MDC QSO Party Abbreviated History
In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. But it was much later, in the late 1950's or very early 60's when Carl Anderson, K3JYZ, ARRL MDC Section, first said "lets party". As I was told several years ago- he and his merry band of men formed the Marydale Radio Club to administer the first event and to the airwaves they went. The first such events were primarily High Frequency only and posterboard based certificates in black and white were offered to the big winners. Back then, most of the effort was by CW but AM and SSB were allowed. A couple years into the contest the Technician on HF category was added. The contest continued this way for many years until Carl was no longer Section Communications Manager (the title back then) and circumstances dictated that he move to Texas. To keep the contest going a while longer, the Columbia ARA decided to administer the event using supplies left over from Marydale. They did this for about 3 years. Unfortunately, state qso parties were enjoying less popularity. Especially those that never changed certificate designs. Guess people had enough of the old certificates in their collection and stopped participating. For whatever reason, Columbia decided enough was enough and the contest went into limbo.
Years passed...some oldtimers wanted a party back and Ken Cohen, NI3F, then ARRL MDC Section Manager put out the call- Who in the land would give the party another try? And who would be willing to handle the work of conducting it?
1990.... Antietam Radio Association of Hagerstown agreed to try it but only if they could change it to their way of thinking and could give it a real try for 10 years to make it work. There would be no committment to continue beyond that if it wasn't working.
ARA formed a contest committee and mostly with work from Ted Lawhead, WA3AAT, and Page Pyne, WA3EOP, the new rules were drawn. VHF would be a strong part of the contest along with HF. A club competition would be added. The contest would feature new certificate designs and the biggest winners would receive a bonus prize. That first year the big winners got MD Souvenirs. The second year the big winners got specially designed watches with the MDC QSO Party Logo. After the third year concluded and most of the rules fine tuned there were changes to make the party much as it is today.
Now there are plaques as the top prizes. We have an exciting mobile category and YL and QRP categories were added. We changed the certificate designs to include color and change the certificate design almost every year. We offer a special challenge certificate to anyone getting at least 50 qso points. This is different from the certificate awarded to winners by state and in various MDC categories.
2003 marks the 13th year of the modern MDC QSO Party under ARA sponsrship. We hope you will join us and help make it the fun contest we believe it to be.
article by Page Pyne
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Telephone: (717) 264-6403
Address: PO Box 52, Hagerstown, MD 21741-0052
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The Antietam Radio Association