Kinds of Contests to Suit Your Expertise

Being fond of radios and dreaming to be a radio operator are the considerations needed when it comes to being a Ham Radio operator. They are a group of licensed and specialized amateur radio enthusiasts. However, do not let the description “amateur” fool you as these radio operators are skilled enough to build their own radio equipment or experiment with electronics and radio frequencies.

These amateur radio operators often use their skills for non-commercial purposes, like during rescue operations and emergency situations as a means of communication. During national emergencies or natural disasters where electrical grids and phone lines are down, radio communication is an essential alternative.

Using Ham Radios

Several subfields concern ham radios depending on the type of ham radio used. Some use quite seasoned models that make use of vacuum tubes while others prefer modern models that rely on digital programming. Equipment may both be bought or created by the ham radio operators.

Communicating using ham radios can be varied depending on the mode to be used by the operator. Currently, there are three modes which are through voice, RTTY or data, and CW, which makes use of Morse code. Others even specialize in international communication or DX. Depending on their skills and interests, ham radio operators can communicate to people across the country, shipping vessels sailing several miles away, and even to the International Space Station.

Contests for Different Ham Radio Expertise

There are various contests that ham radio operators can join in order to test their skills and expertise. Most of the competitions are organized and sponsored by one of the largest organizations founded for ham radio, the ARRL or the American Radio Relay League. There are several kinds of contests.

  • RTTY contests require ham radio operators to work with digital modes. These include the using of tools such as the Packet, Baudot RTTY, AMTOR, ASCII, PSK63, and the PSK31 that are set on the 10, 15, 20, 40, and 80-meter bands. The ham radio operators are only allowed to log on to one radio band at a time. During the competition, each unique contact that they have found must be logged by the operators. The most number of unique communications wins the contest.
  • Another contest is called the HF where the objective is for ham operators to contact as many stations as they can worldwide using the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10-meter bands, Sub-categories of the contests may be added where various modes will have to be used such as CW, phones or mixed modes.
  • EME is another contest that stands for an earth-moon-earth path or a moon bounce. To win this contest, ham radio operators must work the most stations using the EME path. The contest requires only ham frequencies above 60 meters or 5 MHz, but all modes of communication may be used digital, CW, phone or combinations of them.

To participate in these contests, the ham radio operators must possess specific qualifications such as a general license, a technician license, or an extra class license that is received through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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