I have been working on a number of operating awards as a means to confirm the performance of our recently completed station and as goals to expand and improve my operating skills. I have gotten to a point where my completed and confirmed QSOs have allowed me to earn several awards. The first award to mention is a recently completed ARRL DXCC using QRP (5 watt) power levels. This award required me to work and confirm 100 DXCC entities (basically 100 countries) using no more than 5 watts for transmitter output power. Completing this award is a good confirmation of our station’s antenna performance. In many cases, the QSO’s needed for this award received 59 or better signal reports confirming the performance of our antenna system.
I very much enjoy working stations using QRP (5 watt) power levels. To this end, I also have completed an ARRL Worked All States Award using SSB Phone and QRP power levels (5 watts). This award was a lot of fun to get and its pretty cool when you work another station in the USA and you get a 59+20 db or 59+10 db signal report and you let the other operator know that you are using QRP 5 watts!
Finally, I have been working diligently on my CW skills and I am very proud to have completed an ARRL DXCC Award (basically 100 countries) using the CW mode. I am really beginning to enjoy CW and it certainly opens the door to a great many DX stations that are difficult to find using any other mode.
I am working on some other awards that are more difficult. A few of these could be considered “lifetime achievement” awards. These include:
- A 5 Band DXCC Award (100 confirmed DXCC entities on the 5 major bands 80m – 10m; I am also working on endorsements for the 5 WARC bands)
- The DXCC Challenge Award (1,000 confirmed band countries on 160m – 6m)
- The CQ WPX Award of Excellence (many confirmed prefixes using all modes, on all bands, and on all continents)
I am getting close on all of these. There are other awards which cater to almost any interest. Some other interesting ones include:
- CQ Worked All Zones (WAZ) Awards (for confirming contacts in all 40 CQ Zones)
- RSGB Islands On The Air (IOTA) Awards (for confirming 100 or more IOTA islands)
- ARRL VUCC Awards (for working 100 or more grid squares on VHF/UHF bands – 6m and higher)
I hope that you will consider working towards one of the many operating awards – it’s a great deal of fun!
– Fred (AB1OC)