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CQ USA-CA Awards Official Rules

The United States of America Counties (USA-CA) Award, sponsored by CQ magazine, is issued for confirmed two-way radio contacts with specified numbers of U.S. counties under rules and conditions hereafter stated.
The USA-CA Award Program

A. Award Classes

The USA-CA Award is issued in seven different classes, each a separate achievement as endorsed on the basic certificate by use of special seals for higher class. Also, special endorsements are made for all one band or mode operations subject to the rules.


Class Counties Required States Required
USA-500 500 Any
USA-1000 1000 25
USA-1500 1500 45
USA-2000 2000 50
USA-2500 2500 50
USA-3000 3000 50
USA-3077 ALL 50

B. Conditions

1. USA-CA is available to all licensed amateurs everywhere in the world and is issued to them as individuals for all county contacts made, regardless of calls held, operating QTHs, or dates.
Special USA-CA Awards are also available to SWLs on a heard basis.

2. All contacts must be confirmed by QSL, and such QSLs must be in the applicant's possession for identification by certification officials



Electronic verifications from sources approved by CQ are acceptable. Click here for acceptable online sources.

3. Any QSL card found to be altered in any way disqualifies the applicant.

4. QSOs via repeaters, satellites, moon bounce, and phone patches are not valid for USA-CA.

5. So-called "team" contacts, wherein one person acknowledges a signal report and another returns a signal report, while both amateur callsigns are logged, are not valid for USA-CA. Acceptable contact may be made with only one station at a time.

C. County Identity

1. Unless otherwise indicated on QSL cards, the QTH printed on cards will determine county identity.

2. The National Zip Code & Directory of Post Offices will be helpful in some cases in determining the identity of counties of contact as ascertained by name or nearest municipality. Publication No. 65 is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, Stock No. 039-000-00264-7, shipped one, to U.S.A. or Canada.

3. For mobile and portable operations the postmark shall identify the county unless information stated on QSL cards makes other positive identity.

4. In the case of cities, parks, or reservations not within counties proper, applicants may claim any one of the adjoining counties for credit (once).

5. QSOs via repeaters, satellites, moon bounce, and phone patches are not valid for USA-CA.

D. Administration of USA-CA Program

1. The USA-CA program is administered by a CQ staff member acting as USA-CA Custodian, and all applications and related correspondence should be sent directly to this person's QTH.

2. Decisions of the Custodian in administering these rules and their interpretation, including future amendments, are final.

E. Record Book and Bookkeeping

1. The scope of the USA-CA Award makes it mandatory that special Record Books be used for application. For this purpose, CQ has provided a 64-page 4 1/4" x 11" Record Book which contains application and certification forms and provides record-log space meeting the conditions of any class award and/or endorsement requested.

2. A completed USA-CA Record Book constitutes the medium of basic application and becomes the property of CQ for record purposes. On subsequent applications for either higher classes or for special endorsements, the applicant may use additional Record Books to list required data, or he or she may make up alphabetical lists conforming to requirements.

3. Record Books are to be obtained directly from CQ, 25 Newbridge Rd., Hicksville, NY 11801, for $2.50 each, plus shipping and handling. Shipping and handling charges are as follows: books mailing to a USA address=$2 for 1 book; $3 for two; books mailing to all other countries= =$4 for 1 book; $7 for two. We recommend that two be obtained - one for application use and one for a personal file copy.

F. Application

1. Make Record Book entries necessary for county identity and enter other log data necessary to satisfy any special endorsements (band/mode) requested.

2. Have the certification form provided signed by two licensed amateurs (General Class or higher) or an official of a national-level radio organization or affiliated club verifying that QSL cards for all contacts as listed have been seen. The USA-CA Custodian reserves the right to request any specific cards to satisfy any doubt whatsoever. In such cases the applicant should send sufficient postage for the return of cards by registered mail.

3. Send the original completed Record Book (not a copy) and certification forms and handling fee. Fee for CQ subscribers is $6.00 or 7 IRCs (subscribers must include a recent CQ mailing label), and for non-subscribers it is $12.00 or 14 IRCs. Send to Ted Melinosky, K1BV, 12 Wells Woods Road, Columbia, CT 06237-1525. For later applications for higher class seals, send Record Book or self-prepared list per rules and $1.25 or 6 IRCs handling charge. For application for later special endorsements (band/mode) where certificates must be returned for endorsement, send certificate and $1.25 or 2 IRCs for handling charges. Note: At the time any USA-CA Award certificate is being processed, there are no charges other than the basic fee, regardless of the number of endorsements or seals; likewise, one may skip lower classes of USA-CA and get higher classes without losing any lower awards credits or paying any fee for them. Also note: IRCs are not accepted from U.S. stations.

4. Alternatively, you may sent the certification and witness documents together with a computer-prepared listing in database form. The list must be on paper, not diskette, and must include the same information as contained in the record book, in alphabetical order by state, and by county within each state.

The USA-CA Award Program is sponsored by CQ - The Radio Amateur's Journal, 25 Newbridge Rd., Hicksville, New York 11801 USA<

Click here for printable state-by-state county maps of the United States. Questions? Send e-mail to K1BV.


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