The LARGEST Vermont QSO Party Ever!


It was another year of low sunspot numbers which usually does not help the results. But we had two major factors going for us this time. This was the second year of the State QSO Party Challenge with more people finding out about this event and many other people actively working to bring their listing higher up on the Leader Board. And the second thing, which Ill term, Ham Radio COVID factor, where the numbers of people getting on for events goes way up. It could be argued that folks dont have much else to do these days, but well take the results anyway. While we all are looking forward to saying Sayonara to COVID, we also hope that the increased participation stays around.

Conditions were pretty much the same as last year at the start. A nice run started things off on 40 meters until it went long, and then a smaller run on 80 meters. The morning brought so-so conditions into Europe on 20 meters, but multipliers were there if you worked at it. The new Eurasia contest made its debut and helped bring more stations on the air. But I have to admit, copying their 6 digit grid squares on HF was a chore! With a lot more people on CW, quick forays to CW kept the rate up when phone conditions sagged. FT8 was the go-to mode for late night operation when phone just didnt produce. It was also useful to stay on the air while taking breaks for trivial things like eating.

With COVID this year, there was no multiop at Host Station W1NVT just me, myself and I. Others were invited to put W1NVT on from their locations, but everyone elected to use their own callsigns. I did run FT8 on other bands simultaneously with runs on 20 meter phone, which made Vermont stations on digital more accessible.

Sunday morning started out slowly. Another new contest, the EU Contest, kept the DX coming in. In the afternoon, stateside rates continued at a torrid pace. However, by 2000Z, things were slowing down. I kept seeing cluster spots for 15 meters, so I cautiously gave it a try. The rates werent great at first, but I was providing a new band for many stations looking for Vermont. Then, all hell broke loose and the rates jumped way up. After an hour or so, 15 meters was getting worked out. I made the rather strange decision to go back down to 20 meters instead of up to 10 meters which was opening up. It was a good choice 20 meters was insane. Speaking and typing as fast as I could go, I could barely keep up at the rate jumped well over 300 for a short time. The reason 20 meters opened to short skip all over the Northeast. This in addition to everywhere else in the country being heard made for some fun times. For the last hour, I got in a small run on 10 meters to finish it all up. Who needs the Stupid Bowl we got ourselves a tremendous opening.

And this is the point which bears repeating. NEVER turn the radio off in the middle of an event. Many did just that and missed out on the fun. Keep plugging away until the final bell tolls because you never know what propagation will do! Host station W1NVT ended up with over 2600 QSOs and 200 multipliers on 6 bands and 3 modes. If you didnt work us, you must have had your radio switched off!


This year, 31 Vermont stations submitted logs up from 23 last year. The number of QSO's these stations made was WAY UP from 9282 to 15122 QSO's. Not every Vermont operator elected to submit logs. Below is a list of other Vermont stations who we knew were active. While many only made a few contacts, there are some call signs in this list which were seen in many logs. With 32 stations submitting logs and another 36 not submitting logs, that results in total of 67 Vermont stations on the air that we know of, which is the highest ever. We always get comments like, "Where were you guys?" The key point is that Vermont IS a RARE state. We only have around 1000 higher class (above Technician) licensees and many of those hams do not have HF stations. The challenge is that you have to look carefully for Vermont stations, whether it is on SSB, CW or FT8. Tune around and also use the DX-Clusters and spotting networks, and you will find those rare Vermont stations!

All of the Vermont multipliers were available, but you had to work hard to find them. Some of the rare counties were activated by N1FS/M and K1IB/M. But most of these QSO's were on CW, so you had to be on that mode to work the rare counties. Unfortunately, we saw minimal activity from Orleans, Franklin and Grand Isle counties as the rovers did not activate these. There were 1-2 stations on very briefly from these counties. This was surprising because Franklin County has a number of active hams. No rover activated Grand Isle county, even though it is only 20 minutes from heavily populated Chittenden county. On FT8, 4 Vermont grid squares, FN32, FN33, FN34 and FN44 were available as multipliers. Three club stations, W1NVT, W1JXN, and N1FS/M were available for extra multiplers on the various modes.

