2021 North Carolina QSO Party Contest Rules

Updated 10/24/2020

                                                                                                                        PDF Version


For amateur radio operators outside the state of North Carolina to make contact with North Carolina stations. Amateur radio operators within North Carolina, activating as many NC counties as possible, making contact with everyone.

Contest Period

1500 UTC February 28, 2021 to 0100 UTC March 1, 2021. (10 am to 8 pm EST on February 28, 2021). All stations may operate the entire contest period.


Single-Operator (Single-Op)

One person performs all operating and logging functions operating from a fixed location used for amateur radio operation.

Multi-Operator (Multi-Op)

More than one person performs transmitting, receiving and logging functions, etc., all using the same call sign.  All apparatus are to be located in the same location (within 1000' dia. Circle).  A maximum of two simultaneous transmitted signals on the air. If two transmitters are used, they may work any and all stations and may be on the same or different bands. The operation is required to stay in one fixed location for the duration of the contest.  No remote operation is allowed in this category.

Submit one combined electronic Cabrillo log file.  Each participant's call sign should be listed in the Cabrillo header on the “OPERATORS:” line.  Individual participants may not work their own M/2 operation for QSO credit at any time during the event, from anywhere.


One or more persons perform operating and logging functions from a self-contained vehicle capable of operating while in motion. Motion is optional. All apparatus used must be wholly contained in, on or attached to the vehicle. Attention to driving and safety is top priority. Use of a separate driver (whether an amateur radio operator or not) is allowed and strongly encouraged. Mobile stations that choose to move to a new county may work everyone again for QSO credit. If returning to a previously activated county, only new stations, respective of band and mode, not previously worked from there may be counted as QSO credit. Mobiles may give out two counties in one QSO if part of the vehicle is physically and safely located in both counties simultaneously. See “County Line Contacts” below.   This category allows only Low Power.


One or more persons operating from a temporary location using portable antennas and radios. No permanent antenna structures may be used. Use of trees, buildings, etc., to raise antennas is allowed as long as it is safe to do so and not originally intended for that purpose. Mobile radios, equipment, and antennas installed in, on or attached to a vehicle wholly for mobile operation are not permitted to be used in this class. The vehicle may be used as part of the setup once stopped in the temporary location. (i.e., a vertical base held under one wheel) Expedition stations that choose to move to a new county may work everyone again for QSO credit. If returning to a previously activated county, only new stations, respective of band and mode, not previously worked from there may be counted as QSO credit. Expeditions may give out two counties in one QSO if part of the radio, feed line, or antenna is physically and safely located in both counties simultaneously. See “County Line Contacts” below.


Plaques and Certificates

Plaques for first place, and (electronic) certificates for second place are awarded for the following categories:

Single-Op / In-State / Phone (Low Power)

Single-Op / In-State / Phone (High Power)

Single-Op / In-State / CW (Low Power)

Single-Op / In-State / CW (High Power)

Single-Op / In-State / Digital

Single-Op / In-State / Mixed Mode (Low Power)

Single-Op / In-State / Mixed Mode (High Power)

Single-Op / In-State / Mixed Mode (QRP)

Multi-Op / In-State / Phone (Low Power)

Multi-Op / In-State / Mixed Mode (Low Power)

Multi-Op / In-State / Mixed Mode (High Power)

Mobile / In-State / Mixed Mode (Low Power)

Expedition / In-State / Mixed Mode (Low Power)

Single-Op / Out-of-State / Phone (Low Power)

Single-Op / Out-of-State / Phone (High Power)

Single-Op / Out-of-State / CW (Low Power)

Single-Op / Out-of-State / CW (High Power)

Single-Op / Out-of-State / Digital

Single-Op / Out-of-State / Mixed Mode (Low Power)

Single-Op / Out-of-State / Mixed Mode (High Power)

Single-Op / Out-of-State / Mixed Mode (QRP)

Top DX Score


Special Award for NC Operations

A GigaParts ( gift card in the amount of $150 will go to the In-State entrant, in any category, who make the most combined QSO's on 20, 15, and 10 meters. These are QSO's that otherwise qualify for score credit in the submitted log (Duplicates don't count, for example.).  In the event of a tie, the award is shared (split) between the winners.  Residents of other places who come to North Carolina and operate an In-State station (in any category) are eligible for this award.

It is noted that some categories have inherent advantages over others in the raw numbers of QSOs possible because of mode, band, and location changes allowed for QSO credit.  This was taken into consideration by the committee.  The decision on what category a participant decides, which award to pursue, and the operating strategy is left up to the individual.  The purpose of this special award is to encourage and stimulate activity on the higher HF bands.


Operating Details


In-State Stations work everyone. Send call sign and NC county. Use the county abbreviations as needed. Out of State Stations work NC stations only. Send call sign and QTH (State, Province, or "DX".) Sending signal report (i.e., 59) is optional.


Operate on 80/75, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meters. No 160, WARC, or above 2 meters. Suggested operating frequencies (MHz) CW: 3.540, 7.040, 14.040, 21.040, 28.040, 50.040, 144.040. Phone: 3.860, 7.260, 14.260, 21.360, 28.360, 50.160 (SSB), 52.040 (FM), 144.260 (SSB), 146.520(FM). Digital: (Use standard digital frequencies per band plan) No cross-band QSOs are allowed. No repeater, satellite, or other relaying device may be used to complete a QSO for award credit.


QRP - 5 watts or less for CW, 10W-PEP for SSB/Phone.

