California QSO Party – October 6-7, 2018

CQP & improving your operating skills

From an operating point of view, what do Public Service, chasing DX or working contests have in common?

They all require accurate copy of information under stress – whether the stress of the moment, the adrenaline rush of rare DX or contest pile up, you have to accurately copy and relay information.

Entering a contest either casually to give some points or as a serious  effort, Contesting provides a great learning experience for information copy “under fire”.

The first weekend of October (October 6-7 this year) sees the 53rd running of the California QSO Party – a great opportunity for stations in California because everyone else HAS TO WORK US!

We are the DX! Whether you are a “big gun” with stacked yagis and 1500 watts, or a “little pistol” with 100 watts to a vertical or a wire antenna, everyone else in the world wants to work YOU to pick
up one of the 58 counties in our state.

It’s a lot of fun being on the receiving end of a pile up or searching & pouncing for other states and countries.

For California stations the object of the contest is to work as many stations as possible on SSB and CW. You can work the same station on each band and each mode for score credit. Every US state and Canadian province you work counts as a multiplier – 58 total
for us just like the number of counties in California.

Want to really be on the end of a pile up? Plan a “CA Expedition” to one of the rarer counties in California and the rest of the world will beat a path to your log!

Low Power, High Power? CW or SSB? CQP is a fun contest for all.

CQP is sponsored by the Northern California Contest Club. A group of NCCC volunteers help with promotion, planning county expeditions and processing all the logs to score the contest.

The last 10 years have seen a great increase in the number of logs submitted from the US, the DX world and (of course!) from California.

Last year we received 915 logs representing a total of 250,000 QSOs:

Every station that submits a log is eligible for an achievement certificate and there are several operating categories where the leader receives a CQP plaque for proud display on the shack wall.
Three categories are designed to encourage operation in contests:

  • YL award
  • Youth (< 18) award
  • California New Contester

To encourage more small-medium club participation, we’ve created three new competition categories:

  •  “Small” = the 10 highest scores from a club whose members who submitted their log in theSmall category will count for this competition category.
  •  “Medium” = the 35 highest scores from a club whose members who submitted their log in the Medium category will count for this competition category.
  • “Large” = clubs may combine the scores of any number of their members

If you work all 58 counties, you qualify for the “Worked All California Counties Award” sponsored by NCCC.

You can find the full rules and award details on the CQP web site at

So if you’ve never entered a contest or have only dabbled in the past, this QSO party is for you! Part-time or full-time, home operator or an expedition to a new county, CQP is a blast!

We hope you will join us this year and have a lot of Fun!

Glen Brown, W6GJB
CQP Chair