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The 2009 Active-Device Homebrew Receiver DX Contest Rules

The Birmingham group is hosting the 2009 DX contests. The 2009 Active-Device Homebrew Receiver DX Contest (formerly called the 1AD contest) will be held from the second through the third weekends in February. The contest will be held from February 13 to February 23, 2009. This year there will be no break during the week.

No prizes are planned for the contests, but certificates will be e-mailed.

Click on Crystal Radio Resources in the Favorite Links on this page to go to Owen Poole's site for the history of the DX contest and his commentaries.

Best Regards,
Jack Bryant, KE4ID

Updated February 9, 2009


This is an active set contest. This contest, previously know as the 1AD Contest, is now open to all homebrew active device receivers. To help promote experimentation, the One Active Device (1AD) receivers will get a 50% bonus (multiply the score by 1.5). Two Active Device (2AD) receivers will get a 20% bonus (multiply the score by 1.2).

Only one active device is allowed to be counted to get the1AD bonus points. The device can be a bipolar, FET, tunnel diode or tube (triode, tetrode, pentode, or heptode), but only one device may be used. If a tube envelope has more than one tube in it, use only one of those active devices to be counted as a 1AD. Crystal sets may be used if one active device is added either inboard or outboard. Totally passive crystal sets are not allowed. In the active set, any number of diodes (either solid state or tube diodes) may be used; however, a tunnel diode or similar active device counts as the 1AD for the contest.

The use of integrated circuits can be interesting in that one IC can be used to build a full superhet. The use of an IC means that the set will not qualify for the 1AD nor for the 2AD bonus points.

Kits such as those from Mike Peebles or ElmerDude are fine for the contest, but no Heathkit or Elecraft rigs, please! In building more complicated radios, the use of some individual kit modules or old receiver chassis is encouraged in the building of your receiver, but your receiver must be largely hombrew. If you have any question about your receiver being allowed in the contest, please contact me in advance.

Contestants can enter multiple receivers and multiple categories. Multiple receivers that meet the same criteria (1AD, 2AD, or other) can be entered as one entry, or they can be entered separately.

– Please e-mail a description and photo of your rig with your log.

1) BCB CLASS (530 - 1710 kHz) : One view based on distance/power; another new view based on total number of stations identified.

2) SW CLASS (1,711 - 30,000 kHz): based on number of stations logged. This includes commercial SW, WWV, weather stations, navigational beacons, Part 15 "MedFER Beacons, and Ham stations on AM, CW, FM, or Single Sideband (SSB) stations (with IDs). RTTY stations do count, but since a computer interface or other outboard interface would be required, the 1AD and 2AD bonus will not apply for reception of RTTY stations.

The objective is to hear and identify stations broadcasting in the range of 1,711 kHz - 30,000 kHz. Each station heard and identified will be counted as one point. WWV counts as a station. Those stations broadcasting in more than one band (i.e., different frequencies) may be counted for each band in which they are heard. Location and distance to transmitting site and transmitter power will not be factors in this category.

3) TWO-WAY CLASS (1,711 - 30,000 kHz): receive on active set, and transmit on AM, CW, FM, or Single Sideband (SSB) transmitters; this is intended for Ham Operators. The equipment restrictions for this class are the same as for the Short wave class, except a point is awarded for each two-way transmission. The contest set is used as a receiver. Tube, tunnel diode, or transistor transmitters are allowed, with power and band usage per FCC regulations. For those interested in 75m AM, a common frequency in the Southeast is 3.885 MHz.

4) BELOW BCB CLASS (includes LF and VLF bands): We have a new band for our contest: 529 kHz and below. You might be able to copy some NDBs (non-directional aircraft beacons), or in Europe, long wave AM broadcasts. Each station ID'd will count as one point. Computer interface and use of software such as ARGO is allowed, but no bonus points for 1AD or 2AD will apply if the computer interface is used. Experimental stations may also be heard around 505 kHz. USe of the ARGO software can greatly aid in recceiving the stations in this band.


1. The contest has been extended to run during over two weekend periods, with no break during the week.

Participants may compete during any time between 6 a.m. (your) local time February 13, 2009 and 6 a.m. local time February 23, 2009.



a) One view with points based on distance/power.

b) Another new view based on total number of stations identified. If you submit your log based on the distance/power calculations, you will also be counted in the number of stations category.