The number of CW contacts increased this year from 2101 up to 3405, a 62% increase. The more CW activity there is, the more folks will go to that mode to make contacts. The Vermont QSO Party does not have mode categories and one of the reasons for this is that we encourage everyone to operate as many bands and modes as they can to put more signals on the air.

Over on the digital side, the number of FT8/FT4 doubled from 986 to 1914 QSOs mainly because of the SO5B operation of KI1P. However, the number of outside Vermont stations using FT8 increased dramatically as many stations realized that more contacts and multipliers can be had on this mode.

Logs From VT

Year Logs QSOs
2021 31 14740
2020 23 9282
2019 28 6377
2018 22 7418
2017 18 6330
2016 21 7262
2015 17 7834
2014 24 7100
2013 17 5958
2012 18 4360

2020/2021 Comparison



Vermont Stations Not Submitting Logs

   AG1W    BEN        N1DIQ   FN34
   K1HTQ   RUT        N1DMP   FN34
   K1LJL   FN34       N1RPH   FN44
   K1XH    WNS        N1SZO   ADD
   K1XV    WNS        N1UR    WAS
   K2LE    BEN        N2HX    FN32  
   KA1ZQX  FN33       W1AIM   WAS
   KB1LLU  FRA        W1EAT   CHI
   KB1LOT  CHI        W1GHZ   WAS
   KB1MDC  GRA        W1HZN   ORL
   KB1NFQ  BEN        W1IL    CHI
   KB1VP   FN33       W1SMC   WNS
   KC1CZB  LAM        W4YFJ   CHI
   KC1EXY  ORA        WA1JL   FRA
   KC1GGA  BEN        WA1NBU  BEN
   KE1AZ   CHI        WA1TBV  BEN
   KT1J    FN34       WA1TTL  CHI
   KT1VT   FN34       WB2WFJ  RUT
   K1IB/M  Rover



Top VT Stations

Single Op
W1JXN 227684
KK1L 206798
AA1SU 152520
K1VMT 128168
N1SP 120173
N1JEZ 87696
W1SFR 76467
KB1FRW 76431
WX1O 59630
W2HDI 29172
Multi Op
NS1DX 323280
KI1P 172362
N1FS/M 40425

Zach W1JXN (Chittenden / FN34) moved up from 2nd place to a great 1st place of 227k using low power on phone, CW, FT8 and RTTY. He reports only using wire antennas, as his antenna farm is still being approved by zoning. He did not score an impressive amount on any band or mode, but was active on ALL of them, proving that a modest station with a great operating ethic can indeed win events.

Ron KK1L (Chittenden / FN34) went full time in this years event and turned in a very impressive 207k on phone with a bit of FT8 all while running low power. His phone numbers were the highest of any single op station.

Paul AA1SU (Chittenden / FN34) repeats with a third place finish, improving this year to152k, running high power on phone, CW and FT8

Joe K1VMT (Lamoille) repeats with a fourth place finish of 129k, this year running low power CW only. His CW QSOs nearly doubled everyone elses.

Randy N1SP (Bennington) is a newcomer to the top five with 120k, running low power phone and CW.

The rest of the top ten included a number of horses who ran up big totals, mostly on 20 meter phone, N1JEZ, KB1FRW and WX1O, in addition to N1SFR on CW. It was partially through their efforts that Vermont was a lot easier to work this year.

In the multiop competition, NS1DX (Bennington) was the air from K2LEs super station in southern Vermont, piloted remotely by Gerry W1VE and Ed K1EP . They combined for 323k points running tremendous numbers on phone and a good number of CW as well.

Chris KI1P (Washington / FN34) set up and successfully ran a SO5R operation (single-op, FIVE radios) on FT8. This is in addition to 5 computers and 5 antennas. The radios were set to all transmit at the same time, eliminating any interference. He worked an incredible 1026 FT8 QSOs for a score of 172k. Initially, I did not know what category to consider this. However, a single operator station can only transmit on one band at a time, which ultimately put this operation into the multioperator category.

