Operating awards are a great way of keeping you interested in being on the air. Awards can be something small and simple like the 1000 Miles per Watt award given by the QRP Amateur Radio International club, or a big award like DXCC from the ARRL. They all make great wallpaper.
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ARRL Awards

DXCC and Challenge

The DX Century Club award is managed by the ARRL. I earned this award in 2004 by providing proof (through the stack of QSL cards I had collected) that I had communicated with at least 100 different "entities" (countries, or independent or distant portions of a given country). Since then I've been adding to the collection.
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In the Spring and Summer of 2016 I was finally able to complete two major milestones in this awards program. I have DXCC on eight bands (80m, 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, and 10m), shown on the 5BDXCC plaque with the three additional endorsements.
The other milestone was DXCC Challenge for confirming contacts with a thousand different band/country combinations. For example, contacting England on 15m is one slot, contacting France on 12m is another. The next level for this award is 1500 such band/country combinations. That's not likely to happen anytime soon.

Worked All States

The Worked All States awards is a staple that every US shack should have. As the name implies, one can earn this reward by showing proof of communication with each of the 50 US states. Many big stations can earn a WAS in a day, but we smaller stations need a little more time!

I have completed a basic WAS award from Acton [Massachusetts], Pelham [New Hampshire], and the US Virgin Islands.
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Worked All Continents

The Worked All Continents award is managed by the ARRL and is awarded for proof of contact with the six continents (sans Antarctica).

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CQ Magazine


The somewhat awkwardly named Worked All Prefix award is given to amateurs that have worked 300 or more "prefixes". A prefix is the combination of letters and numbers that identify a country (or entity) plus a region number within that country. For example, my call sign is NE1RD. The NE1 is the prefix; the RD is the suffix. Searching and sorting through my pile of QSL cards was an interesting exercise when completing my application for this award. This was done around 2006.

Fast-forward now to 2013. The ARRL Logbook of the World (LoTW) now supports the WPX Awards program. It is now possible to use QSLs from the LoTW system for CQ Magazine WPX award credit. Just click and win!
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MIXED37 118176114 8553441533
SSB 1335
Needed 50  175  250  250  300  300  300  300  300  250  90  75  160  160  60  95 

CQ Magazine sponsors the "Award of Excellence." This is the ultimate award for the prefix DXer. The requirements for the award are all of the following:
  • 1000 prefixes in Mixed mode and
  • 600 prefixes in SSB and
  • 600 prefixes in CW; plus
  • all five non-WARC band endorsements 80 – 10 meters and
  • all six continental endorsements

I have the first four, but lack endorsements for Africa, Asia, and Oceana. There is still more work to do!

CQ DX Field

The CQ Field Award is given to stations that can show a minimum number 50 or more areas of the Maidenhead grid of the world. So, unlike the ARRL DXCC award which demands that you show proof of communicating with a minimum number of political entities, the CQ Field Award demands that you communicate with a minimum number of areas on the Earth.
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Worked All Europe

Europa 300

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From the DARC website: The oldest and most renowned of all DARC certificates is awarded for contacts with amateur stations in many European countries and on the European islands on different bands. Each confirmed country of WAE-Countrylist counts one point per band, with a maximum of five claimed bands per country. DX stations may count two points for any contact on 160 or 80 meters. The WAE award will be issued in all modes. Mixed mode is possible.
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The German amateur radio club (DARC) has an awards program. The Europa 300 award is given for having 300 European country-band combinations.