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Round Up Those CW QSOs in the ARRL CW Rookie Roundup


The ARRL’s Rookie Roundup comes around again on Sunday, December 18! This time, the focus is on CW operation. The Rookie Roundup is an on-the air event is designed for newly licensed amateurs to build their HF and 6 meter operating skills. Similar to the ARRL Novice Roundup that ran from 1952 until 1995, the Rookie Roundup combines a competitive event with some on-the-air training, bringing fun and Elmering into the 21st century. Three Rookie Roundups -- SSB, RTTY and CW -- are held each calendar year: The CW running of the Rookie Roundup will take place Sunday, December 18 from 1800-2359 UTC.

Who is a Rookie? Any amateur licensed for three years or less, regardless of license class. If you received your license in 2009, 2010 or 2011, you’re eligible to compete as a Rookie; stations licensed before 2008 can only submit checklogs, but will be recognized in the final results. Old-timers are encouraged to get on the air and work the Rookies, just as in they did in the Novice Roundups. According to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, the Rookie Roundups are an immediate, hands-on way to teach good operating practices to those just getting started. It’s also an excellent activity for clubs: OT’s can open their doors to newer club members and help them get on HF and work CW.

“When I was licensed in 1982, my Novice license only permitted me to operate CW,” Kutzko said. “The old Novice Roundup was one of the events that kept me interested in CW and Amateur Radio. I worked a lot of old timers in the ‘NR’ who took the time to listen for a ‘newbie’ like myself. It was great fun and encouraged me to stay on the air. Now the Rookie Roundup serves the same role. This will be the second CW Rookie Roundup, and I’m really excited about it. With interest in ham radio at an all-time high, many new licensees are interested in learning CW because it’s a direct link to our heritage as hams -- and besides that, it’s just fun!”

The Rookie Roundup is a great warm-up for ARRL Straight Key Night. If you’re a Rookie new to CW, get on the air and listen for stations calling “CQ RR” or call “CQ RR” yourself! You need not send any faster than you can copy -- people will slow down for you and you will work stations. If you’re an Old Timer or a member of a club that promotes CW operating, break out your straight key or paddle, QRS and remember what it was like when you made your first CW QSOs. Work some of the Rookies who are wearing the same shoes as you did “back in the day” and show them how much fun CW can be.

The Rookie Roundup is a single-operator event only. Stations are allowed a maximum of 100 W. Elmering is encouraged and use of spotting networks is allowed, but please -- no self-spotting. Use the real-time contest logger at to log QSOs, or use the paper summary sheet and log; both are available on the Rookie Roundup Web page. All scores must be reported using the Rookie Roundup Score Reporting Form by 2359 UTC on Wednesday, December 21. New for December 2011: certificates will be emailed to all Rookies shortly after the event, thanks to help from Bruce Horn, WA7BNM.



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