Yellowknife Amateur Radio Society

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada



VE8IR, VE8MT and VE8RT Operating ARRL Field Day 28 June 2014 from Scouts Hut (VE8WD behind camera)

The term "contesting" is a bit of a misnomer in that the term suggests a competition where someone profits from a tangible prize at the end.  It does  imply a sense of competitiveness which is a way of demonstrating enthusiasm and one's skills whether athletic, intellectual or whatever.  

In the amateur radio service contests are held to allow amateurs to compete with other amateurs and to show-off their technical skills and proficiency at operating radios in the amateur radio service.  Generally part of that showing-off also involves sportsmanship.  Typically the prizes involved are placements in certain categories or perhaps even the award of some sort of trophy.  In reality "contests" are actually opportunities to employ one's skills in a manner that would be expected and demanded in an operational environment - such as a civil defence emergency.  

For example in the Radio Amateurs of Canada/American Radio Relay League annual Field Day competition, points are achieved by carrying out certain tasks that are oriented to the operating of an Emergency Communications Centre.  Point multipliers are awarded for

  • operating on low power and natural power sources; 
  • handling message traffic;
  • using Morse Code or digital modes over telephony (SSB);
  • sending message traffic to the RAC/ARRL emergency coordinators;
  • etc.
VE8MT Operating Digital Modes via HF JT-65 (now replaced by FT-8)

But there are other challenges including the logistics of setting up an Emergency Communications Centre for 24-27 hours, handing press inquiries, safety, logging and reporting contacts, manning the station etc.  In reality contests are not contests but operational exercises for Civil Defence.

YARS participates in at least three contests each year

  • RAC/ARRL Field Day (last weekend of June);
  • RAC Canada Day Contest (1 July); and
  • RAC Canada Winter Contest (some time in December).
VE8IR at the Frostbite 50 Amateur Radio Emergency Coverage 2013

This is on top of other exercises we engage in such as emergency radio coverage for the Ski Loppet, Frostbite 50 and other events.

There are other contests - typically at least one every week.  We participate sometimes in these such as the ARRL Rookie Round Up and the Commonwealth Contest.  For a listing of contests consider the following calendars

VE8DM Takes Down Bib Numbers at Ski Loppet 2015