VHF Contest School — Rules and Scoring

     The ARRL Contest Rules page is here:  http://www.arrl.org/contest-rules
    The specific link to VHF contest rules is:  http://www.arrl.org/general-rules-for-arrl-contests-above-50-mhz

    Please remember that if logging or scoring is going to give you difficulty,  the main thing is to just get on the air, paper log if need be, with the format I specified in my article entitled “Logging”.   We can sort thru the scoring and log submission process after the contest is done.  Or you can read thru the procedure yourself.   Some do get it the first time around.   I didn’t, but you may.   🙂   

      The vast majority of new VHF/UHF contesters will be in the Single Operator — Low Power category.   The upper limit for Low Power is 200 watts on 6 and 2 meters.   It’s 100 watts on 222/223 and 432/440.    It’s 10 watts on the microwave bands, which start at 902/3 Mhz, and include 1.2 gig, and on up thru 10 gigahertz.  
      EDIT — EDIT — January 17, 2013.  Effective with all 2013 ARRL VHF/UHF Contests, new categories and rules have gone into effect.  The information above may be outdated.  There are new categories for those with 50, 144 and 432 only, plus a new category for FM-only stations on 6m, 2m, 1.25m and 70cm bands.  I now suggest you spend a little time at the ARRL rules website and educate yourself.  Main thing to know is that VHF/UHF Contesting has never been more accessible to Joe and Jane Q. Ham.   Or had a more level playing field.  END OF EDIT.        
      Remember you don’t have to be an ARRL member, nor do you have to submit a log to enjoy contesting.  It’s voluntary.  Encouraged — yes.   But still voluntary.    Further, if you belong to a V/UHF club, make sure you enter the club’s name in the “club affiliation” box at log submission time.   If you live within this circle and join the same club I belong to, then you can submit your score as a Badger Contester  http://www.badgercontesters.org/club_area.html  For a short post about the BC’ers, visit this link  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1654

       The basic contest exchange is callsigns and grid squares.  If you don’t know your grid square, you will need to.  You can find your grid square on www.qrz.com, when you look up your own call sign, and then click on “click for more  detail”   All you need is the EN63, or EN53,EN52, EN62 part.   Don’t worry about those two small letters at the end of your grid square info.  

    The scoring is:
    1 point for a contact or Q on 50/52 Mhz or 144/146 Mhz.
    2 points each for a Q on 222/223 and 432/440. 
    4 points each for a Q on 902/903 and 1.2 gig (1296)
    I doubt anyone who’s reading these articles as a beginner has bands beyond 432, but if you do have 1296, make sure to make some Q’s there with your 1296 friends.   I have 1296.   I have 902/903 as well.   The guys I work in contests on those bands are often on CW, and some SSB, too.   If there’s FM activity in a contest on 900 or 1296, I’m unaware of it. 

      Your total score is computed by adding up all your raw QSO points and multiplying that times the number of  different grid squares (also referred to as multipliers) you worked on each band. 

      Let’s use some examples:  Say I ended up with the following totals:
     50 Mhz     18 Q’s  in  8 different grid squares
   144 Mhz     25 Q’s  in  9 different grid squares
   222 Mhz     11 Q’s  in  7 different grid squares
   432/440    12 Q’s  in  6 different grid squares
     The Q’s on 50 would be worth 18 pts  (1pt each)
      On 144, worth 25 points.        (1pt each)
      On 222, worth 22 points.        (2pts each)
      On 432, worth 24 points.        (2pts each)
     Add those 4 numbers up and you have 89 points. 
     Now multiply 89 times your total number of grid squares worked on the various bands. 
     8 + 9 + 7 + 6 = 30. 
     My score in this example would be 89 x 30 = 2,670

     Say you only have 2 meters and you had 37 contacts in 9 different grids.  Easy example — your score would be 37 x 9 = 333 points. 

      One more example — Say we get a period of sporadic E skip on 6 meters for a time.   Then you may work a bunch of different grids squares scattered across the USA.
      Your log ends up being:
       50 Mhz    44 Q’s in  23 different grids
      144 Mhz    27 Q’s in  7 different grids
     Your score would end up being 44+27 = 71 QSO pts.
     Times the 30 different grids you worked.  71 X 30 = 2,130.

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