The true heroes of the QSO Party are the rovers who deal with winter weather to put all those rare counties on the air. N1FS/M was piloted by Kevin KE1VT, Rob N1TRK and Brett K1VYS from the back of a box ambulance. They report that sitting in the back of moving ambulance made them sick! But they still managed to visit 10 counties and rack up 40k points. There were also rover activations by Mark NN1R, and Mill K1IB/M.

Phone Leaders

Station QSOs Mults
W1NVT 213698
NS1DX1903 81
KK1L1233 87
N1JEZ 958 74
WX1O 890 67

CW Leaders

Station QSOs Mults
K1VMT 624 69
W1SFR 358 68
NS1DX342 63
W1NVT 321 74
W1JXN 283 54

FT8 Leaders

Station QSOs Mults
KI1P 1026 56
W1NVT 201 28
N1GB 121 20
AB1WG 110 19
N1FS/M 98 9


All submitted logs were required to be uploaded to the WA7BNM robot which does some basic checks to make sure that the log is in the correct Cabrillo format. When all the logs are received, they are processed through a program which compares QSOs. In other words, if W1YYY shows a QSO with W6ZZZ on 20 meter SSB at 1800 on February 6, W6ZZZs log should show the same. If the contact is missing from the other log, it is called a NIL (Not In Log). Or else, if the callsign is copied wrong, or the band or the mode or date is wrong, the QSO is flagged. Virtually all contest sponsors check QSOs in this manner. Unlike the ARRL and CQ, we do not assess a penalty just the bad QSO is not counted. And unlike other sponsors, all flagged QSOs are checked by a human (uh, that would be me), to accurately assess who made the error.

With more logs submitted and more QSOs made, a LOT more errors were made. Besides the busted callsigns, many QSOs showed the wrong band or mode. Some of our Vermont counties bedevil operators. In particular Windham (WNH) and Windsor (WNS) drive everyone crazy, especially on CW, where 1 dit is the difference. A few mix up Orange County (ORA) with the ARRL Orange Section (ORG). And some ops get confused with the NE QSO Party multipliers which add "VT" to the country abbreviation, using RUTVT instead of just RUT. We allowed that for this year, but in future QSO parties, please use the correct abbreviation. In some cases, only 1 or 2 QSOs were made and all had miscopied information, meaning that there were no valid QSOs made. This is unfortunate. An alarming number of NILs were found. In some cases, stations claimed credit but the other guy didnt copy you and you were not logged. This happens a lot. When operating, I will go back to one station and two stations are talking back to me, even though I am clear who I am responding to. That will result in one station being a NIL. In other cases, it was determined that a few Vermont stations (all experienced ops) had logging issues where groups of QSOs were somehow missing or the times were over 30 minutes off. In cases like this we term it an unstable log and do not remove the NILs.

The ultimate goal is to strive to get more accurate in our operating. That is the paramount of being a good operator. As a contester who loses hundreds of busted QSOs each year or NILs which I know were good, I definitely feel your pain!


More participants engaged in digital QSOs this year 12 Vermont stations and 27 outside Vermont stations. In many cases, stations making digital contacts moved up several spots in the standings. However, an issue we had was stations not following digital logging requirements of using grid squares for these contacts and trying to claim county multipler credit. FT8 contacts without logged grid squares or post-added counties received no multiplier credit for those contacts.


We received 367 logs representing 3922 QSOs from stations outside of Vermont, another big improvement. This improved on the 253 logs with 2167 QSO's we observed last year. Overall, we received logs from 46 states, 8 provinces and 3 countries.

