IRTS General Contest Rules

The general rules are given below and are to be read in conjunction with the specific rules for each particular contest, which may contain adjustments and/or additions to these general rules.

1 Entrants must operate in accordance with the terms of their licences.



2.1 Each contest is to be scored as per the rules of the particular contest.
2.2 Unless otherwise stated in the rules of a particular contest, only one contact may be claimed per band with a specific station, whether fixed, portable or mobile.
2.3 Aeronautical mobile and maritime mobile stations will count only as the minimum score of a particular contest and will not count for bonus or multiplier points.
2.4 Points must not be claimed for contacts made by a competing station with any of its own operators.
2.5 Points will be deducted for errors in the logs.
2.6 Dupes (duplicate contacts on same band and mode):
  •  Dupes must be logged and clearly marked as such without claim for points.
  •  Logs containing more than five unmarked dupes may be disqualified.
  These provisions in relation to dupes do not apply where the log has been submitted by email and is in Cabrillo format;  there is no need to identify dupes in emailed Cabrillo logs.
2.7 Proof of contact may be required.
2.8 Uniques: Contacts with station(s) that do not work other entrants may be disallowed.


Contest Entries & Eligible Entrants

3.1 Unless otherwise stated in the rules of a particular contest or contest section, single operator and multi-operator entries are accepted for all contests.
Note inserted 3 May 2021: Operators must comply with mandatory local COVID-19 Public Health Measures at the date of the contest.  Contesters should be particularly conscious, in current circumstances, of the risks associated with prolonged close contact with others while indoors, and of the risks associated with sharing equipment such as headsets.
3.2 A single operator station is one manned by an individual operator who receives no assistance whatsoever with operating or log keeping during the contest.
3.3 A single call sign (which cannot be a special event or commemorative call sign) must be used for the duration of the contest.
3.4 For a multi-operator entry, the submitted log must list all of the operators, one of whom must sign the declaration (see 4.3 below).
3.5 Entries from non-resident EJ stations, aeronautical mobile and maritime mobile stations will not be accepted.
3.6 Entries from stations located within the Republic of Ireland will be accepted only from paid-up members of IRTS;  in the case of an entry from a club station, the club must be affiliated to IRTS.
(Entries that do not comply with these requirements and entries from stations using a special event or commemorative call sign will be treated as check logs and will not be eligible for any IRTS awards)
3.7 Unless otherwise stated in the rules of a particular contest, a contest station may submit an entry for only one section of a contest.



4.1 Submitted logs must be clearly written or printed, or sent by email as text files in a columnar format, with all the data for each individual QSO on one line (only);  files that can readily be converted to this format (e.g. Excel files) are also accepted.  Logs containing more than 100 QSOs must be in Cabrillo format (VHF/UHF logs may, alternatively, be in REG1TEST.EDI format) and submitted by email, unless otherwise agreed in advance by the Contest Manager.
4.2 Logs should show for each QSO the call sign of the station worked (with ‘/P’ or ‘/M’ if appropriate), date, time (UTC), mode and frequency, as well as the full exchange required by the contest rules (sent and received), including signal report, serial number and – where relevant – county, grid square or other data specified in the contest rules.
4.3 Each entry must include a cover/summary sheet incorporating a declaration that the rules and spirit of the contest were adhered to and that the station was operated within the terms of the entrant’s licence.  If possible, the ‘claimed score’ – along with the calculation of this score – should be shown.
4.4 The cover/summary sheet should also show the call sign and QTH (e.g. county, grid square) of the contest station, along with the contest section being entered.
4.5 Emailed logs are assumed to be signed when submitted.  Once a log is acknowledged and included in the published list of "Contest Logs Received and Processed", no further changes to that log are permitted.
4.6 Entries must be received by the Contest Manager not more than 14 days after the event.
  •  Electronic logs should be sent to the Contest Manager
  •  Paper logs should be sent directly to the Contest Manager’s home address
4.7 All entries become the property of IRTS and are not returnable.
4.8 Sometimes a contact may be penalised because the station contacted made an error, e.g. sending the wrong serial number.  In these and similar cases, entrants accept that this is part of the luck inherent in any contest, and even if they are satisfied that they were not in the wrong, it is not always possible for the adjudication process to determine who might be at fault.
4.9 Audio recordings made by the entrant or a third party will not be accepted for use in the cross-checking or scoring process.
4.10 In the event of a dispute, the ruling of the IRTS Committee shall be final.


