Achievements Page

Just like QSL cards, awards for Ham Radio achievements are proudly displayed on the radio room wall, but few get to see them, and even fewer know the story behind them.

This page is my answer. Achievements are grouped together in chronological order. I explore WAS, WAZ, DXCC, WPX, WAJA, IOTA, SOTA, and other "worked all" awards.

Worked All States (WAS)

Contacting all 50 USA states is a basic award that most Hams try for. You can get endorsements for mode: phone, morse code(CW), or digital (usually RTTY, but now mostly FT8). Endorsements or separate awards are also available for frequency band.

Click on the awards to see them in higher resolution.

I was living in Southeastern Minnesota and licensed as a Novice in June 1975 with callsign WN0PTB. I upgraded to General class as WB0PTB in May 1976. That year was the USA Bicentennial and the FCC allowed us to use AB instead of WB in our calls, so I operated as AB0PTB. This was back in the day without packet spotting, FT8, and the number of amateurs was smaller. Not to mention that we were at a Sunspot minimum just at the start of Cycle 21 rendering 10 and 15 meters almost useless. Worked All States was harder to achieve. I remember getting some help on the rare states from a 40 meter phone WAS net. The result was my first achievement award, WAS during 1976, the Bi-Centennial. It was now 1977. I upgraded to Advanced class in May 1977. I was now hooked. In the process of the getting the basic WAS award, I took inventory and saw I had a good start on 5BWAS; that is WAS on the 10, 15, 20 40 and 80 meter frequency bands. WARC bands were not yet in existence at this time. There were two challenges to this. 1) We were still at a sunspot minimum. 2) I was graduating from High School in 1987 at which time I would be leaving home for College, ending my quest. I learned a lot trying to achieve my goal. Use of Sporadic E on 10 and 15 meters, use of backscatter on 10 and 15 meters, and long nights on 80 meters waiting for propagation to be favorable. In June 1978 I received 5BWAS from Minnesota. My equipment was a Tri-bander at 40 feet, with blockage to the South (see photo), and wire dipoles on 40 and 80 with apex at 35 feet. Power output was 100watts.
Timewarp now to 1989, now in California, and now in a Townhouse where I can put up dipoles in my attic. I upgrade to Extra class in 1990 and moved to a home in 1993. However my interests lay in DXCC and WAZ. The ARRL establishes the Triple Play award in 2009; WAS requiring Morse Code(CW), Phone AND Digital modes. I figure, sure, let's try. I don't remember when I started, but my award is dated 2014. It's 2014 and the ARRL is celebrating their 100 year anniversary. Special event stations are on the air from each US state and USA territory in a round-robin fashion by month. Initially I saw no interest in this. But late Feb I worked a few stations and as usual got hooked. I got all 50 states with endorsements for each USA territory.
With all this WAS activity, you guessed it, hat about 5BWAS from California? and what about those other frequency bands. So I start again. And to make things more interesting in 2014 we decide to move to Arizona, so I have a deadline to complete. This was fun, all bands (160, 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, 10) completed December 2014. We moved to Arizona fall of 2015. I'm not going to start 5BWAS over again, but, there are still more bands that I have not personally tackled. I have always loved 6 meters, frequency = 50MHz. I work with a 5 element homebrew antenna up 20 to 25 feet. Max power output 100 watts. I worked on this for a long time from California, but the hill to the east was killer for east coast. I moved to Arizona without hills and was able to achieve it in two years. Actually got the lower 48 states year one, HI and AK second year. Alaska and Hawaii are the toughest as they rely on 2-hop Sporadic E propagation. I have a whole page dedicated to 6-meters. Explore the propagation and see the contacts. 6M from AZ

What about 60 Meters? 60WAS #24. 60 meters is a fun band. The hardest states were ND and MT. I have only heard two MT stations, worked one. I have only heard one ND, and was lucky to be in the right place and right time to work him. Note, ARRL does not recognize 60M awards so this is from a separate entity 60metersonline.com/. The future.... I have always wanted to get into EME, even wrote a moon tracking software program in high school....maybe 2m or 70cm EME WAS???

Worked All Zones (WAZ)

I have always considered Worked All Zones the ultimate achievement. It requires you to have a global radio reach. The earth is divided up into 40 zones and the award requires a contact in each zone. The award was started in 1934. The WAZ maps published can be confusing. I did a lot of research and made my own CQ WAZ map in Google Earth. It is very accurate. You can download it here. It is a kml file than you open in Google Earth. When you look up contacts on my website I provide a link to a potion of the map that the contacting station is in.

