Announcing: A New Homebrew QRP Contest!!


From: howie cahn (
Date: Thu Dec 07 1995 - 15:40:35 EST

Hi all --
I write the 'QRP Contesting' column in NCJ, the ARRL's contest magazine. A
couple of months ago I asked for help here on the qrp-l list. I was
looking for people who operate with homebrew QRP equipment, AND, who
participate in the major, non-QRP-only contests like the CQ and ARRL DX
tests. Frankly, I was disappointed by the response. There don't seem to be
too many of you guys out there. So, instead of using my next column to
report on homebrew, QRP contesters, I decided to do something to try to
encourage more people to try it. Here, and in the next issue of NCJ (out
in January), I'm announcing a new contest. Actually, it's a
contest-within-a-contest. You can think of it as a new category for
entering the ARRL DX contest, only it's sponsored by me instead of the

Contest Rules
Basically, the idea is this: The contest period exactly coincides with the
February, 1996 ARRL CW DX Contest. All the rules for that event, as
published in QST, that are appropriate for the QRP operating class,
regarding valid QSOs, contest exchange, and scoring, apply. There will be
two entry categories, 'homebrew' and 'kit', as defined below. I will award
a plaque and certificates if I get at least two logs submitted in a
category, each of which has 25 or more QSOs that have point value (the NCJ
column will say 50 QSOs but I've decided to make it easier). The actual
number of certificates will be determined by the number of entries
received but I'll try to be liberal and creative in deciding. If your
station is part commercial and part homebrew I will accept a log that
contains only the QSOs made with the homebrew radios.

Please send logs to me by the same date they're due at the ARRL. Logs may
be sent on paper in either printed or legibly written form, by e-mail in
ASCII, or, on a PC-compatible 3.5" disk, either in ASCII or in a CT 7, or
later, file. I will confirm receipt of all logs received that include an
e-mail address. My address is:

        Howie Cahn, WB2CPU
        295 Beacon Street #23
        Boston, MA 02116

I'm not a lawyer and I'm making up these rules on the fly so please don't
look too hard for loopholes. The idea is to have fun and to encourage
equipment building and contest operating. I may change the rules some more
based on whatever feedback I receive. Feel free to contact me to ask about
rule changes or with any other questions.

I realize there already are homebrew QRP contests. They usually have
relatively few participants and don't afford many of the advantages of the
larger contests. During a big contest you may be able to work dozens of
European super-stations, with their good ears and high-gain antennas, with
less than a watt into a reasonably matched dipole (at least those of us on
the U.S. East Coast can). My hope is that by getting on during a major DX
test people will see the great opportunities these events offer for
evaluating equipment and building up country totals.

What Is Homebrew??
As we've seen in the discussion here in the last few days, deciding what
qualifies as homebrew equipment is one of the perennially debated
questions in the QRP community. In general, I agree with those who say
that whether or not your equipment is homebrew shouldn't factor into
contest scoring. Since this is specifically a homebrew-only contest,
however, I do need to define what homebrew is. As others have done, I've
divided equipment up into 'kit' and 'pure homebrew'. I've come up with the
following definitions for these two entry categories. The definitions are
admittedly not perfect but I think are as good as others I've seen that
are much less concise.

Kit Class: The installation of all components in the RF sections of both
the transmitter and the receiver sections of all equipment used was
performed by the operator.

Homebrew Class: Same as for kit. In addition, if one or more printed
circuit boards are used in the RF sections of the transmitter and/or
receiver, they must have been etched by the operator.

Could any of you who are editors of QRP or other club newsletters help me
publicize this? Feel free to publish or repost this message. It may be
edited as needed.

72/73... howie

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