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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


At the occasion of the 2024 World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) HAMs in Greece are activating SZ0WARD. A commemorative award is issued for working the

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Cast-Iron Award

Just received the Cast-Iron award for working the Finnish special event station OF60IRON in several band/mode spots.

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AFUG 75 Award

“75 Jahre Amateurfunkgesetz in Deutschland” A commemorative award is issued by the DARC. Click here for more info.

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URE 75 Anniversary Award

The Spanish IARU society URE is celebrating its 75th anniversary. A bunch of special event stations using the AO75 prefix are active and a commemorative

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FT4 QSO Party

Just as an experiment, I decided to hand out some points during the FT4 QSO Party of March 2024. The party was organized by the

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HI180RD Certificate

Having worked the special event station HI180RD, I was granted a commemoration certificate for the 180th anniversary of the independence of the Dominican Republic. See

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100 Years Radioclub Zagreb

The Croatian radioclub of Zagreb celebrates its 100th anniversary. A commemorative award is available for working two special event stations. Details may be found here.

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Antarctica Week 2024

Traditionally, the Antarctic Week Event takes place in February. This award has been granted for working several special event stations. See here for details about

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A late Christmas present 😉 The pennant for working LY23XMAS on several band/mode slots.

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DIG 55

Happy to achieve the DIG 55 from my favorite Diploma Interest Group Club. See here for details.

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AO100RADIO Award

The URE is celebrating the centenary of amateur radio in Spain. Throughout the month of Feb ’24 the special event station AO100RADIO is aired.  

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AGCW HNY 2024 Contest

The final scores of the 2024 AGCW’s Happy New Year Contest have been published. Ended up 50th of 144 participants in the low power class.

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World Wide Award 2024

I  feel ambiguous about this one. To achieve a competitive score, it was required to work the same stations day after day during the month

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CWT 2023

Happy to receive the certificate for my participation in the CWT tests during 2023.

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DK70BAD Award

Just before the turn of the year, I worked my fifth band/mode slot with DK70BAD so that I could still earn this award from the

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750 Years Holysov Award

Managed to work the special event station OL750HOL on the last band/mode slot right in time before the end of the year. Celebrating 750 years

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65 Years RAAG

Managed to achieve the SZ65RAAG award in the diamond class for working the special event station on six different bands. SZ65RAAG is aired to commemorate

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SX25GTC Award

The Greek Telegraphy Club is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Just received this commemorative award for working the special event station SX25GTC on five different bands.

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D4C Award

Received this certificate for working D4C on 5 different bands during the CQWW CW Contest 2023.

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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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DL17UBOOT Diplom

DL17UBOOT is a special event station on the occasion of the transfer of the former German Navy submarine U17 of the German Armed Forces. The

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WABCC 40: 100 Members

Managed to work 100 different members of the Bavarian Contest Club during its 40th anniversary. See this link for information about the BCC.

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Throughout the month of April ’23, the UBA board members and its HF committee will air the special station OT23WARD celebrating World Amateur Radio Day

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Egbert Hertsen | ON4CAS

No more Russian Awards

Please note that, effective Feb. 24, ’22, I am NO longer chasing any Russian or Belarusian awards. Most of the clubs and organizations in both countries

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Egbert Hertsen | ON4CAS

WABCC 40 Award

Just in: the WABCC 40 Award for working 40 members of the Bavarian Contest Club during its 40th anniversary year 2023. Have a look at

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Egbert Hertsen | ON4CAS

WAE Trophy

Long-term work: the WAE trophy # 58 Issued by the DARC for working all European WAE countries on five different amateur bands. See here for

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