Potomac Valley Radio Club

70th Anniversary Celebration


PVRC celebrates 70 years by closing out 2017 with an on-the-air celebration!   Look for the following six callsigns on the air from December 24 to December 31:   N4P, N4V, N4R, N4C, W3GRF and W3AU. 


On the Air Details

QSL Information

What is PVRC?

PVRC Members - How to participate


Operating Details:


Try to work them all!  Six stations, on for 8 days each.   Operators are PVRC members, and while most are in the U.S. Mid Atlantic Area (DC, DE, MD, NC, PA, VA, WV) some will be outside this area, including some operations from Hawaii! 


-          Callsigns:  N4P, N4V, N4R, N4C, W3GRF and W3AU

-          Times:  Eight days:  1700 UTC Dec 24th 2017 to 2359 UTC December 31st 2017

-          Modes:  CW, SSB, Digital

-          Bands:  HF, primarily in the contest (non-WARC) bands

-          Frequencies:   Look for the PVRC special event stations near the “47s” in the General portions of each band, so for instance, 3.047 MHz CW; 14.247 SSB.   Check the spotting networks during the event. 


QSLs are available for each callsign, and if you work them all, they fit together to make a single picture!  QSL via K3LU, with more information in the “QSL information” below. 


QSL information:


PVRC has special 70th Anniversary QSL cards for this event.  


QSL all callsigns via K3LU – you need only send your card once, and include the information of all the QSOs you made with the PVRC special callsigns.    

-          US Stations:  Include an SASE

-          Outside the US:  Include an envelope and $2 US


PVRC Special Event via K3LU

980 Patuxent Rd

Odenton, MD 21113 USA


DX stations may QSL via the Bureau.  


What is PVRC? 


The Potomac Valley Radio Club is an amateur radio club focused on “radiosport”, aka contesting.   Founded in 1947, PVRC now has over 500 members, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic area. 


The PVRC mission is to promote excellence in radiosport by:

-          Competing and winning in club competition

-          Stimulating the development of operating and technical skills

-          Sharing information and knowledge,

-          Attracting, mentoring and supporting new contesters

-          Developing a spirit of camaraderie and fun


Are you interested in contesting (even just a little) and live in the mid-Atlantic area?   We’d love to have you join us!   There are no dues and we have a policy of “once a member, always a member.”  Please visit our webpage at www.pvrc.gq for information about our meetings and membership.


A Brief PVRC History: 


Hams at the Pentagon's Army Signal Center organized during the summer of 1947 at the home of W4KFT in the Aurora Hills area of Arlington. The club originally called itself the Aurora Hills Radio Club, but the current Potomac Valley Radio Club name was provided by W9NWX (later W0DX, SK) within a few weeks.    Later in 1947, officers were elected and the club was competing in competitions like Sweepstakes and DX contests. 


Today, PVRC has over 500 members, spread all over the world.  We hold casual meetings but serious on-the-air efforts, welcoming both big guns and little pistols.   We encourage participation and development through various programs and awards.   You can read more about PVRC and our history at www.pvrc.gq.  


Our special calls:


W3GRF, SK (ex-W4KXN) Len Chertof:   As a post-war Pentagon employee, Len helped organize PVRC in its early years.   In the 1950’s, the W3GRF super station outside Washington DC won many contests and helped develop many PVRC members.   You can read more about Len, his station and his involvement in PVRC here:  http://www.pvrc.gq/W3GRF/W4KFC-on-W3GRF-CQ-Magazine-03-1961-hires.pdf


W3AU, SK (ex-W3MSK) Ed Bissell:  In the 1960s and 1970s, Ed ran one of the finest multi-multi contest stations on the banks of the Potomac River, just south of Washington, DC.   Many top contesters in the US got their start in serious contesting at W3MSK/W3AU, and Ed is credited as developing the concept of multi-multi contesting.     


These men influenced and inspired many; they made contesting, indeed ham radio, better.   On our 70th anniversary, we close out the year by activating these callsigns in their memory, and of the others who helped create the PVRC legacy.   Here’s to another 70 years!!


PVRC Members – How to Participate:


We’re looking for volunteers to take shifts on each of the callsigns over the eight days. 


Use this online spreadsheet to sign up for your shift HERE:



FAQ for PVRC Operators:


Q: What is the goal of this?

A: To promote PVRC and celebrate 70 winning years.


Q: What time, band and mode will I be assigned?

A: You may choose from the available callsigns/time slots here:  https://tinyurl.com/ydacnwvm

 You won’t be limited to a particular band or mode.  Use whatever band/mode maximizes your QSO count (or fun, or achieves your goals) during your time, and move around as much or as little as you like. 


Q: Will I be responsible for QSLing?

