August 24, 2008

QSL Cards and Contesting

One of the many exciting activities of ham radio is the DX-pedition. Radio amateurs collect QSL cards from other stations, indicating the continents and regions which they have contacted. Certain zones of the world have very few radio amateurs. As a result, when a station with a rare ID comes on the air, radio amateurs flock to communicate with it. To take advantage of this phenomenon, groups of hams transport radio equipment into a remote country or island (such as normally uninhabited Bouvet Island, which has the rare callsign prefix 3Y). These expeditions can help hams quickly achieve a communication award such as a DXCC. To obtain the DXCC award a ham needs confirming QSL cards from hams in 100 countries around the world.

Contesting is another activity which has garnered interest in the ham community. During a period of time (normally 24 to 48 hours) a ham tries to successfully communicate with as many other hams as possible. In Australia, one such event is Field Day,the contesting amateur may concentrate on just DX stations, or only on stations powered by emergency generation equipment or running on batteries, which is meant to simulate hurricane or other emergency disaster conditions. Some contests may or may not be limited in allowable modes of transmission.