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 Awards Achieved

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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