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The RAC Challenge Award: An Overview

RAC Canadian Portable Operations Challenge blue logo

Radio Amateurs of Canada introduced a new Canadian Portable Operations Challenge Award for RAC members on Canada Day, July 1, 2021.

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

RAC Challenge Application Form:

RAC members can sign up for the RAC Challenge now by completing the application form at the following link. Please make sure that you are logged into the RAC website before doing so.

RAC Challenge – Radio Amateurs of Canada

Portable Operations and Features of the RAC Challenge

Note: Please see the RAC Challenge FAQ webpage for more information.

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)
  • Summits On The Air
  • Islands On The Air
  • 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.

Activations

Every contact you make 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 some of the eligible operations are provided below and more will be added as they become available.

Scoring

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.

Multipliers

As described above, 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
  • Summit in the Summits On the Air (SOTA) program
  • Lighthouse in Canada – see the World List of Lights provided by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS)
  • Maidenhead Grid locator (4-digit grids only)
  • Province and Territory
  • St Paul Island and Sable Island

RAC Challenge Awards and Leaderboard

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.

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 “RAC Challenge” program operates 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.

Report Deadline

All reports of portable operations must be submitted within seven days of each operation. That is, your operation ending on January 10 must be reported by January 17, your operation ending on February 28 must be reported by March 7, and so on.

Share your stories

We hope you enjoy participating in the “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: https://www.rac.ca/member-stories/