Logs From Outside VT

Year Stations QSOs
2021 367 3922
2020 253 2167
2019 91 546
2018 117 719
2017 107 921
2016 82 671
2015 61 386
2014 74 511
2013 65 363
2012 38 171

Outside Vermont
2020/2021 Comparison






Top Outside of VT Stations

Single Op
W9IZ 4688
WN4AFP 2898
NX3A 2775
N8II 2772
KI6RRN 2208
KA6BIM 1924
WB9HFK 1836
K4VBM 1680
OM2VL 1653
N6AR 1474

Bob W9IZ from Indiana is this years winner. who ran away from the pack and set a new record.. Bob combined a tremendous CW effort, good phone effort and an amazing FT8 total of 18 Vermont QSOs. Excellent job!

Dave WN4AFP from South Carolina takes 2nd place with excellent efforts on phone and CW. Dave is one of the major QSO Party players and took the top spot in 2018. It is good to see him in the top ten again!

For 3rd place, things get interesting!

Carl NX3A from Virginia winds up with 2775 points and Jeff N8II from West Virginia ends up with 2772 points. This will be judged to be a statistical tie for 3rd and both will get the maple syrup. Carl was the leader in CW contacts and ran high power, while Jeff was the leader in phone contacts and ran low power. Jeff is a regular in the top ten. who also finished 3rd last year. The rather complicated scoring of the Vermont QSO Party means that one cannot make any assumptions about score until all the math is complete!

Axel KI6RRN from California takes the 5th spot with 2208 points, moving up from 8th place last year.

In the top 20 spots, 8 out of 10 call areas, plus a VE and a DX are represented. There is little advantage for location in this event! We do not get a high number of DX participants, but Laci OM2VL finished 9th (up from 10th last year) even though his signal has 4100 miles to travel to get to Vermont. And while operators in the Northeast mention that it is hard to work Vermont due to the skip zone on 20 and 40 meters, last years' winner was Mark K1RO from New Hampshire.

Last year 76, stations outside of Vermont earned certificates by placing in the top 10 or working 10 Vermont stations. This year 147 stations outside of Vermont will receive certificates. I have a full time job! Next year, we will definitely raise the bar!

Phone Leaders

Station QSOs Mults
N8II 40 11
NX3A 33 11
WN4AFP 27 9
KI6RRN 24 9
KA6BIM 24 10
AA4TI 24 7
K9RS 24 8

CW Leaders

Station QSOs Mults
NX3A 39 14
OM2VL 36 12
KI6RRN36 14
W9IZ 35 10
WN4AFP 32 12
K9CW 31 13

Digital Leaders

Station QSOs Mults
W91Z 18 5
K8TE 10 1
NS2N 5 2


In the Vermont competition, certificates will go out to the top 5 single op finishers, top multi op finisher and top rover finisher. In addition, all Vermont stations making over 100 QSOs will also get a certificate.

In the Outside Vermont competition, the grand prize for the 2021 Vermont QSO Party is a souvenir 3.4 oz jug of genuine Vermont Maple Syrup which goes to the top 3 Outside Vermont Single Op finishers who are within the U.S. You guys worked hard for those contacts and we recognize you with a product which is uniquely Vermont. If youve never had Maple Syrup before, it is very sweet and very concentrated, so a little goes a long way! Here in Vermont it is the breakfast topping of choice on pancakes, waffles or jacked deer steak (!?). Enjoy!

Certificates will also go out to the top 10 stations outside Vermont and stations outside Vermont working 10 or more QSOs.

Details of Awards

Vermont Single Op: Certificate to Top 5 Scorers
Vermont Multi Op: Certificate to Top Scorer
Vermont Rover: Certificate to the Top Scorer
Certificate to each Vermont station making 100 QSO's

Outside Vermont Single Op: Maple Syrup to Top 3 SO Scorers
Outside Vermont Single Op: Certificate to Top 10 Scorers
Certificate to each station outside Vermont making 10 QSO's


Operating events like QSO Parties are living things. As such, we have to consider changes which will make the event better and attract more participants. We always like to hear from everyone to consider appropriate changes.

