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Young Amateurs Radio Club Wants to Pair Youthful Contesters with Big Gun Stations


The Young Amateurs Radio Club (YARC) Youth Contesting Program (YCP) wants to match groups of enthusiastic young contesters with “Big Gun” stations to gain operating experience during the CQ World Wide WPX SSB Contest over the March 30 – 31 weekend. The YCP is a weekend initiative for groups of young Amateur Radio contesters in the US and Canada.

“It will hopefully enable a new dimension of the hobby to young hams who have contested a little before and set a new precedent for the welcoming of a new generation of radiosport aficionados,” explained YARC Board Member Sterling Mann, N0SSC. The 27-year-old electrical engineer, who helps manage YARC programs and outreach, described the initiative as “intentionally flexible, lightly organized, and low-cost.”

“It works like this — we will attempt to pair a small group (up to four) of young contesters interested in operating with a ‘Big Gun’ station owner interested in hosting the youth group,” continued Mann, an ARRL member active in the College Amateur Radio Initiative. “The contesters will operate from the station, and the host has the option to help the youth improve their skills, provide advice, and even operate alongside. We will try to keep it such that young hams will only require a relatively short drive (ideally no more than 5 hours) to keep travel costs low.”

Mann concedes that this arrangement will require the participation of as many operators and hosts as possible, but suitable matches may not exist at all. He said YARC would try its best to improve the program going forward.

YARC’s YCP is inspired by the efforts of Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) and its own Youth Contesting Program, as well as Team Exuberance, Mann said. He added, “We hope to inspire a big chunk of young hams into becoming the greatest contesters of the 21st century.”

YARC is reaching out to radio amateurs under age 27 or so with at least some contesting experience who would be interested in operating the CQ WW WPX SSB at a contest-grade ham radio station, and to owners of such stations. He urges those interested to sign up (scroll down to select your role of station host or operator).

“Because we’re trying to keep costs low by making this a drivable event for our young ops, we can’t promise that you’ll be selected as a host or operator, especially if either no young ops sign up nearby your station or there’s no station near young operators,” Mann said. “Since this is our first try, we probably have a lot to learn about this, so bear with us.”

YARC hopes to announce matches on March 1. Email with any questions or comments. 



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