Basic WAZ
40/40 Zones
40 Zones, any band, any mode. I started working hard on this award after moving into my california two-story townhouse in 1989 with short linear loaded dipoles in the attic. Surprisingly I achieved WAZ with this setup and a max power of 500 watts. I did however benefit from the fact that this timeframe was on the upside of Sun Spot cycle 21 with Solar Flux never less than 150, many times over 200, with 10 meters being very productive. My last zone? zone 34 in 1991. Total of 2 years to work all 40. Link to list of QSOs/QSLs for the award.
199/200 Zones
WAZ rules. The basic award is for 150 of the 200 possible zones. Endorsements are available in increments of 10 and a plaque is available for reaching 200.
For those with disadvantaged antennas take note. With attic dipoles and 500 watts: 10M:40 zones, 15M:40 Zones, 20M:40 Zones, 40M:36 Zones, 80M:15 Zones, total of 171 Zones. As expected, 40 and 80 Meters were tough.
Moving to a house with 3/4 acre lot in 1993 I was able to put up a GAP VoyagerDX antenna for 40 and 80. Granted a lot of work was done at the peak of Sun Spot Cycle 21. Less than a year with the antenna I had enough to apply with 181 zones. I now have 199 confirmed (writing this reminds me so send in for my endorsements!). THE ZONE LEFT: 34 on 80 Meters Anyone out there that can help?
160M WAZ
35/40 Zones confirmed, 35/40 Zones worked
Award #555 (paper is in the mail). The 160 Meter WAZ Award requires that the applicant submit QSL cards from at least 30 zones. Endorsement stickers are issued at the 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40 zone levels. The latest award list from CQ Magazine can be found here.
In 2015 I moved to Arizona on a 1.3 acre lot. I put up a 55ft top loaded vertical with 30 on ground radials. We are now in a Sunspot minimum which keeps the Solar Wind Low and Flares at a minimum. All good for 160M. I surpised myself with being able to quality for this award. Zones I still need are 21,22,34,37,39

DX Century Club (DXCC)

Definition of DX: Communications at a distance (Distant X). This is the most sought after Ham Radio achievement award. Probably because the basic award is more challenging than WAS, but not as challenging as WAZ. However etting ALL current entities on the list - that is the most challenging. The ARRL maintains a list of 'Entities' that count for this award. Roughly they are equal to the worlds countries plus remote island territories. As the worlds politics and borders change, so does the list. Today there are 340 Current DXCC entities on the ARRL DXCC Entities List. If you get credit for an entity that is later deleted, you maintain that credit. In essence two scores are maintained, total and current. Note that CQ Magazine has a similar award. Note that there are no single band awards available for 20 and 15 meters. My full stats for DXCC can be found here.
DXCC Challenge Recognition of total confirmations with DXCC entities (current only, deletions do not count) on 160 through 6 meters (except 60 meters) for a total of 10 bands. Maximum is 10*340 = 3400. A very lofty accomplishment. The current list of awards given is here. 3264 is the maximum anyone has attained from those in Europe where DXCC entities are like States here in the USA.
Mixed DXCC. Any mode (Phone, CW, etc) on any frequency. Achieved initial 100 entities in 1990. Today, 28+ years I still don't have them all. 323 total CURRENT entities confirmed, missing 17. Overall I have 333 confirmed current and deleted. Endorsement at 335. 160 Meter DXCC. Just above the USA AM broadcast band is 160 Meters at a frequency of 1.8 MHz. Europe, where most of the countries are, is very hard from USA west coast. Thought I would never achieve this one, but got #3196 Nov 18, 2018. Endorsement at 125.
80 Meter DXCC. This band is tough. It requires a large antenna and is usually high with noise. I use a simple vertical. I tend to put a lot more time and antenna work on 160M, so my 80M operating suffers a little. Endorsement at 200. 40 Meter DXCC. One of my favorite bands. It was the band I used for my first QSO back in 1975. One of the nightime bands. There is a wide variety of propagation phenomenons. Sunrise/Sunset enhancement. Long Path (going the long way around the world to make the contact). Long/short propagation. Endorsement at 250.
30 Meter DXCC. This is a new band WARC band opened in the early 1980s. Only CW and digital modes are allowed on this band. It is also limited to 200 watts. 17 Meter DXCC. This is a new band WARC band opened in the early 1980s. At solar max it does not get a lot of use, but at solar minimum it is usually the best band for DX. Endorsement at 200.
12 Meter DXCC. This is a new band WARC band opened in the early 1980s. This band has potential, however it is under underutilized. During low sunspots it rarely opens. During high sunspots everyone goes to 10 meters. Endorsement at 150. 10 Meter DXCC. A very fun band. But rarely open. It opens every summer during the sporadic-E season. It has fantastic openings during the years of sunspot maximum. Literally you can work DX using a 10meter equipped HT.
Digital DXCC. Back in the day, this was essential RTTY DXCC. Today we have many more digital modes, the most popular being FT8. My award is mostly RTTY. I do use FT8 to add new ones, but if at all possible if the station uses RTTY I try for that mode. Endorsement at 200. CW, Phone DXCC. CW and Phones are the traditional modes for a DXer. I never applied for the certificates, but do tally my totals here.

