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The First Rookie Roundup -- Coming April 18!


The ARRL's newest contest -- the Rookie Roundup -- is getting a lot of buzz among newly-licensed amateurs. Designed as a modern equivalent to the ARRL Novice Roundup from a few decades ago, this new incarnation combines a competitive event with some on-the-air training. The first Rookie Roundup is scheduled for April 18 and will be an SSB contest.

The Rookie Roundup is six hours of fun on a Sunday afternoon that is designed to give new hams a chance to get their feet wet on HF and 6 meters. Old-timers are encouraged to get on the air and work the Rookies, just as in they did in the Novice Roundups. The six hour event -- from 1800 UTC-2359 UTC -- will be held on the third Sunday of April, August, and December. SSB, RTTY, and CW will be featured in the different months.

Who is a Rookie? Any amateur licensed for three years or less, regardless of license class. If you received your license in 2008, 2009 or 2010, you're eligible to compete as a Rookie. Non-rookies are encouraged to work the Rookies and be an Elmer to those just starting out. It is an immediate, hands-on way to teach good operating practices to those just getting started.

Reception to the new event has been very strong. "I'm getting a lot of e-mail about it," said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "There are a lot of new hams pretty excited about this event. I'm also hearing about clubs opening their doors to help the Rookies get on the air and experience the fun of competition in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere than of a big world-wide event." Kutzko has created a blog for the event to provide up-to-date news, the official rules and answer common questions for the Rookie Roundup.

The ARRL Rookie Roundup also embraces a lot of new technology, including live scoring and reporting of the results within a few hours after the event ends. Thanks to Gerry Hull, W1VE, and the team at, results will be available very shortly after the event. To officially enter, stations should log on to and choose one of two ways to report their score: by using a Web browser logging page to enter QSOs in real-time or from a standalone log, or by reporting their score summary using's Universal Score Uploader. Both Rookies and Non-rookies must complete their entries within one hour after the contest ends. More details are available on the Rookie Roundup blog.

Being the first running of a new contest with new technology, the April 18 running of the Rookie Roundup is going to be a test run of sorts. "This will be the 'shakedown cruise,'" Kutzko explained. "There will be some things that work, and some things that don't. We'll see where the wheels come off and listen to what the participants have to say. We'll also work out any bugs we encounter for the August event that will be also be conducted using SSB to encourage repeat participation. As this is going to be a recurring event, it's quite likely the rules will evolve over time as we discover what works and what doesn't." The first CW event occurs in December and the first RTTY event will be in August of 2011.

The Rookie Roundup is a golden opportunity to have fun, learn new skills and provide many Elmering opportunities. We hope to see you on the air April 18!



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