A: No.  Thank Ulis, K3LU for taking this on for the entire event.  Make lots of Q’s and make Ulis work hard!!


Q: Will we have the callsigns operating around the clock? 

A: Not necessarily, we will focus on “prime time” waking hours in the U.S.   The more folks that volunteer, the more we can be on the air – now, if someone would like to activate during the middle of the night – of course the answer is yes!


Q: I am a PVRC member but live outside the PVRC circle.  Can I activate one of the calls?

A: Yes!  You just have to be in the U.S.   Anywhere is fine, including Hawaii!


Q: I operate barefoot to a dipole.  Can I activate?

A: Yes.  With six callsigns on the air, the concept for chasers is that they work all six calls to earn a “clean sweep.”   This means that your call may be in high demand by the time you operate…a GREAT chance to practice your contesting/pileup skills. 


Q: I have no station at all – will I have an opportunity to play?

A: We hope so.  Part of our effort will be to connect available stations with available operators.  Please let us know of your interest and we’ll do our best to connect you with a station. 


Q: I want to activate and I want to chase.   Can I do both?

A:  YES!!  In fact we encourage all PVRC ops to try to work all six callsigns.   Just work them under your own call during the times you aren’t an activator.


Q: Should I spot the PVRC stations?

A: Yes, early and often - and self-spot yourself during your activation.   Don’t wait for the pileup to come to you…invite them!


Q: I’m about to operate on 40 and one of the other PVRC callsigns is already on 40 SSB.   Can I also activate my assigned callsign on 40 SSB?

A: Yes, in fact you can let people know, like “hey, go try to work the other PVRC station about 10kc up!”  Just don’t put the SAME CALLSIGN on the same band/mode as someone else.   Different callsigns (such as N4V and N4C) are encouraged to “tag team” near each other on a band. 


Q: Do I need to tell people the QSL instructions?

A: Just say “QRZ.com for QSL info.”  The QRZ.com pages will contain all the relevant info, as will pvrc.gq.  


Q: I’m relatively new – what if someone asks me about PVRC history?

A: We’ll provide operators a few bullet points about PVRC and our special callsigns.   You can also send them to pvrc.gq, where we have some history pages and will have 70th anniversary event details. 


Q: Why should non-PVRC members contact us? 

A: Because it’s fun, and the rest of their family is upstairs suffering from cabin fever!  J  Those who work all six stations and follow the QSL instructions will get a unique set of QSL cards that connect together to form a cool certificate suitable for framing.


Q: If I operate, how should I log contacts?

A: Use whatever logging program you’d like, so long as it can generate an ADIF file.   At the end of your operating time, share that file as instructed and we’ll combine the files together to confirm contacts. 


Q: Are there suggested frequencies?

A:  Try to work “near the 47s” for our founding in 1947.   For instance, 3.047 CW, or 14.257 SSB, so long as the frequencies are clear.  We suggest staying in the General portions of the bands to maximize availability.


Q: Should I call CQ or respond to others calling CQ?

A: It is best to call CQ on your own frequency, but not required.


Q: Should I ever give my own callsign? 

A: FCC regulations require that you provide your own callsign at least once per hour, in addition to the special 1x1 callsign.   If you are operating one of the historic callsigns (W3GRF or W3AU), there is no need to include your own callsign.   And be sure that people QSL via the instructions on QRZ.com. 


Q: What if someone contests me for my run frequency?

A: Just move along, don’t get into a fight.  Remember that while activating, you’re representing PVRC.  Take the high road to another clear spot. 


Q: When will I find out my operating times? 

A: Please refer to the online sheet:  https://tinyurl.com/ydacnwvm for callsigns and time slots. 


Q: Will I be assigned one callsign?

A:  You may choose more than one, at different times – for instance, you might be a 1x1 on Thursday evening, but W3GRF on Saturday morning.   We will keep things moving!


Q: Will you reject any station requests to operate?

A: If you are a PVRC member, can operate HF and are in the US, then you are guaranteed a time slot to operate.   Don’t worry if you aren’t too experienced or have a modest station…this is a unique chance to be a part of history.  Your PVRC membership means you are welcomed and we’re excited to have you.  


Q: What if I get sick just before my time slot and can’t operate?

A: No worries, these things happen.  If you’re able, contact Jay W3MMM (w3mmm@arrl.net) and someone else will try to fill the slot.   If that’s not possible, then that callsign simply isn’t on during your time, and the world will survive!


Q: Can DX stations participate?

A: As chasers, yes – in fact we’d love to see some DX stations earn the clean sweep.   If the conditions are right, you might might occasionally stop the standard CQ/QRZ and ask for “DX only” to maximize their opportunity. 


Q: Any last advice?

A: Run ‘em!   And…GO PVRC!!!