Author Topic: Worked all states award  (Read 1885 times)


  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2187
Worked all states award
« on: January 14, 2013, 07:25:59 AM »

Ham radio can be fun and challenging and there are numerous awards of achievement offered by several organizations, clubs and even individuals.

When I first started in ham radio it was customary to attempt to work all states at least in your first year of operating. You sent qsl cards to all your new contacts and some times you had a second contact with some, they qsled a second time.

On your qsl card you indicated how many states you had worked and confirmed with say 40 then a diagonal bar indicating the number you had confirmed. I have many cards in my file from the mid fifties and of course they have those indicators on them.

Now days, you rarely hear of any of the newer genre attempting to work all states, or much less a WAC award, or chasing after a DXCC award.  I suppose times have changed, the thrill of contacting a distant state has faded in favor of other pursuits.

Thing is if you apply yourself working all states as your basic achievement award can come rather quickly. Just the other day I participated in the North American qso party, it happens every year in January. No, I did not make them all in a couple of hours, but I did work all of the western states and most of New England.

In the Sweepstakes in November, you have the opportunity to work them all and I have done it a few times and in a few hours. Lots of activity, two weeks worth chose your mode phone, or cw.

There are of course two methods to confirm your contacts and claim an award, a piece of wallpaper stating you have done it. One, is ARRL, of course with the league proof is required in the form of qsl cards, or matching contacts via LOTW. Another is EQSL, they offer a certificate you can print out yourself once your contacts are approved. Your certificate is posted in your in box and you print it via your own printer. 

ARRL does not accept Eqsl confirmations, but then again if you have no preference as to what organization issues the award, or do you care about what ARRL rules are, then by all means go for it on EQSL.

If you really want to challenge your self, try WAS five bands, or the Triple play award both offered by ARRL. When I started on five band WAS it was a challenge, but with determination I wound up with a nice plaque from the league and #408 in May of 78.

No, I was not number one, but I was number 408 in the entire world and this plaque hangs proudly on the walls of my shack. In my first year as a Novice way back in 1956 I managed to work 37 states on thirty watts input, or in more modern terms about 15 watts output using a long wire antenna. Of course in those days Alaska and Hawaii were not states so they were U.S. possessions. However, I had fun trying and really did not confirm them all until 1962, Thing is, I was very happy to finally capture my last state of Delaware on 40 meters, that was a hard one to find.

There are nets that gather for the purpose of aiding those who are trying for WAS, one has been in existence for many years and that is the 3.905 net meeting during the evening hours on the 75 meter band. Another is the Geritol net, also meeting in the evening on 75 meters. I do believe they have changed their meeting frequency to 3.667 kHz. For years they met on 3.767, but since the band expanded for ssb to U.S. hams I think they are further down the band. If you are an Extra class ham you might find this challenging and fun.

Over the decades I have confirmed WAS several times, My basic mixed certificate dates back to 1962, I also claimed 5 band, plus Bicentennial WAS and “We The People” an award in celebration of two hundred years of our U.S. Constitution.

Long ago I qualified for CW and SSB certificates, but never claimed them since I am running out of available space on my shack wall. I have been stuck with 49 on six meters for years. I am lacking a Hawaiian contact it does appear that six meter operation is very sparse in that state.

Even on two-meter ssb when I worked it about twenty years ago, I managed to contact about half the states and the best one was North Dakota, a rare one even on the lower bands.

No, you will not work all states if you confine your self to a local repeater on two meters, contacts made via a repeater do not count for credit. However, even if you hold a Tech ticket you can operate satellite on two and down link to 15, or ten meters.

You can do Moon bounce, or work six meters and work many states when there are openings. You can add to your total of states in these methods, you can also make simplex contacts on two when the band opens, fm, cw, or ssb and even digital modes.

You can claim a mixed award, that is mixed modes and bands, or you can work them all on just one band, the choice is yours.

If you hold a General class, or an Extra class and have not attempted to work all states, what is your hold up? Go for it and put that certificate on the wall. Yes, it will require some paper, or computer work; you may have to purchase some qsl cards. Or, you may have to register with LOTW, or EQSL, By all means do it and hang an award on your wall that you actually did this via amateur radio.

I would urge any young ham to accept the challenge and have a few achievement awards on the wall. WAS is not an impossible award, but it does take some skill and dedicated operating and a little work. Once you start on the project, you will want to complete it even if it takes a while. Work the contests, add a large mass of states and gain the rest with normal contacts, or try the nets I suggested.
I have heard some of the new genre stating that they do not need wallpaper and I know I worked them. Did you really?  I have heard some hams claim they have worked 400 countries, but the joke is on them. There are not 400 countries in the world and certainly not that many in the DXCC program.

Sort of like that fish story about the big one that got away, the fish grows bigger with every telling of the story. Put that certificate on the wall, prove your self and smile every time you look at it.

So, what are the hardest states? North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware and Rhode Island. The rest are pretty easy, go for it.