For many HAMs, award chasing is the driving force of their daily activity. The UBA Award Manager, working within the HF Commission, informs UBA members about this aspect of our hobby.
A large number of domestic and foreign certificates are available for the active amateur who succeeds in meeting well-defined criteria.
Belgian DXCC Card Checker
Let there be no doubt about it: the premier award for any amateur radio operator is the DX Century Club (DXCC) published by the ARRL.
The famous DXCC (short for DX Century Club) is considered by many to be the "mother of all awards". It can be applied for by the radio amateur who has worked and confirmed at least 100 different DXCC areas.
The UBA has its own ARRL authorized card checker. Although primarily aimed as a service to UBA members, foreign HAMs may take use of this service if no card checker is available in their own country.
Please contact the Belgian Card checker before even considering of mailing any DXCC applications.
On behalf of UBA members, a dedicated page about this program is available (available for logged in users only).
UBA & Belgian Awards
The UBA and its local divisions give you the opportunity to earn a number of awards.
The past few years portability activities have become more and more popular. These stations are not randomly put on the air but often activate outdoor sites such as castles and windmills or put nature reserves in the spotlight. The "Belgium Oudoor Shack (BOS)" groups these enthusiasts.
In addition to the famous DXCC, there are a few awards that are among "the classics" sought by most HAMs worldwide
- Worked All Continents
Issued by the IARU for working at least one station in each continent.
- Worked All Zones (WAZ)
The commercial American Magazine CQ divided our globe in 40 zones. The basic award can be achieved by working a station in each of these zones.
- Worked Prefixes Award (WPX)
Also issued by CQ Magazine for working different amateur radio prefixes. The basic award is available for 400 such prefixes in mixed mode. Worlds top contenders have over 9,000 prefixes confirmed.
- Islands On The Air (IOTA)
Probably one of the most sought after award program next to DXCC. It's all about working at least 100 different island or islands groups.
Awards of all shapes and sizes
Over 3,000 awards worldwide are available to the Deserving.
The IARU's "Worked All Continents (WAC)" forms a great start for those who are just starting out.
Many national IARU societies offer some kind of award for working stations in their countries. The emphasis is often on a country's geographical divisions or on working a specific number of stations in their country. A nice example is the VERON's PACC (PA Century Club) for contacting at least 100 different Dutch HAMs or the USKA's Helvetia Award for working each Swiss canton.
IARU clubs are usually organized into local divisions. These, in turn, do often issue diplomas around a regional theme or for contacting their club members. Examples are the "Le Haut Rinois Award" of REF 68 or the "Holzhammer Diplom" of the DARC Ortsverband G22.
Also, clubs dedicated to one or another specific interest within radio amateurism usually offer certificates for contacting their members or special achievements in their specific field. A nice example is the "CW 2000" of the German Activity Group CW Group for which you have to make at least 2000 telegraphy connections during one calendar year.
Historical, cultural or sporting events or their commemorations also often give rise to the issue of a special diploma. Often this can only be obtained during a limited period of time.
Earlier on this page we mentioned the "Belgium Outdoor Shack (BOS)". More and more radio amateurs are setting up all kinds of portable activities. These are not mega DXpeditions to rare countries or islands but the activation of nature reserves, castles, lighthouses, mountain tops, windmills, small local islands, etc.
Often the band is buzzing with such activities. There are often interesting award programs attached to these.
Some international examples are:
Diploma Interests Group - DIG
Since 1969 more than 4,000 diploma chasers have grouped German based "Diploma Interest Group (DIG)". Those who are members of their own IARU association, show interest in collecting awards and already have a number of certificates in their possession can join this association.
Rules and applying for awards
As so often, Internet search engines are an excellent resource when looking for award regulations. Of course, the web pages of the national IARU societies and their sections can also be of help when you are looking for the rules of a specific diploma. Special interest clubs that focus on, for example, telegraphy, certain bands or digital modes often also have web pages that can be of assistance.
The emergence of online systems such as Logbook of The World (LoTW), hamlog.online, etc. simplifies the application procedures considerably.
Prestigious award programs usually require that a connection made has been confirmed before you can claim it for a certificate. Electronic confirmations are sometimes, but not always, accepted. In such cases, QSL cards are a must.
Often an application must be made on paper. This often involves the use of a logbook extract or GCR list. These are two different things. A logbook statement means that connections are not necessarily confirmed. GCR (General Certification Rule) is a list that contains the data of the claimed connections but also the statement of two radio amateurs in which they confirm that the data is in accordance with the QSL cards received.
For some programs there are so-called "checkpoints". These radio amateurs are very familiar with the award programs they are associated with and are authorized to verify your QSL cards.