Worked Prefix (WPX)

CQ Magazine offers a number of Worked Prefix awards. You get a point for working (and confirming!) unique stations, where unique means their callsign prefix is unique. For example, for KF6HI, the prefix is KF6. Over the years I have made over 30,000 contacts. So I tallied up my prefixes and found I was close to the ultimate WPX award, the Award of Excellence. That award has endorsements, so I told myself if I'm going to do it, I'm doing it all. That meant that I had some work to do with AFRICA, 30 meters, 17 meters, 12 meters, 6 meters, and 60 meters.
Award of Excellence The WPX Award of Excellence requires a lot of contacts, and a lot of time to achieve. The requirements for the award are ALL of the following:
1000 prefixes in Mixed mode
600 prefixes in SSB
600 prefixes in CW
600 prefixes in North America
95 prefixes in South America
160 prefixes in Europe
90 prefixes in Africa
75 prefixes in Asia
60 prefixes in Oceania
175 prefixes on 80 Meters
250 prefixes on 40 Meters
300 prefixes on 20 Meters
300 prefixes on 15 Meters
300 prefixes on 10 Meters
50 prefixes on 160 Meters
175 prefixes on 60 Meters (My endorsement was the second one issued)
250 prefixes on 30 Meters
300 prefixes on 17 Meters
300 prefixes on 12 Meters
250 prefixes on 6 Meters
300 prefixes on Digital

My Current WPX Status is here

Worked All Japan Prefectures Award (WAJA)

Award for working and confirming amateur stations located in each of the 47 prefectures of Japan issed by Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL). Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, forming the first level of jurisdiction and administrative division. They consist of 43 prefectures proper, two urban prefectures (Osaka and Kyoto), one "circuit" or "territory" (Hokkaido) and one "metropolis" (Tokyo).
WAJA Being on the West Coast of USA Japan is not that difficult to work. Pileups can be fun. When the Sun is active, 10 meters is a blast. In the early 90s I worked hard to work all 47 prefectures. I worked them all except for #47. I lost interest but kept working JAs. Now retired I looked over the log and QSLs and saw that I now had many prefecture 47 (Okinawa) stations worked. So I finally got the award. Nice award printed on glossy card stock. Link to list of QSOs/QSLs for the award. JCC Currently tallying up my JCCs (Japan Cities), so far up to 292 confirmed....little more work to qualify for the 300 level. Including deleted entities there are a total of 800 Cities !

Islands On The Air Award (IOTA)

The IOTA (Islands On The Air) Established in 1964, the IOTA program promotes radio contacts with stations located on islands around the world to enrich the experience of all active on the amateur bands and, to do this, it draws on the widespread mystique surrounding islands. It is administered by Islands On The Air (IOTA) Ltd in partnership with the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).

IOTA has grouped the oceans' islands into some 1200 'IOTA groups' with, for reasons of geography, varying numbers of 'counters', i.e. qualifying islands, in each group and has published the listings in the IOTA Directory and on the IOTA website. The objective, for the IOTA Island Chaser, is to make radio contact with at least one counter in as many of these groups as possible and, for the IOTA Island Activator, to provide such island contacts. The programme has a strong rule structure. IOTA Management encourages friendly competition among chasers by publishing details of participants' performance in an Honour Roll and annual listings, as well as by recognising it with certificates and prestige awards.
IOTA My IOTAs...297 worked with 266 confirmed. This qualified me for IOTA-200.

Summits On The Air Award (IOTA)

The SOTA (Summits On The Air) program was established in 2002. the SOTA program promotes radio contacts with stations located on summits around the world. In the SOTA would there are Chasers and Activators. You can be either one oro both. For Activators it is usually an extension of a love of hiking.

There are rules for Activators such as total independence of commercial or generator power. Thus activations are usually QRP operations of 1, 5 or 10 watts. Frequencies used are HF and VHF/UHF. Typically how it goes is that an activation is posted on SOTAWatch3 either by the activator, listener or the RBN network. Chasers then scurry to the frequency and make a short contact. There are many different awards for chasers and activators.
SOTA Available as Bronze, 5 association 1 continent. Silver, 10 associations 2 continents. Gold, 15 associations 2 continents. Platinum, 20 associations 3 continents, ALL, ALL Associations (currently 187), 4 or 5 continents. This is my GOLD, my Platinum is in the mail.

Copyright 2016-2021 - Brian Hamerski, KF6HI