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Crystal Radio DX Sprint Contest


2006 Sprint Contest

2008 Sprint Results

2009 Sprint Results

General Rules for the 2009 Crystal Radio DX Sprint Contest

1. Participants may compete during any time between 6 a.m. October 9 and 6 a.m. (your) local time October 12, 2009.

2. There are two broad categories of receivers allowed in this contest: Homebrew Active Device Sets and Crystal Sets. There are no restrictions on multiple geographic locations for this contest. Multi-operator operation is permitted.

The only restriction is that the set must be homebrew, i.e., home made. You can use a homebrew set that you or someone else built. The set can contain any number or type of active devices. If you have any question about whether or not your receiver qualifies, please contact us in advance.


a. All reception must be strictly passive, i.e. no signal power amplification before, during or after signal detection in the receiver, to include active on-board or outboard devices, such as converters, oscillators, "free power" circuits, re-broadcasters, unity gain amps, audio amplifiers, and tuners. Such devices, however, may be used to search for and acquire stations, but in order for the station to count for score, the station must be clearly heard when these devices are not in use.

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

b. Detectors with more than one rectifying junction, such as transistors, JFETs or Mosfets may be used providing they are not used in a manner that will amplify the received signal. This does not prohibit the use of multiple detectors in any series/parallel/bridge arrangement, nor does it prohibit the simultaneous use of more than one receiver and/or antennas.

c. Bias batteries are permitted to overcome inherent detector threshold levels, subject to the restrictions on signal amplification of 4.b.

d. Recognizing that long distance propagation is subject to interference and fading, the use of a separate amplified 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 crystal set is obtained. Use of this separate receiver may not in any way enhance the performance of the crystal set (see 4.b.).


There is only one Broadcast Band Class for this Sprint Contest. Each station heard AND identified will be counted as one point. Only signals transmitted within the frequency band of 530 kHz - 1700 kHz may be reported for the Sprint Broadcast Band Class. 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.

The equipment restrictions for this class are the same as for the Broadcast Band Class. The objective is to hear and identify stations broadcasting in the international Short-wave bands AND THE HAM BANDS from 160 - 2 meters. Each station heard and identified will be counted as one point. Included this year are WWV and ham stations (with IDs), one point each. Those stations broadcasting in more than one band may be counted for each band in which they are heard.

3) SPRINT TWO-WAY SHORT WAVE CLASS: 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) SPRINT 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.


a. Scoring is the same for both the Sprint Broadcast Band and the Sprint Short wave categories: one point for each station heard AND identified.

b. There are no multipliers for equipment or age.

c. The contest is for one weekend only, as specified.

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

e. Entries must have the date, time, and call letters of each station heard AND identified.

f. The required contest information must be e-mailed within three weeks of the end of the contest.

7. Forward all logs via e-mail to Jack, KE4ID.

8. This contest is open to anyone, anywhere.

9. Disclaimer: The objectives of this contest are:

a. To stimulate interest in the design, construction, operation and testing of crystal radios.

b. To provide an opportunity for crystal radio enthusiasts to compare crystal radio design features and operating characteristics over the weekend Sprint.

c. To further the technical development of no-power radio receivers.

d. To have fun.

e. This contest has no commercial sponsorship.

Some contest comments …

Here are some thoughts that I posted on Rap N Tap that might be useful.


You can use the spreadsheet log on our home page at; just ignore the distance calculations. An easier approach is to use your own word processor or spreadsheet to list the date, time, and the stations that you heard and ID'd. Your total score is the number of those stations.

When I say "ID'd" that means you are sure of the call sign. You may not have actually heard the ID (stations seem to ID less these days!) If I tune to 960 in the day in the Birmingham area, I KNOW that is WERC. I recognize the format and the DJs. I listen to it a lot. When I tune in at night and hear 870, they talk a little bit about LSU football and mention a New Orleans location for a tire store or Cajun question, that is WWL in New Orleans. So, one of the big helps for the contest is to identify and get familiar with all of your local radio stations in advance of the contest.

Get familiar with the powerhouse DX stations in advance, too. That way when they talk about that tire store in New Orleans on 870, you know what the station is. A lot of ID'ing is advance preparation and sometimes a lot of detective work.


Sometimes interesting DX shows up in the day, especially in the late afternoon. The gray-line (dawn and dusk) are great times to listen. Since this Sprint contest is just three days, you may want to stay up late a night or two to catch some good DX.


Always go for the safety route. This includes watching for power lines when putting up antennas and shutting down the station when thunderstorms start rolling in.

One last comment: have fun with this hobby and don't get overwhelmed by it!

Best regards,

Jack, KE4ID