Reach for the Top in the ARRL 160 Meter Contest


While Solar Cycle 24 is making the high bands the focal point for HF operators, 160 meters -- often called “Top Band” -- is still chock-full of DX. There’s no better time to explore this fun and exciting band than the ARRL 160 Meter Contest, running the weekend of December 2-4.

The ARRL 160 Meter Contest is an all-CW event. The object of the contest is for DX stations to contact American and Canadian stations (and vice versa). And according to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, everyone will be seeking you, especially if you live in a rare Section such as North Dakota, Nebraska or any of the rare Sections from November’s Sweepstakes contests. In this contest, Alaska (KL7) and Hawaii (KH6) count as ARRL Sections, as do the Caribbean US possessions (KP1-KP5) and all of the Pacific Ocean territories (KH0-KH9). This means that DX stations can contact stations in these call areas for contest credit.

“If you don’t have an antenna for 160, you should just load up whatever you have through an antenna tuner and give ‘top band’ a try,” Kutzko said. “Even a 40 meter dipole through a tuner will make QSOs. And since ARRL and RAC Sections are each worth 2 points and count as multipliers, the ARRL 160 Meter Contest is a good way to begin working -- or finishing up! -- your Worked All States (WAS) award. But don’t forget about those DX stations: each DXCC entity is a multiplier and is worth 5 points.”

The 2011 ARRL 160 Meter Contest runs from 2200 UTC Friday, December 2 through 1559 UTC Sunday, December 4. Logs must be e-mailed or postmarked no later than 1600 UTC Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Paper logs should be sent to ARRL 160 Meter Contest, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.