Digital FT8 and FT4 operation. More participants are embracing these modes and this is good. However, since these modes use grid squares and not states or counties, multipliers are very different. Stations outside Vermont can only pick up 5 grids in Vermont vs. 14 counties, so multipliers are fewer on digital. Stations in Vermont can work a ton of grid squares all over the world. To not give FT8 an advantage, the total number of grids is divided by 4. Perhaps we need to divide by 3 to make it fairer.

Vermont County abbreviations. Vermont counties are abbreviated with the first 3 letters of the county, EXCEPT for Windsor and Windham, which are WNS and WNH and these are difficult to distinguish on CW. We have heard many suggestions, and many of these might even make the situation worse. Ideas? Maybe we leave it alone?

Operating Period. Vermont QSO Party is unique in that it is a 48 operating period. Too long? Then operate less. The full weekend allows a lot of different propagation possibilities. For example, if we were just on Saturday (like many QSO Parties), everyone would have missed the super 15-10-6 meter opening on Sunday. And while little activity takes place in the late evening, some of the FT8 operators love this period.

More categories. We have resisted this for a very important reason. If we had categories by mode, operators would stay on that particular mode. However, to do well in this event, you have to embrace as many modes as possible, which helps build activity on modes like CW and digital. With certificates issued for QSO's, most participants are competing against themselves and not other participants who have larger stations.

Certificates for QSO's. It is time to raise the bar on this, as stations are making a lot more QSOs. With 147 certificates issued for Outside Vermont stations and another 23 for Vermont stations, the work is getting prohibitive. And we want to challenge operators to do better. Look for certificate level to jump to 15 or 20 for Outside Vermont stations.

Other comments? We're always listening!



Only was able to make 4 CW contacts due to other circumstances. They were all Vermont contacts so I am thrilled! (K1ARR)

Activity on the bands was much better Sunday than Saturday. 20m was terrific Sunday morning. (K1IB)

FT8 isnt that boring when you are running 5 radios! (KI1P)

We made 255 QSO's through 10 counties on CW/FT8/FT4/CW. Our main issue was the main operator (me) was dealing with serious car sickness. Things were more enjoyable when we could stop for a time and work without the movement of the ambulance. Next year I'd prefer to work from home or activate a rarer county for the entire weekend. Perhaps Essex County. That being said, it was fun but I don't think I'm a mobile/rover guy. (KE1VT with N1FS/M)

I set out this year to do better than last year and succeeded with more Q's and Mults. The bands seemed OK with 20M once again being my 'go to' band where I could generate a pretty good pile up running upwards of ~ 165 Q's/hour. I ran almost all phone with a few FT8 contacts thrown in late Sunday. Fun time! (N1JEZ)

Ran WNH and WNS from the car Saturday afternoon before the snow. (NN1R-K1RO, op)

I dug out my mic from my ham junk drawer and plugged it in figuring I would try it out when things were slow. Dialing in the first station, I heard 5 guys calling each other names so I decided not to interrupt their intellectual discourse. I then heard the only station calling CQ and it was in Addison county! What a miracle! It was the only operator I heard that didnt sound like a very bad impression of Jimmy Dean trying to sell me sausage. I tried to find a dead spot where I could call CQ, but had no luck. Needless to say, it didn't take me long to go back to CW and plant my feet on a freq and stay there until it was time to switch bands. It was also good to see that most of the FOC ops were obliging and generous with their time. That made a difference. It was difficult finding an opening on the bands where they congregated, but with a little patience all went well. Overall, a very good showing and my most successful contest to date. (W1SFR)

Proud to represent Addison County, Vermont in the 2021 VT QSO Party. (WX1O)


Very poor conditions on Sunday. Heard only 6 or 7 stations over 6 hours. Worked the 2 that could hear me. Thank you for sponsoring the contest. (K1AUS).

From a 1-land callsign to 1-land. (K1LOK).

No time to play. I had to work this weekend. (K1VWQ).

Antenna is low and didn't hear many stations. Didn't help that I only had an hour or so on Sunday to play. Used SD by EI5DI for logging and it worked great! (K4RFK).

