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Thread: CQ contest question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Tracy, CA

    Question CQ contest question

    Hi, I'm fairly new to HF after upgrading to General a few months back. I hear a lot of stations on 40M and 20M meters contesting. My question, what information are they collecting from the other answering stations? I think Grid location is part of it, but what other info should I have available for them?

    I recorded a little last night for reference. Towards the end you can hear him asking for check & section.


  2. #2


    That is ARRL Phone Sweepstakes, one of the oldest contests going. Condensed explanation: Work as many stations in US, Canada and other US possessions only once (no multiple band contact)
    Exchange is Qso Number followed by "Category" A for low power B for High Q for QRP (there are others), your callsign, Year you were first licensed, ARRL section

    For example my exchange would be

    001 A W7MMQ 89 Montana

    Can be a fun event great way to work alot of states on different bands

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Lakewood, WA



    Every contest has a different exchange. An exchange can be a simple as a signal report and name or more complex as in the ARRL Sweepstakes that is going on this week-end.

    The exchange for sweep stakes goes back to the old school days of the ARRL message relay system. Its the most complicated exchange of all, but it makes sense when you understand where it comes from.

    The first point is a serial number. That is the number of contacts that you make in the contest starting with number1 and going on until the end of the contest. This comes from the old message relay when each individual message was assigned a serial number.

    Next point is call Precedence: in this contest it refers to the type of station that is in the contest and is a letter that denotes a low power station "A", High power station "B" QRP station "Q" School station "S" Multioperator "M" or Unlimited "U".

    Then comes your call sign.

    After that the "Check" which used to denote the numbers of words in the message. Now it is assigned to the year that you were first licensed.

    Last comes the section, which is your ARRL section.

    Yeah, its a bit much, but rules for this and other contests can be found a the WA7NBM site:

    have fun!


  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by KE6CRK View Post
    My question, what information are they collecting from the other answering stations?
    The BEST resource for contests is the WA7BNM Contest Calendar. ALL major and lots of minor contests are listed. Bruce uses a consistent format, showing all the important info (such as the information exchanged) without distracting/confusing fluff. He also provides a link to each contest's rules.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Great Falls, VA


    Contesting - "radio sport" as it is sometimes known - is a great way to make a lot of contacts in a short period of time, and in the process find out how well your equipment, and especially your antenna(s) are performing. It's made easier by using logging software that's designed specifically for particular contests, automating the process of recording the contact exchange information. I use the logging software designed by N3FJP (, which can be downloaded from his website at a very modest cost.

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