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ARRL Contest Rule Changes, Clarifications Reflect “Best Practices” in Radiosport


Just ahead of the 2017-2018 contest season, ARRL has announced rule changes and clarifications to League-sponsored contests. These include an improved process for submitting logs and reporting scores. Unless otherwise noted, these changes become effective starting with the September VHF Contest.


“These changes reflect current ‘best practices’ in the contest community and help us improve the quality of the competition and reporting of results,” ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, said. “For example, getting the log data into log checking more quickly will allow us to post preliminary results online for nearly all contests.”

Log Submission

Log submission in the “General Rules for All Contests” has been simplified and revised. Individual contest rules will no longer include a log-submission section (with exceptions noted in the contest’s overview section). Here are the most important points.

  • Online log submission: Except for the EME and 10 GHz and Up contests, electronic logs should be submitted through the web app. E-mail log-handling “robots” will continue to operate until they can no longer properly handle the logs without revision. They will then be deactivated and submitters redirected to the web app.
  • Log submission deadline: Effective immediately, except for the 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest (2 weeks) and the EME and 10 GHz and Up Contests (30 days), the log submission deadline for ARRL HF contests will be 5 days from the end of the contest (this includes the IARU HF Championship). For ARRL VHF contests, the log submission deadline will be 10 days from the end of the contest. To accommodate any issues, an extension may be requested, explaining the necessity to the ARRL Contest Branch Manager any time before the submission deadline.
  • Logged frequency: HF contest entries competing for awards as category leaders are encouraged to specify frequency with a 1-kHz resolution. This is standard practice for other top contests, and it assists with log checking.
  • Public logs: The log used for log checking will be posted online for public inspection.
  • Paper logs: These will continue to be accepted, but are only eligible for awards at the discretion of the Contest Branch Manager.
  • Log withdrawal: Logs may be withdrawn up to 10 days following the log submission deadline.

Club Competition

The new toolset for clubs to comply with the Club Competition rules (Section 8 of the General Rules for All ARRL Contests) has been very well received.

Clubs must submit up-to-date eligibility lists before the contest to be included in the results. Only scores from members in a valid eligibility list will be counted toward the club score total. Members must reside and operate in the specified club territory (club circle or section) to contribute scores to a club total. Calculation of club scores will now be based exclusively on this information. No further waivers of eligibility rules will be granted. For more information and tools for submitting your club’s eligibility list, visit the Contest Club Competition — Club Eligibility Changes page.

Log-Checking Penalties

Penalties for “zero-point” contacts, such as US-to-US contacts in ARRL DX, will not be assessed during log checking. Operators may continue to log and submit zero-point contacts. Submitting these contacts helps to ensure that full credit is given and that log checking is as complete as possible.

Remote Entries

Acting as the control operator for a remotely controlled station in the US or its possessions requires that the operator hold a US license and have sufficient privileges for all operation. CEPT/IARP reciprocal operating authority does not include remote control of a US station. If another operator acts as the on-site control operator, the entry must be in a multioperator category. The location for the entry will be the location of the station, regardless of where the operator is during the contest.

Operating Rules

  • Multiple in-band CQing: Recognizing that amateur bands are generally full during contests, maintaining two or more frequencies to solicit contacts (i.e., “run”) on the same band and mode is prohibited. (The IARU HF Championship and the ARRL 10 Meter Contest prohibit this practice regardless of mode.)
  • Call sign and ARRL November Sweepstakes exchange: The station’s call sign must be sent as part of the exchange, i.e. “W1AW, number 123, Alpha, W9JJ, 79, Connecticut.”
  • US operators in Canada: The reciprocal operating treaty between the US and Canada requires that the call sign be sent with the Canadian prefix following the call sign, i.e. “W9JJ/VE1,” not “VE1/W9JJ.”
  • Single Operator, FM Only: Cabrillo QSO lines must specify FM as the mode for all FM contacts.

For more information, contact the Contest Branch Manager.