2) SW CLASS based on number of commercial SW stations logged; included this year are WWV and ham stations (with IDs), one point each.


: receive on AD set, and transmit on a separate transmitter; this is intended for Ham Operators. One point will be awarded for each contact.

4) BELOW BCB CLASS: based on number of stations logged and ID'd, one point for each station ID'd. These include NDB (non-directional aircraft beacons), European Long Wave BCB stations, and experimental ham stations.

2. All contestants are restricted to a single geographic location. If you want to try a second location (nearest mountain top), you may submit a second entry for that location.

3. Multi-operator operation is permitted provided all work is conducted at the same geographic location. A single entry will be made for multi-operator stations. This rule is intended for you to involve your kids or their friends (particularly if you don't hear so well), and not to set up for a marathon event.

4. The use of a separate receiver to confirm station identification, resolve frequency questions or even to "hunt" for new stations is both permitted and encouraged, providing positive reception of an intelligible signal by ear using the contest set is obtained. Use of this separate receiver may not in any way enhance the performance of the contest set.

5. Any combination of home-brew receivers and antenna/ground configurations may be used. Included in the system may be any outboard antenna tuners, matching devices, filters and wave traps.



a. Each entrant must submit a log with the points calculated. A log spreadsheet is provided in the LINKS that performs the calculations for you. Many stations are listed already, but you can add stations that are not listed. The FCC database is a good source for the needed info.

b. Points for each station received will be the higher of either 200 points each or the result of using the following formula:
10 x distance / log power

c. Distance will be nearest whole kilometer (conventional rounding).

d. Power will be in watts (minimum power = 10 watts)

e. Score for each station to the nearest whole point

example: station is 40 km from receiver and is using 5 kW power; score would be: 10 x 40/log 5000 = 108 points (note: the same station transmitting at 500 w reduced power at night would score 148 points - if the station is heard at both times, full and reduced power, you should use the reception that gives you the best score - (actually, in either example shown here, the default score of 200 points should be taken).

f. Transmitting station power used for scoring purposes may be either the actual power reported by the station or the power authorized (the FCC database is considered authoritative for any listed station in North or South America )

Click on the "Favorite Links" on this web page: "FCC AM Radio Database Query"

g. Distance between the receiver and the antenna may be calculated FOR THOSE STATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN ID'D using any competent method using the latitude/longitude of the transmitting antenna and the latitude/longitude of the receiver (you may use position rounded to the nearest whole minute of arc). For local transmitting sites which can be plotted on a map also showing the receiving station location, direct straight line distance using map scale references may be used, rounded to the nearest whole km.

Click on the "Favorite Links" on this web page: "FCC Distance Calculator"

h. Only signals transmitted within the frequency band of 530 kHz - 1700 kHz may be counted. Simulcast signals may be counted once for each frequency heard. Simulcast broadcasts outside the specified frequency band may not be counted. Only signals transmitted from a fixed site and using legitimate, verifiable station identification may be counted. This does not exclude legitimate transmissions such as low power travel information stations. IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A STATION BUT CANNOT ID IT, YOU CAN COUNT 200 POINTS FOR EACH STATION. IF YOU COPY MORE THAN ONE STATION ON THE SAME FREQUENCY AND YOU WANT TO COUNT 200 POINTS FOR EACH, BE SURE TO THAT THEY ARE IN FACT DIFFERENT STATIONS.

i. Each station heard may be counted once for each frequency (in the event of multiple frequencies of transmission).

7. Entries containing required contest information must be forwarded to the appropriate address by any means within 3 weeks of the end of the contest. Judges may enter the contest providing their entry is reviewed by a separate judge. Judges will examine entries for validity and verification of claimed scores based on the best judgment of the judge. Winners will be announced whenever we sort out the entries. No prizes are planned for this contest.

8. Entry format and forwarding instructions are the same as for the 2009 Crystal Set Contest. See the Contest Entry Format.

9. This contest is open to anyone, anywhere. Multiple entries are allowed. For example, a contestant can enter each of the classes.