Low - 150 watts or less.

High - Legal limit power.



Phone - Includes SSB, AM, FM voice

CW - All CW QSO's for award credit must take place in the CW sub portion of the band. Does not include any other digital mode.

Digital -  All legal digital modes (except as noted) are allowed and considered one mode for these purposes.  Note:  FT-4/8 is NOT a digital mode allowed for QSO credit at this time.

Mixed Mode - Any two or more modes as described above. No cross mode QSOs are allowed.



QSO Points

Phone - 2 points for each phone QSO.

CW - 3 points for each CW QSO.

Digital - 5 points for each Digital QSO. All permitted digital modes, except CW, count as “Digital”.


It is permissible to work the same station on each mode (Phone, CW, Digital) on each band for credit. A valid QSO logged for award credit consists of date, time, mode, call sign, and location as described in Exchange above. For In-State Mobile or Expedition participants: It is permissible to include two counties in a QSO where applicable. A two county QSO must be logged as two lines, one for each of the two counties.


Count each multiplier worked only once across all modes or bands.

In-State participants: 100 North Carolina Counties, 49 US States (no NC) plus DC, 14 Canadian Provinces/Territories (AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NU, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, and YK), plus one DX. 165 total possible.

Out-of-state participants: 100 North Carolina Counties.

Any location not listed above is considered DX. This includes US Territories, Mexican provinces, and DXCC countries. No restriction on NC stations to work DX for QSO credit, but only one “DX” multiplier is applied in the calculation of the final score representing all DX worked.

Bonus Points

50 points each for working the following bonus stations: N4W, N4O, N4L, N4F, N4P, N4A, N4C, and N4K. (400 possible).  In addition, 200 extra points for working a sweep of all eight stations spelling the word “WOLFPACK” from the call suffix letters (Total 600 points).  See on the NC QSO Party home page for details.

For Mobiles and Expeditions only: 100 bonus points for each county activated where at least one QSO was worked.

Final Score

Multiply the total QSO points times the total multiplier value. Add bonus points to score (as applicable) after the multiplication.

Submitting Logs


Cabrillo format is required for all electronic logs submitted via the website. The category items that should be verified in the header with the valid selections to ensure proper scoring are:



ARRL-SECTION: NC or (anything else)

ADDRESS: Address where awards should be mailed ADDRESS: (Use as many lines as needed for address)

EMAIL: Valid email address for submitter

OPERATORS: For Multi-Op category, submit at least two participating operator call signs.



All logs must be received by March 15, 2021 (Paper logs postmarked by this date). Electronic submission via the website is encouraged. Electronic Cabrillo logs should be submitted via the website. Multiple mobile, expedition, and multi-op logs, if applicable, should be combined and submitted as one Cabrillo text (.LOG) file. Paper logs submitted via US Mail are required to include the completed NCQP Summary Sheet. Paper logs are still accepted, please be aware these must be processed manually by a committee member.

Log Submission Methods

Web Page (Preferred): Go to "Logs" tab and submit your log.


Send paper log together with the completed summary sheet to: NC QSO Party c/o Charles Swindell, 10809 Rondeau Woods Ct., Raleigh, NC 27614

County Line Contacts

A Mobile (while stationary) or Expedition may operate on a county line and contacts can be used as credit for two counties. A maximum of two counties may be worked simultaneously under this provision. Some part of the vehicle or radio apparatus (including antenna) must rest in and be located in each of the two counties on the county line. The methods to determine the county line are dictated by MARAC County Hunter rules outlining the definition of a county border. ( page 6) Note that this reference to MARAC is officially part of these rules. The entrant is responsible to document any county line determination, but this is not submitted with the log entry. This county line information is subject to audit and the committee will request this from the participant should the need arise.


Misc. Rules

All entrants competing for awards in all categories except “Multi-Op” only one transmitted signal is permitted to be on the air at a time. "Multi-Op” entries may have a maximum of two transmitted signals on the air simultaneously. There are no band or mode change limits.

All entrants in order to receive any award must have completed at least 25 QSOs.  These QSOs must be logged as required in the same log that qualifies for the award.  This applies to all plaques, certificates, prizes, drawings, and sweeps.

Clarification on use of high power:  Single-Op award categories (in and Out of State) have both High and low power options, as does In-State Multi-Ops.  Low power and below only is allowed in Mobile, Expedition, or the Digital categories.

Use of spotting networks, nets, Packet Cluster, Skimmer, RBN, or other assistance is allowed in all categories.

Use of remote radio equipment and antennas (via remote link) is permitted in the Single-Op category as long as the receive and transmit equipment are located together in one location. Entry category is based on the location of the transmitter, receiver, and antennas.

Final results will be posted on the NCQP web site. First place awards will be mailed to the recipients to the address provided in the Cabrillo log header or summary sheet. Second place certificates will be e-mailed to the recipient.  A hard copy Second place certificate can be mailed at the request of the recipient.  Other non-category certificates awarded are sent by e-mail only.

Members of the North Carolina QSO Party committee may participate but are not eligible for individual awards. A committee member's participation within a Multi-Op category activation disqualifies that operation from award eligibility.  1x1 bonus stations are not eligible for awards.

All licensed amateur radio operators may participate and submit their log for awards except as noted in these rules.

Each entrant submitting a log for an award agrees to be bound by the provisions, as well as the intent, of these rules, the requirements of his or her amateur license, and the decisions of the North Carolina QSO Party committee.