YRARC and Contesting


Amateur Radio contesting has a deceptively simple goal: To contact as many stations as possible during the contest period. Of course, you know that it really isn’t that straightforward. Basketball is about more than putting a ball through a hoop, and ham contesting is about more than making contacts.

Every contest has specific rules (just like every athletic sport). For example…

  • Only certain bands may be used.

  • The contest only takes places between certain times, and on certain dates. Some contests also require “off times” when you are forced to leave the air.  

  • An exchange of information is necessary during each contact. You may be required to send and receive a serial number, location, name or even a person’s age.

  • Only certain operating configurations can be used. You may have to choose a “class” of operation such as a single operator using low power.

There is a contest of one type or another almost every weekend. Some competitions draw large numbers of hams onto the airwaves. Other contests are smaller with only limited participation.

Contests take place primarily on the HF bands, with the exceptions of 60, 30, 17 and 12 meters. Contest sponsors have agreed to keep these bands off limits from competition. There are also contests on the VHF, UHF and microwave bands.

The best way to keep track of contest activity is by checking with RAC. As a member you’ll receive TCA magazine each other month. In every issue you’ll find contest information, a comprehensive list of upcoming contests, and many interesting articles.