AM QSO Party Results

Event Summary 2022 AWA AM QSO Party

Ron Skipper W8ACR

Click on the button to the right to view the Event’s Log Sheet

Click on the button to the right to view the Event’s Soap Box

Click on the button to the right to view the Event’s Photos

The annual AWA AM QSO Party was held on September 24 and 25, 2022. This is an annual operating event to promote the use of the AM mode on the 160, 80, 40, and 20 meter bands. This year 19 amateur stations submitted logs and scoresheets documenting their activity during the event. There were also two flagship stations in operation, W2AN was operating in New York state, and W8ACR was operating in North Dakota.

Although the event was a definite success, log and scoresheet submissions were down from last year, when I received a total of 30 log submissions.  I think there were a couple of reasons for this. First, this was the first year that the event occurred in September. Prior to 2022, it was always held in February. I think it may take a year or two for people to think about it as an autumn event. Second, I think band conditions and propagation were only average at best. 160 and 20 meter contacts were way down from last year, I think due to band conditions. 80 and 40 meter conditions were generally good, and the bulk of the activity was on those two bands. At my QTH in North Dakota, the weather was good and there was low atmospheric noise, but 160 meters was basically dead, and 20 was mediocre. This seems to have been true for much of the country.

Having said that, I had pretty good success on 40 meters, making contacts to Florida, Arizona, British Columbia, and many points in between, but surprisingly, I heard almost nothing from the Northeast on any band. I did manage to contact WA8UEG in Eastern Pennsylvania on 20 meters, but that was as far east as I got. I ended up with 25 QSO’s total, nineteen on 40 meters, three on 80 meters, and three on 20 meters. By comparison, last year I made 82 contacts and was successful on all four bands.

As usual, there was a wide variety of equipment being used. I think that we have reached the point where modern, high tech equipment is more commonly used than vintage tube gear. Coupling a high tech transceiver with a high tech amplifier seems to be a very popular setup for many hams running AM.  Nevertheless, there was a good representation of vintage and homebrew equipment as would be expected. I will make special mention of John N2BE for his unique station. He was using two homebrew unamplified TRF receivers on 40 and 80 meters. Although he was able to hear other stations on his unique and creative receivers, he failed to make any contacts as he was also running low power around ten watts of carrier output. His comments about these receivers are in the “Soapbox” section and his photographs are in the picture section.

This year’s top score goes to Steve WA8UEG with a score of 138. Hot on his heels were WA1SOV and W1TS with scores of 129 and 126 respectively. W2AO placed a distant fourth with a score of 78. By comparison, last year’s winning score was 246, so again, this is just an indication of mediocre conditions and less overall activity. One thing that I always notice with an AM operating event, and this year was no exception, is that I always get two or three (or more) stations that say something like “this is my first AM contact”. I am always happy to hear such comments, and I always encourage those operators to use AM more often, and maybe consider getting some vintage gear to use as a dedicated AM station.

One interesting side note of this year’s event is that I was contacted by Caryn, KD2GUT, who apparently is a reporter for some sort of amateur radio news service. She was interested in the event and asked if I could write an article about it, which I did. I guess the moral of the story is that other hams do pay attention to events like the AM QSO Party. We should remember this and endeavor to maintain a high standard of operating courtesy and decorum. It will help to attract some of the best and brightest to our AM community.  (editor – see that dialog at the end of Ron’s report.)

I would also like to comment on the new scoring sheets and station contact logs. I think they were well received overall. I did not detect any major confusion on scoring issues. The log sheets were a good addition from my point of view since I was able to easily verify proper scoring. In one case, I noted some bad arithmetic as I reviewed the log sheet and reconciled it to the score sheet. So while I think the new log sheets and score sheets were an improvement, I am always open to suggestions for further refinements.

Thank you to all who participated in this year’s AM QSO Party. I think that the last weekend of September will probably be our planned timeframe going forward, so mark it on your calendar. See you next year.

Ron’s dialog with Caryn-KD2GUT who is editor for Amateur Radio Newsline

Hi Caryn,

The AM QSO Party is an annual operating event sponsored by the Antique Wireless Association (AWA). It’s not really a contest per se, but just an event that encourages the use of the AM mode of communication on the amateur bands. Of course, there was a time, way back when, when AM was the only voice mode available to radio amateurs. As we all know, in today’s world, virtually all voice communication is via the SSB mode, and there are good reasons for this. Nevertheless, many amateurs are finding enjoyment in using AM again, and AM has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. Still, many amateurs never try AM, and the AM QSO Party is an event when we try to get a lot of AM activity on the air so that hams who have never tried the mode, will give it a shot. Of the 40 or so contacts that I made this year, three said that it either their first or second time using AM on the air. So the event is just a way to advertise AM and encourage it’s use. I think that once a ham operator uses AM successfully, he realizes that it is a viable alternative to SSB, and not just an outdated mode of communication.

I’m not sure how many years the AM QSO Party has been held, but I have been the coordinator for the past three years, and I know that it was held for at least two years prior to that. Perhaps someone at the AWA headquarters could answer your question.

As far as the benefits of AM, first, it usually sounds better than SSB as long as the signal strength is good, so it is pleasant to listen to. Second, many hams have commercial or homebrew equipment built in the 1940’s or 50’s. Using AM is a way to use this vintage gear on the air so that it is not just collecting dust on a shelf. Thirdly, AM lends itself to long, casual, and relaxed conversations that are frequently technical in nature. I have enjoyed many AM QSO’s just as a listener without even joining in, and I have learned a lot of radio knowledge just by listening. Shortwave listeners frequently tune in to AM QSO’s between hams. I have gotten several QSL cards from SWL’s through the years. Lastly, AM transmitters are relatively easy to build, so if you are interested in building homebrew equipment, AM gear is a good place to start.

I usually get about 20 logs submitted by the participants, but there are easily between 100 and 150 unique callsigns that make AM contacts each year. Most participants don’t send in a log, they just want to try AM.

I hope this answers your questions. I’ll be happy to send more information or answer more questions if you like. There is much more information about the AM QSO Party on the Antique Wireless Association website.

73, Ron Skipper W8ACR

Hi Ron,

I am KD2GUT, editor of Amateur Radio Newsline. I am writing about the AM QSO party which just concluded – we would like to able to include a short report about it for this week’s newscast. Can you tell me a little more about its origins, what it accomplishes for those who take part and – if you have even a good guesstimate? – the level of participation?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

73 with thanks

Caryn Eve Murray  KD2GUT