QCX Challenge

The QCX challenge is our monthly operating event to encourage operators to get on the air with their QCX (or other) radios and enjoy the pleasures and benefits of CW. It started in early 2019 with a discussion on the QRP-labs reflector when Harv K2PI asked “why don’t we have a QCX QSO party?”

Good idea! So this is it. Its designed to be a fun and friendly opportunity to get on the air with your QCX (or QSX as soon as it is released) and explore its potential. Both were designed from the outset to be superb CW radios and they do not disappoint.

CW is a wonderful mode and it is truly amazing what can be achieved with relatively low power even under poor propagation conditions. Transatlantic and intercontinental QSOs are perfectly possible with these amazing little radios using even relatively modest antennas like dipoles or end-fed half-waves.

The QCX Challenge is for everyone, experienced contest operator or cw beginner. And you don’t need a QCX to take part:

The three one-hour sessions are timed so that most people in the world can join in and each is scored separately.

When: Last Monday of the month 1300z to 1400z, 1900z to 2000z, 0300z to 0400z (note, this is the LAST session, it is technically Tuesday 0300-0400Z, but will be Monday evening local time in US).

Bands: 20m 40m 80m

Frequencies: nominally around the QRP centres of activity (14.060, 7.030, 3.560 respectively) but please spread out and use spotting aids (see below) to see where people are. QSOs anywhere on the band can be counted. Don’t cluster at the centre of activity! Use the VFO, someone will spot you and call you. If you are searching use the VFO and very slowly tune up and down listening for weak signals.

Mode: CW

Focus: Worldwide


  • Any QCX/QSX running without an external amplifier (typically 2-5 watts)
  • Any other qrp radio (up to 5 watts)
  • Any radio (up to legal max)


  • Use of high gain antennas is allowed
  • Spotting is encouraged. QRP signals can be weak and it helps to know where to look.
  • The Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) is an excellent tool (http://www.reversebeacon.net/), and this interpretation of RBN data helps to see where people are on the band (https://dxcluster.ha8tks.hu/rbn_ct1boh/). Announcing yourself on the QRP Labs reflector or Facebook page is allowed.
  • Any feature of the QCX/QSX is allowed – specifically for the avoidance of doubt this includes the use of message banks, keyer, the inbuilt decoder and any other standard functionality

Power: Non-QCX can run up to legal max

Exchange: true RST, Name, QTH, rig


  • Work a non-QCX operator – 1 point per QSO
  • Work a QCX operator – 3points per QSO
  • Note: scoring is for fun, this is a party, not intended to be a serious contest!

Scores: please submit your score to 3830scores.com

Logs: Not required.

Please send in your results even if you listened but made no contacts. Typically you’ll make between 2 and 10 contacts per session with a QCX and about ¼ of those will be with another QCX. If you tune up and down the band pouncing on anyone calling CQ you could get a lot more!

The important thing is to be active, explore the limits of your QCX and have fun on the bands.

First QCX QSO party, Monday 25-Feb-2019

We are very grateful to Harv K2PI for the suggestion and Peter GM0EUL for actually organizing the first ever QCX QSO party. Peter also drafted the above text. 

The first QCX QSO party was held on 25-Feb-2019 at 1300Z-1400Z and 1900Z-2000Z, on 20m and 40m only. The results are listed below. The number after the callsign indicates the number of QSOs, and the number in parentheses indicates the number of QCX-QCX QSOs. 


Tony N0BPA 5 (1) reported no qcx/qcx but logged by KE4RG as a QCX/QCX so added here
Colin M3WCK 3 (0)
Ken KE4RG 2 (2)
Peter GM0EUL 2 (0)
Hans TA4/G0UPL 2 (0)
Don K3RLL 1 (1)
Nick WB5BKL 0 (0)


Hans TA4/G0UPL 7 (1)
Ian G4GIR 3 (2)
Bob N3MNT 2 (1)
Richard G0ILN 2 (1)
Nick WB5BKL 2 (0)
Peter GM0EUL 2 (0)
Colin M3WCK 0 (0)

Great that there were plenty of QCX/QCX contacts. 33 QSOs altogether, of which 8 were 2-way QCX. Almost 1/4!