Operating Procedures

5.1 Whether single-operator or multi-operator, there is no restriction on the number of transceivers, or separate transmitters and receivers.  However, there must be no overlap of transmissions, irrespective of band or mode.
5.2 Unless otherwise indicated in the specific rules for a contest, a contact consists of an exchange of a signal report (RS[T]), followed by a three-digit serial number commencing with 001 and increasing by one for each successive contact throughout the contest period, irrespective of the band or mode in use.
5.3 Serial numbers, when sent by non-competing stations, must be recorded – for example, by fixed stations in Field Day.
5.4 Contestants must only operate within the band segments designated in the rules of each contest, in order to preserve contest-free segments where appropriate.
5.5 Entrants may be penalised for failure to observe the general rules or the specific rules.
5.6 Entrants may not pre-arrange contest contacts.
5.7 During the contest period, entrants may not use any means or modes or frequencies, other than the modes and frequencies permitted in the specific rules, to arrange or schedule contacts with another station.
5.8 CW decoders may not be used, whether local or remote.
5.9 Unless otherwise stated in the individual contest rules, the use of the DX Cluster or other spotting networks is not permitted.
5.10 Self-spotting or asking to be spotted is not permitted.  Note that all of those present at any time during the set-up or operation of a station, irrespective of whether they are listed as operators of the station, are covered by this prohibition on self-spotting.
5.11 All transmitters, receivers and antennas used in the contest, along with the operators, must be located within a single 500 metre diameter circle.  Remote transmitters or receivers outside this station location may not be used.
5.12 Contacts made using repeaters, satellites, aircraft scatter or moon bounce will not count for points.
5.13 Stations entering Field Day contests or the Portable sections of Counties Contests must sign /P.
5.14 A station must send its callsign at least every 3rd QSO and no less often than once a minute.



6.1 Awards are made at the discretion of the IRTS Committee, and may consist of trophies, plaques or certificates.  (See Trophies and Cups for details of the trophies and cups available)
6.2 To be eligible for an award, a minimum number of valid QSOs is required, as follows:
     EI/GI Station Logs – HF bands, VHF/UHF multi-band entries and single-band 144 MHz entries: 10 valid QSOs
     EI/GI Station Logs – single-band entries on 50, 70, 432 or 1296 MHz: 5 valid QSOs
     Overseas Station Logs – all bands: 5 valid QSOs
     SWL Logs – all bands: 5 valid QSOs
  Logs with fewer than these minimum QSO numbers are welcome, and will be listed although not eligible for an award.


Short Wave Listeners

Where a contest includes an SWL section, the Rules above apply to the extent relevant, and in addition the Rules below apply:

7.1 Entries will be accepted only from paid-up SWL members of IRTS.
7.2 Only stations taking part in the contest may be logged for scoring purposes; an EI/GI station must be at one or both ends of the QSO.
7.3 Log entries must include the contest exchange between the two stations involved in the QSO, i.e. both the “Station Heard” and the “Station Worked”.
7.4 Logs should show in columns: Time, frequency, mode, and in respect of both the “Station Heard” and “Station Worked”: call sign plus the contest exchange (i.e.signal report, serial number and county / locator, as applicable) sent by the respective stations.
7.5 Each QSO may only appear once in the log.  A station may appear only once per band/mode as the "Station Heard".  In the column "Station Worked" the same station may not be logged more than 5 times per band/mode.
7.6 Following cross-checking with other station logs received, scoring in the SWL section, including QSO points and multipliers, will be based on the QSOs correctly recorded in the “Station Heard” column, using the scoring system applicable to transmitting stations participating in the relevant contest.


County Codes

The following County Codes should be used when logging Counties Contests:

  ANT Antrim ARM Armagh CAR Carlow CAV Cavan
  CLA Clare COR Cork DER Derry/Londonderry DON Donegal
  DOW Down DUB Dublin FER Fermanagh GAL Galway
  KER Kerry KLD Kildare KLK Kilkenny LAO Laois
  LEI Leitrim LIM Limerick LON Longford LOU Louth
  MAY Mayo MEA Meath MON Monaghan OFF Offaly
  ROS Roscommon SLI Sligo TIP Tipperary TYR Tyrone
  WAT Waterford WES Westmeath WEX Wexford WIC Wicklow
Contest Calendar and Rules page

Updated: 17 August 2021