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I got a diploma in school, but that's not what this is about, is it?

Amateur radio awards, certificates, diplomas? You name it, we mean the same thing.

They form a major motivating force for making contacts day after day. Personally, I find the reward of achieving a beautiful certificate or even a plaque very gratifying. It takes skillful operating practice to qualify.  Aside expanding one’s hobby related knowledge, it’s also a fascinating way to learn more about geography, history, political structure of the world or even nature.

Below I try to give an (incomplete) overview of the different kind of certificates waiting to be conquered by the award chaser.

If they aren't displayed as wallpaper, my awards are kept in photoalbums

Premier League


The “must haves” that every radio amateur should aspire to. Each and every one are classics with a long track record and famous history. They deserve an eyecatching place on the wall of every shack and form the backbone of most active HAMs.

Participants and holders demonstrate their perseverance and success in the DX world. The road to the top may prove hard and difficult and usually requires many years of intense activity.

Are generally considered as “must haves” classics:

  • DX Century Club (DXCC)
  • Worked All Zones (WAZ)
  • Islands On The Air (IOTA)

DXCC is Amateur Radio's premier award that hams can earn by confirming on the air contacts with 100 countries. You can begin with the basic DXCC award and work your way up to the DXCC Honor Roll.

Egbert Hertsen | ON4CAS
Egbert Hertsen | ON4CAS
Egbert Hertsen | ON4CAS

The “Premier League” may be the essential ones for the true blue DXer, for the award chaser there’s a whole world out there. Certificates are issued for a variety of operating merits. 
Here’s an incomplete overview.

Awards available for working specific continents or countries.
Examples: Antarctica Award, Worked All Thailand Award, Germany Award.

CQ’s Worked All Zones Award is considered as one the the “Premier League” programs.
Awards are also available for working specific CQ Magazines or ITU Zones and Maidenhead Locators countries.
Examples: Worked ITU Zones Award, Swedish Locator Award, Worked All Italian Squares Award.

Awards issued for working states, provinces, oblasts, counties, etc within a single country.
Examples: US Counties Award, Deutschland Diplom (DLD), Worked All Belgian Provinces (WABP).

Certificates awarded for working stations in a specific city or a certain geographic region within a single country.
Examples: Ljubljana Award, Mecklenburg Vorpommern Award.

Other variants may also be available, e.g. postcode awards etc.


CQ’s Magazine WPX Award may be considered as one of the “must haves” but some regional ones are out there as well.

Examples: Worked Croatian Prefixes Award, LY Prefix Trophy.

International, national, local and/or special interests groups often issue award for contacting their members.
Examples: Worked DIG Members, FIRAC Award.

Following the great success of the Islands On The Air (IOTA) program, many other “OTA” groups followed the trend.

Programs such as Summits On The Air (SOTA), World Flora & Fauna (WFF), Castles On The Air (COTA), quite some lighthouse groups, etc have been generating lots of activity.
The same applies to groups promoting contacts with national islands.

In Belgium we have the energetic “Belgium Outdoor Shack (BOS)” group which I warmly recommend.

Historic commemorations, sport or cultural events, specific birthdays, etc all kinds often see the activation of special event stations. Award are often associated with these events.

Latest Award News

Deutschlanddiplom 160m

After previously achieving the “DLD – Deutschland” Diplom 1000 on both 80 & 40m, I now also hold the 160m version in the DLD-100 level.

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Vuelta 2023 Award

Happy to have received my certificate for working the EG5VCE special event station activated at the occasion of the Spanish 2023 Vuelta cycling competition.

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13 Colonies Award

Just received the certificate of the 2023 edition of the “13 Colonies” event. First time I managed a clean sweep for working all 13 colonies

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SDC 2023

Just received my certificate for participation in the Spanish SDC 2023. See here for details.

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HB75ZRH Award

Just received the HB75ZRH award. This certificate is being issued to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Zürich Airport.

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DA0HQ Award updated

The DARC advised the HAM community that the updated DA0HQ awards are now available for download. So far, ON4CAS made 177 contacts with DA0HQ, the

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Spain: Picasso Award

Early April ’23, some Spanish special event stations were active to commemorate Pablo Picasso. Today, I received the bronze award in CW mode in the

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