K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

CHN HistoryContest History

CW County Hunting Contest History
by John Shannon, K3WWP

Click here to see the results from the first CH contest

A very important spinoff from the net was the County Hunters Contest which we started in 1967, and which continues today under the sponsorship of MARAC. This contest was largely the idea of WA8EOH.

Click on the above picture to see a larger version plus the results from the very first CW County Hunters Contest in 1967.

A letter from WA8EOH dated Dec 8, 1966 reads in part:

One of the main reasons I wanted to write was to fill
you in on several ideas I have and give you chance to
think about them and then perhaps we can discuss them
around Christmas time. The first idea is for CHN to
sponsor a contest much like the QRP or CHC QSO Parties
with the purpose being to work as many counties as
possible. Maybe a better way to describe it would be
like a state QSO party on a nationwide basis. ......
As you well know, QSLing in contests is always a
problem. A solution to this might be the exchange of
"SURE" for those willing to QSL upon receipt. The
remainder of the exchange could be any or all of these:
QSO number, RST, first name, county, or state.

Dave and I exchanged several letters regarding the rules for the contest. I have the letters from Dave, but not copies of my letters to him. As I am writing this history, they make really interesting reading. Instead of trying to provide all the details, I will just say that the rules did come together after much discussion into the following:

Time: July 29 0000GMT to July 30 2400GMT (48 hours).
No time limits.

Mode: CW only. Stations may be worked once per band.

Frequencies: 3535, 7035, 14070, 21070, 28070. Novice
3725, 7175, 21175.

Call: CQ CH de K3XXX K

Exchange: QSO Nr/ RST/ County/ State/ QSL item (SURE
if you answer all cards received, SASE if you require
s.a.s.e. for your QSLs)

Scoring: Number of QSOs times (number of counties plus
DX countries)

Awards: Top 3 overall, top 3 each state, top 1 each DX

Logs: Must contain exchange sent and received and be
sent to K3WWP* no later than Aug 30, 1967. Enclose
s.a.s.e. if contest results are desired

* John H. Shannon, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, Pa.

The date was decided upon with much help from Frank Anzalone, W1WY who ran the CQ Contest Calendar at that time. He wrote to me on Jan 31, 1967. He says in part:

Regards a date for your anticipated CW County Contest.

I would suggest the month of July rather than August.
The latter generally shows more contest activity.
To date I only have the Venezuelan on July 1/2 and the
Colombian on July 22/23. That leaves three week-ends in
July open.............That would make July 8/9 and July
29/30 as the most desirable........I would say either
one of the above two weekends would be OK, with the
last 29/30 as the one most likely to be free of other

Dave handled the details regarding printing of certificates and other financial matters. I would be the one checking the logs after the contest. A letter from Dave dated March 25, 1967 has an interesting item:

......Before I begin, I will say that all these
expenses are maximized on the basis of expecting 250
logs to be submitted and the distribution of 200
certificates. So here's the breakdown:

        PAPER                          6.00
        200 9" x 12" clasp envelopes  10.00
        Printing (2 color)            25.00
        Postage                       20.00
                                      61.00 total.

This March 25 letter also included the first version of the above contest rules.

All in all, the first contest was fairly successful. 75 logs were received from participants with 49 states and some 30 countries represented in the contacts. Most importantly, you could have gotten some 350 different counties if you worked everyone in the test.

The second county hunters contest was held in 1968, and was run by K2UFT and K2VGR under sponsorship of the South Shore Amateur Wireless Association. In 1969, control of the contest passed to K0WNV (now W9MSE) again under sponsorship of CHN, who ran it through 1981, doing most of the work himself, as I did with the 1967 contest. In 1982, the contest was taken over by N6QA. Jeff, W9MSE, wrote me recently with the following info. "In regards to the CWCH Contest you could add that the new contest chairman is W3DYA and I think he took over starting with the 1994 contest. Also you might indicate that the CW contest is officially sponsored by the MARAC now. It took over sometime in the 1980's. I don't know when, because I was out of ham radio completely for about the entire 10 year period. It had been the CW CHN as sponsor when I was in charge of the contest."