Contesting Information

What is it about contesting that challenges the amateur radio community?

Starting in a contest, sitting down in that radio chair and firing up the equipment is like starting an adventurous journey. You travel with the waves that cross the globe – along the ionospheric layers and through the aurora belts You are fighting with all kinds of natural and man made phenomena on the way. Reaching across continents and oceans with power that is comparable to an electric heater, desk lamp or even a flashlight is nothing short of magic.

DXing is like going after a trophy fish, you keep at it until you catch that elusive fish or DX country. Contesting is like a fishing tournament, you go fishing during a specified time period and try catch as many fish (or specific type of fish) during that time period or have contacts on the air instead. Ham radio contesting is a sport. Each contest has its own rules and personality. What they all have in common is a blend of strategy, skill and endurance. But what makes ham radio contesting so unique is that the “pros” play with the “contesting beginners” too. It’s the thrill; the challenge.

Contesting is no different than drag racing from one traffic light to another… except its legal and safer. Human nature is driven by competing. Not only with others but with one’s self. Ham communications is fairly docile, but in a contest, not only do you try to beat your peers, but you compete with your past scores. You alone retain the most satisfaction by beating past scores. And you get bragging rights when you gazump your peers. It’s the nourishment of the best in human nature!

The more who participate, the better the experience for everyone. It’s a great way to discover the true potential of your equipment and your own operating skills. Once the contest is under way we find out how our equipment is performing and how our skills help us battling in the landscape of the ionosphere. Our paths cross with our buddies from the contesting community from all parts of the globe, as well as newcomers and casual participants. We compete against the others and try to improve our scores from previous contests. And the bonus is that we may pick up a few new countries in the process.

Below are some excellent links to Contest Information and software, Compliments of AC6V’s fantastic website.

 Amateur Radio Contesting Resources and Information

Forthcoming contests operations are included in the tables linked-to below. For operations in contests that have already taken place (1996+), use the menu provided under “Operations for Previous Contests“. For operations in the forthcoming smaller contests for which I don’t create dedicated tables and for operations that are not contest oriented, check the Announced DX Operations (ADXO) table.

Operations in Specific Forthcoming Contests



These are Web pages specifically designed for and dedicated to a single contest. Typically, they include more than just an announcment or rule list for a single year (which can almost always be found in the better “Contest Calendars”). These pages may contain (or provide links to) such items as Contest: History; Records; Results; County Names/Abbreviations; Logging Programs, etc. Ideally, they’re a single “point-of entry” from which one can find “everything you ever wanted to know” about a particular contest and are well maintained and up-to-date. Kudos to the pioneers who have created and are maintaining these pages! I believe the Asia-Pacific Sprint offer excellent models for contest Web pages.



73, Lee ZL2AL and the ZM4T Contest Team

Back to top^