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Lightbulb QSO Contest

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    Lightbulb QSO Contest

    Announcing the 2019 Lightbulb QSO contest, March 9th 20:00 UTC through March 10th 20:00 UTC.

    Lightbulb QSO Contest

    We've all heard the stories.....Joe Elmer was so good at antenna matching that he made a 100 mile 20M QSO on an ordinary 100 watt household lightbulb. So here is your chance to try it out. Go traditional and compete with just a lightbulb dummy load. Or, get creative and invent an antenna design that uses the lightbulb as a key component that makes your antenna work. Five categories of competition give you different paths to gaining bragging rights as TOP BULB in the 2019 Lightbulb QSO contest. Categories of competition are:

    1. Household - an antenna constructed of any lightbulb available for purchase in normal home use applications.

    2. Commercial/Industrial - an antenna constructed of any lightbulb available for purchase in commercial and/or industrial applications.

    3. Homebrew - an antenna constructed of any home made light bulb that radiates visible light when power is applied.

    4. Dummy Load - any lightbulb that normally serves as a dummy load (see miscellaneous rules). Please note that the administrators do not recommend this category of operation because it puts both the operator and RF sensitive equipment in close proximity to the load. However, several, lightbulb purists wanted the category so here it is for entry at your own risk.

    5. Freestyle - ​anything goes. Get creative and string all of your Christmas lights together, what ever you want and as many lightbulbs as you want. Bring down the power grid if you must.. we just don't care, but certainly want to reward extreme creativity.

    For additional information on how a lightbulb antenna works, click this link:


    The Objective of the Lightbulb QSO contest is to build and use an antenna constructed in a manner so that the lightbulb is a key component of the antenna and to promote understanding and practical application of antenna matching concepts that allow a lightbulb to be used as a radiator in two way radio communications.


    Saturday, March 9th, 2019 20:00 UTC through Sunday, March 10th, 2019 20:00 UTC.

    Bands of Operation:

    160M, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M

    Log Submission:

    Entries must be postmarked, emailed, or submitted by March 31, 2019. No late entries will be accepted.

    Logs may be submitted electronically to or manually to:

    LightBulb QSO Contest

    11 Mountain Spring Drive

    Hendersonville, NC 28739

    All entries must be accompanied with a completed entry form. A suitable for framing participation certificate can be downloaded from after the event. For those desiring to contribute to the LBQSO scholarship fund in electrical engineering, a check payable to LBQSO or via Paypal to should be submitted with your Name and Callsign. All proceeds from the event will be used to establish an electrical engineering scholarship in one of Western North Carolina's fine colleges (to be determined).

    A downloadable entry form can be obtained here:

    Official Entry Form

    Regardless of format used, minimum information that must be included in logbook submissions includes:

    Your Callsign
    Your 4 character grid square
    ​ Contact Callsign

    Contact 4 character grid square

    Mode of operation

    Date and Time of QSO

    Frequency on which QSO occurred

    Terms of Entry:

    Entrants agree to be bound to the rules of the licensing authority in their country of operation.

    Entrants agree to be bound by the decisions of the Lightbulb QSO Contest Committee and decisions of the committee regarding any rules interpretations are considered final and non-appealable to any governing body or legal authority.

    All submissions and associated materials become the property of the Lightbulb QSO Contest Committee.

    Allowed modes of operation:

    Single Side Band (voice), CW, and Digital.. Modes may be mixed.


    ​Callsign and 4 character grid square of operation.


    One (1) point awarded for each completed QSO regardless of mode of operation.

    Three (3) bonus points for each unique 2 character character grid square QSO completed in the operator's country of origin.

    Four (4) bonus points for each four character unique 2 character grid square QSO completed outside the operator's country of origin.

    Total score: Sum of all QSO's completed + bonus points as per above.


    A Top Bulb plaque will be awarded to the winner in each of the four categories described above. All entrants submitting logs will be provided with a suitable for framing contest participation certificate downloadable from after the event.


    Results, rankings, and associated descriptions of type of light bulb antenna used in the event will be posted on

    Miscellaneous Rules:

    1. The lightbulb being used in the antenna must be capable of emitting visible light when used as a light bulb.

    2. Only one light bulb may be employed in any antenna design with the exception of the Freestyle category where anything goes.

    3. The lightbulb antenna must be used for both transmission and receipt of signals. No separate receiving antenna may be employed.

    4. Stations reporting a participants signal and completing a qso but not participating in the contest can use any type of antenna system.

    5. Baluns, matching units, and induction coils of any type are allowed to achieve desired transmitter impedance.

    6. Power is limited to maximum allowed per amateur radio regulations in country of operation.

    7. The lightbulb antenna cannot be operated within 50 vertical or horizontal feet of any other antenna type.

    8. VERY IMPORTANT: The antenna must be designed so that the lightbulb is a key component of the antenna's performance. For example, just parking a lightbulb on the end of an existing dipole or 1/4 wl vertical and calling it a lightbulb antenna is not permissible. If in doubt about your antenna, please send your design to describing the antenna specifications and how it works based on your experiments. The LBQSO committee will make a decision on your design and let you know.

    9. Dummy load additional rules

    -lightbulb can only be connected to coax (or 2 wires in lieu of coax) coils, matching networks etc before connection to the transceiver.... just like a dummy load.

    -no more than 6 feet of coax can be used to connect the lightbulb to the transmitter/receiver.

    -lightbulb must serve as both the transmit and receive antenna.
    73 Al 4L5A