The RAC Challenge Award: An Overview

Slide for RAC Challenge and Quebec Parks On The Air

Radio Amateurs of Canada is pleased to present a new Canadian Portable Operations Challenge Award for RAC members.

The objective of the new “RAC Challenge Award” is to recognize and encourage portable operations by RAC members from locations throughout Canada.

The new program will begin on Canada Day, July 1, 2021 and we hope it will become an annual event for RAC members.

Note: the following information is tentative as the new Awards program is still being organized so please stay tuned to this webpage for future updates.

Portable Operations

Portable operations are those in which Amateurs take their equipment, antennas and power supply to a location away from their home station to operate. This includes mobile stations, backpackers, DXpeditions and participation in events such as those described below:

  • Parks On The Air (POTA), a worldwide program of park activations –
  • Quebec Parks On The Air (QcPOTA) April 1 to December 31
  • Field Day: June 26-27

There are several other programs that celebrate portable operations including Summits on the Air (SOTA), Islands on the Air (IOTA) and the International Lighthouses and Lightships Weekend.

Features of the “RAC Challenge”

The new “RAC Challenge” will recognize all portable operations in which RAC members participate and will have similar features as a contest. Amateur Radio contests in VHF, UHF and the Microwave bands all have categories for “Rovers” – who move from grid square to grid square and “Backpackers” – who seek out hilltops from which to operate with highly portable equipment and antennas.

For many satellite operators, making contact with as many grid squares as possible is a mark of success. Some of those operators go on satellite DXpeditions to activate rare grids or operate from the intersections of grids to offer multiple grids with a single contact. In addition to being fun, these activities provide an opportunity for Amateurs to experience what is required to set up and operate under challenging conditions – valuable experience for emergency preparedness.


Note: the following information is tentative as the new Awards program is still being organized so please stay tuned to this webpage for future updates.

Every contact you make from July 1 to December 31, 2021 will have a point value:

  • Make a minimum of one contact to claim credit for activating that location.
  • Each day, you may work the same station once on each band and mode from each location.
  • You can work the same station as you move from place to place, or as you move from one band and mode to another.

A list of eligible operations will be provided on this webpage and also at:


For activators, every contact you make has a point value depending on what your source of power was:

  • 1 point: regular commercial power
  • 2 points: independent power source like batteries or a generator
  • 4 points: a green power source such as wind or solar-charged batteries
  • 10 points: each contact above 902 MHz regardless of your power source

The following activations are also eligible:

  • Field Day scores count towards the “RAC Challenge”.
  • Multi-op activations such as Field Day, a contest or a DXpedition in Canada: a share of the contacts equal to the total number of contacts divided by all the operators who were present.
  • Public service events and emergency communications – real or simulated. Since logkeeping is usually not possible during these events, if you wish to claim your participation you earn a lump sum of 100 points per day of deployment – but don’t count your QSOs, you’ll be too busy handling important traffic.
  • Satellite contacts are also eligible and are highly encouraged. However, contacts through terrestrial repeaters are not eligible.


To encourage portable operators to go to multiple locations, over the course of a month, participants can accumulate one “multiplier” point for each new:

  • Parks On The Air (POTA) entity
  • Islands On The Air (IOTA) group
  • Summits On the Air (SOTA) entity
  • Lighthouse and Lightships for the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) and other programs
  • Maidenhead Grid locator (4-digit grids only)
  • Province and Territory
  • St Paul Island and Sable Island

RAC Challenge Awards

Activators participating in the “RAC Challenge” will submit their “QSO points” at the end of each month.

The RAC Canadian Portable Operations Challenge webpage will feature a Leaderboard which will have the accumulated totals for each operator listed by month. Certificates will be available to participants with the top five scores in each month. Certificates will be downloadable from the RAC website for printing and framing.

In 2021, the monthly scores from July through December will be added together to determine the winner of the first official “RAC Challenge Award”. In subsequent years, the award will be presented to the Activator who has the highest score for the 12-month period.

“Coureurs des bois” Award

“Coureurs des bois” / “Runner of the Woods” played an important role in the exploration of North America and were vital in establishing trading contacts with Indigenous peoples.

In recognition of this history, Radio Amateurs of Canada is also offering awards to Amateurs who participate in several portable operations and are based on the number of reports submitted.

  • Bronze: 25 portable operations
  • Silver: 50 portable operations
  • Gold: 100 portable operations

Activators can operate from the same location multiple times, but we hope you will spread your portable operations far and wide. It’s up to you how you pursue your own “Coureur des bois” status.

Report Submissions

The new “RAC Challenge” program will operate on the honour system so there is no need to submit your logs or provide any direct evidence of your activations. However, we reserve the right to ask you for your logs and other evidence so please keep them handy. Stay tuned to this webpage for additional information on how to submit your report.

Share your stories:

We hope you enjoy participating in the new “RAC Challenge” and look forward to reading about them in the pages of  The Canadian Amateur magazine and on the RAC website.

Please submit your stories and photos to or by using our “Member Stories” online form at:

RAC Canadian Portable Operations Challenge Award