VK3YE amateur radio pages

QRP awards and contests


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Contest certificate

An award is a certificate that you can claim for working a given number of stations in a particular location (or number of locations). A contest is a scheduled competitive event where the aim is to work the most number of stations in a given time period (whether 1, 8 or 24 hours). Placegetters typically get sent certificates, such as above.


QRPers can try for mainstream awards such as DXCC, received for working stations in 100 countries. QRPer's power handicap poses an extra challenge. However numerous operators have achieved it.

Many radio clubs have awards for working a certain number of their members or stations in their country, such as the WIA's Worked All VK Call Areas. Other well-known awards are Islands of the Air (IOTA), VK Shires, National Parks and Summits of the Air (SOTA). The latter is particularly popular, with the majority of participants running 5 watts or less.

Then there are the QRP-specific awards. Here in Australia we have the Milliwatts per Kilometre Award sponsored by the VK QRP Club. This award is designed to promote long-distance contacts with output powers of 1 watt or less. The Milliwatts per Kilometre Award is available to both phone and CW operators.


People either love or loathe contests, but there is no denying that they increase on-air activity.

The big international contests can cause bedlam on the bands, with most stations operating high power. Depending on how you look at it, QRP can be both frustrating and challenging. However participation in them is a good test of your station's efficiency. If you can make numerous contacts in a contest, especially an international contest, it is very likely that your setup is performing well. The ARRL DX Contest is probably the best of the major contests as the contest exchange includes your power level.

Start with one of the smaller or local contests if you haven't worked a contest before. Some contests have a QRP section so that QRPers are only competing against others with similar power but don't write off those that do not. There are also special QRP contests sponsored by organisations such as the VK QRP Club.

Click here for information on major Australian and international contests.

Examples of QRP activity in various contests appear below:

ARRL DX Contest: A major international contest

Remembrance Day Contest: A large Australian contest

VHF/UHF Summer Field Day: A VHF/UHF portable contest