

AWA Amplitude Modulation QSO Party: September 30, 2200Z to October 1, 2200Z. Sponsored by the Antique Wireless Association, this event is designed to bring “awareness to the AM mode by hearing lots of AM stations on the bands,” per the AWA website. Participants will try to make contacts using the amplitude modulation mode on 160, 75, 40, and 20 meters. Get complete rules here. The W2AN station at the AWA Museum in Bloomfield, NY, will be one of two flagship stations operating during the AM QSO Party. From its website, the vision of the AWA is to “preserve and share the history of technology used to communicate and entertain from the first telegram to today’s wireless text messaging.”

U.S. State QSO Parties:

  • Alabama: September 9, 1500Z to September 10, 0300Z
  • Texas: September 16, 1400Z to September 17, 0200Z, and September 17, 1400Z to 2000Z
  • Iowa: September 16, 1400Z to September 17, 0200Z
  • New Jersey: September 16, 1600Z to September 17, 0359Z
  • New Hampshire: September 16, 1600Z to 2200Z and September 17, 1600Z to 2200Z
  • Washington State Salmon Run: September 16, 1600Z to September 17, 0700Z, and September 17, 1600Z to 2400Z (find more details on the Salmon Run official website)
  • Maine: September 23, 1200Z to September 24, 1200Z

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