US Islands Awards Program

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019, the US Islands (USI) Awards Program has given Hams across the country the chance to activate and chase a range of river, lake, and ocean shore islands, from the ones everyone knows (Manhattan, Maui, Key West) to spots perhaps only familiar to the peripatetic amateur operator (Cow, Bartoo, Beacon Rock).

More than 3,200 islands (currently 2,290 of them qualified) dotting all 50 states, territories, and protectorates give Hams ample opportunity to take an affordable mini-vacation and become the Big Station on the Air as avid island chasers vie for honors such as the USI Honor Roll (QSOs with 100 islands and protectorates); Work All State Islands Award; and Work Ten Award (10 islands from one state).

From the USI website: “The USI was formed in 1994 to further enhance ‘island chasing’ that had become so popular on the amateur radio bands. The goal of the USI program is to promote a simple but effective system of island chasing and activating in a professional radio-manner and to operate totally on the ‘honor system’. The USI warmly welcomes all ham radio operators, shortwave listeners (SWL), and island enthusiasts to yet another facet of island chasing. The USI is open to anyone interested in working toward the many and varied US Island Awards by collecting and activating US islands.”

According to USI rules, in order to activate an island, it must first be qualified. Qualification requires a minimum of 25 QSOs (including at least two DXCC entities) in any mode. Read all the rules here, including what qualifies as an island under USI criteria, or click here to request an addition to the list of islands.

If you think you’re ready to work Antelope Island in Utah’s Great Salt Lake or Chacaloochee Island in Alabama’s Mobile Bay, remember this: No Ham is an Island! That means everyone—even experienced amateurs—can benefit from the advice of another friendly operator. As always, the Elmers at DX Engineering are ready with wise guidance on what you’ll need to become a champion island chaser or an award-winning activator! So don’t be afraid to reach out to us—anytime!

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