Anita and I have been working towards a number of operating awards for some time now. These awards provide lots of good motivation to get on the air, improve our operating skills and improve the performance of our station. I have recently completed two major awards – an ARRL 5 Band DXCC and a CQ WPX Award of Excellence.
The 5 Band DXCC requires confirmation of 100 or more DXCC entities on each of the 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m bands. I was also able to confirm 100+ entities on 30m, 17m and 12m which earned the endorsements on the base award for these additional bands. I am also working towards a 160m band endorsement which for my 5B DXCC which will be quite a challenge (I currently have 47 worked on 160m). As is the case with other DXCC awards, one can use any mode to confirm a band-entity towards this award. I used a combination of SSB, CW and Digital (mostly RTTY) to complete my 5B DXCC and I used a mix of Logbook of the World (LoTW) and Paper QSL cards to secure the necessary confirmations. This award is a good test of the DX’ing capabilities of an operator and their station and it has been a goal of mine ever since we completed our station a little over a year ago.
The other major award which I’ve recently completed is the CQ WPX Award Of Excellence. This award requires one to confirm a large number of unique callsign prefixes using different modes, bands and on all continents. Specifically, the award requires one to confirm 1,000 prefixes in Mixed mode and 600 prefixes in SSB and 600 prefixes in CW plus earn all 6 continental endorsements (NA, SA, EU, AF, AS, and OC), and all 5 non-WARC band endorsements (80-10 meters). I was also able to earn the Digital and 160m endorsements for this award. I am close to additional band endorsements for the 30m, 17m and 12m as well. I chose to work towards this award because it requires geographic diversity (all continents – Africa and Oceania were the most difficult) and a large number of confirmed contacts using both the SSB and CW modes. The requirement to confirm 600 unique prefixes on CW was a great motivator to develop my CW skills. This award resulted in my attaining a place on the CW WPX Honor Roll for Mixed (currently 1815 prefixes), SSB (1401 prefixes), Digital (884 prefixes) and CW (600 prefixes) as well. There is a great deal of QSL’ing work associated with this award! Fortunately, CQ allows eQSL(AG), LoTW and paper cards to be used to confirm prefixes which makes the process a little easier.
Anita (AB1QB) is also working on several awards and she particularly enjoys working stations in Japan. She has completed other JARL awards and has recently completed the JARL Japan Century-Cities Award which required her to work and confirm (with cards only) 100 different cities in Japan. Anita is also working on a JARL Worked All Japan Prefectures awards which requires her to work and confirm all 47 prefectures in Japan (she currently has 37 prefectures confirmed).
Earning JARL operating awards from the eastern United States is challenging and it is a particular pleasure to exchange QSL cards with HAMs in Japan.
We are always working on new awards in our shack. I am trying to complete a 5 Band Worked All States and a WAS Triple Play Award (All 50 states confirm using SSB, Digital and CW modes). In addition to the JARL awards, Anita is working on IOTA and CQ WPX awards. All this is great fun and motivation to improve our skills and operate.
– Fred (AB1OC)