Ed Parish, K1EP
Radio amateurs participate in a wide variety of causal conversations, nets, and competitive contests as well as other operating events. Nets meet daily to facilitate handling radiogram traffic, weather reporting, on-air club meetings, or simply “rag chewing.” Others are attracted to the fun and camaraderie of radio direction finding–also known as “fox hunting.” Major contests, QSO parties or special events operations can be found almost any week of the year. Contests are great fun and participation can lead to increased operating proficiency. Some have said that operating CW (Morse code) in a single radio contest can increase a beginner’s code proficiency two- or even three-fold. And voice contests can lead to an increase in tactical communications skills, which could come in handy during an actual emergency event.
ARRL Sponsored Operating Events
Some major events sponsored by the ARRL include:
- ARRL DX Contest
- 160 Meter
- Rookie Roundup
- RTTY Roundup
- September VHF Contest
- Straight Key Night
- ARRL International Grid Chase
to name but a few. There are many other national and international on-air events and contests sponsored by various organizations.
Logbook of the World
As stated in LoTW’s Mission and Objectives, membership in the ARRL is not a requirement. To use LoTW, download the free TQSL application and direct it to request participation. You’ll be issued a unique Callsign Certificate, and provided with access to an LoTW Account via the world wide web.
After you’re registered, you can submit QSOs to LoTW by either using TQSL to digitally sign those QSOs and convey them to LoTW via the internet, or by using one of the many logging applications that provide this capability.
If the information in a submitted QSO matches the information submitted to LoTW by the your QSO partner, the LoTW Accounts of both you and your QSO partner will show the submitted QSO as confirmed.
A Callsign Certificate authenticates the source of each submitted QSO, and no operator is permitted to see the information submitted by other operators. This combination maintains the integrity of the QSO verification process that has long been the hallmark of ARRL awards.
Via your LoTW Account, you can submit a confirmed QSO for credit in one or more of the DXCC, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, and WPX award programs.
There is no fee for obtaining a Callsign Certificate, submitting QSOs, or using one’s LoTW Account to view submitted QSOs, confirmed QSOs, or award progress. A fee is only charged when submitting confirmed QSOs for Award Credit.
When the processing of a WAZ or WPX application made from LoTW is complete, your LoTW confirmations will be conveyed to the CQ WAZ or CQ WPX Award Manager, respectively. You can then apply to CQ for awards, placques, or pins.
If you’re not yet using LoTW, here’s how to get started.[ARRLWeb]
Operating Events in Eastern Massachusetts
A number of on-air events draw many participants from Eastern Massachusetts and New England. The most popular event is the annual ARRL Field Day. Dozens of local radio clubs set up portable equipment in parks, fields, and emergency operations centers to demonstrate their emergency communications preparedness. Field Day is not just a social event, it’s a great place to learn new operating skills and make new friends.
Other local and regional operating events include:
- Numerous fox hunting activities
- Jamboree On The Air (JOTA)
- National Parks On The Air (various locations)
- KM1CC Marconi/Cape Cod special event station operation (various times)
- Thirteen Original Colonies special event (annually, July 1-5)
- W1A special event operation, New England ARRL Convention, Boxboro (annually; September 6-8, 2019)
- W1T Thacher I. Activation (Cape Ann ARA)
- New England QSO Party (annually; May 5-6, 2018)
- W1NAS special events operation, Shea Naval Air Museum
- K1USN Veterans Day special events operation
- W1BSA on the USS Massachusetts
- NE1PL Museum Ships on the Air special events operation
- NI1X Plimouth Plantation special events operation
- NN1MF Marshfield Fair special events operation
- SKYWARN Recognition Day
- W1MGY Titanic / Marconi Memorial Radio Association of Cape Cod special events operation
- WCC Amateur Radio Association special events operations
Yankee Clipper Contest Club
Geographically centered in Massachusetts, the Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC) “is a special purpose amateur radio club devoted to the pursuit of operating and technical excellence.” Their goals are:
- To promote the fun, satisfaction and competitive thrill of radio contesting
- To assist members in the development of their operating and technical skills
- To win the club competition of the major amateur radio contests
YCCC boasts over 300 members from Maine to New York City.