Murphy 3 K8TE 1. Walking into the shack Saturday morning, I found the PC locked up. It took a hard shut down and a cold boot and this was not the way I had hoped to start the day. Next, one K3 was suddenly deaf. The antennas tested fine and the transmitter output was normal. Swapping out one K3 for another didn't go well either. The PC could not communicate with the replacement K3 which apparently developed an RS-232 interface failure. To make SSB contacts with a newly installed 6600m, I hadn't yet interfaced it with the PC nor N1MM+. I was able to make enough contacts to qualify in each of this weekend's State QSO Party Challenge events. I hope watching the weekend's sporting event goes better! I made contacts Sunday while beginning the planned shack disassembly and the repair of Saturday's problems. Now that the event is over, I have HF SSB/CW again and am ready for Murphy's next visit. (K8TE).
VTQP Manager replies: Why ruin a perfectly good Elecraft K3 by hooking it to a computer? (W1SJ).

The RST I sent on my second QSO (with N1SP) was 59+20, but the computer wouldn't accept the +20 portion. (KC1NOM).

KX3 to vertical and horizontal dipoles, 5w. Once again, a great party! (KI4MZC).

Put in a little bit of time in the VT QSO party. Too many irons in the fire to do much else. I found one mobile, N1FS in two different counties. Maybe I'll get lucky and find Orleans County one of these days. Rig: Ten Tec Eagle - 100 watts, Antenna: Mag Loop (40 thru 15), Isotron-80 in attic 12' above garage floor and an indoor 10 meter dipole. (KV8Q).

100 watts and a wire. Gave the Wyoming mult to a few folks during limited op time. (N7MZW).

Better if you made this party one day only - prefer Sunday - fewer competing contests. (N4ARO).

Poor participation on CW! (N7EPD).

Worked two bonus stations. (N8CJ).

Great contest! I had fun! I hope I understand the rules correctly for working 10 Vermont stations to obtain a certificate. I worked 15 stations total - but 9 unique callsigns. I hope working the rovers and fixed on different bands count as a "station". Thanks for your work in promoting the VTQP! (N8DNA).

IC-7100, Hentenna or loop, single paddle, Arduino keyer. (N8VWY).

Rig was FtDX5000 and Butternut vertical. Whew, found most of my QSO's near the end of the day. (W1END).

Only operated 40 and 80. 20 meters is too close for short skip and too far for ground wave to northern NJ. Was looking for Essex County to complete all counties in New England, but no luck. Very little activity heard. Hope next year will be better. (W2AAB).

The stations I heard were strong here. (WB0GAG).

I couldn't wait to get back on the QSO Parties this weekend. Conditions weren't so great from here to MN or BC, so I decided to focus on one of the three and I chose the VTQP. My plan was to work as many VT stations as possible before the BCQP and MNQP started and I made 16 QSO's before Saturday morning. Saturday conditions were too good, but Sunday was pretty cool. On Sunday afternoon, we had openings on 15m and 10m, so I followed many stations who were moving from 20m to 15m to 10m until the end of the contest. It was similar to a reverse NAQP strategy. Special thanks to the two mobiles, N1FS and K1IB and to RANV for putting a very exciting VTQP! (WN4AFP).

I am planning to participate in three QSO parties this weekend. (WO3X).

This was truly a last-minute run from NX6T. My main focus was the XE-RTTY contest, but who can refuse a little mindless CW operating for an hour+. I would've played more, except there were virtually no VT stations to be found. If you want us to play in your QSO party, then set an example for us by playing in your own event. (WQ6X).
VTQP Manager replies: 16 VT stations were on CW and made over 3000 contacts. But where were you?? (W1SJ)

We had a tremendous turnout in the Vermont QSO Party for 2021, bolstered by the State QSO Party Challenge. And most everyone tells me they had a load of fun. We look forward to upcoming years of great participation.

Vermont QSO Party
Updated: 4/28/21