W9IMS: Indy 500 Special Event Details

Indy 500 Special Event: The Greatest Spectacle in Radio! 

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

Like the race cars that made Indy famous, your opportunity for another W9IMS QSL card is coming around again. This time it’s the venerable Indianapolis 500 that will take center stage from now through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 28 (0359 UTC Monday, May 29).

This is the second of three special events conducted by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Amateur Radio Club in 2023, and if you managed to catch W9IMS during the first race – the IndyCar Grand Prix – you’re still on track to earn a 2023 Checkered Flag Award. The colorful certificate is presented to any ham or SWL who snares all three W9IMS special events in a given year.

Regardless of whether you can still take the Checkered Flag, you’re eligible for a special QSL card with every race. Both the cards and the certificate feature new images each year.

Tips on finding W9IMS:

  1. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots listing the current frequency or frequencies of W9IMS. You can customize your search by typing “W9IMS” in the box at upper right.
  2. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org) and look for the heading, “2023 Operating Schedule.” Click on the Indianapolis 500 link, which opens into a weeklong schedule of individual operators and their reserved time slots. Although operators often get on the air at unscheduled times, your odds of bagging the station improve significantly during hours with a listed op.
  3. Prime operating time on weeknights is 6 to 10 p.m. Indy time (2200-0200 UTC). That’s also your most likely shot at finding W9IMS activate on two bands – generally 20 and 40 meters. Preferred frequencies are 14.245 and 7.245 MHz, but it’s possible that the station will move to other bands if propagation warrants.
  4. Remember that the published schedule could be shortened by adverse circumstances, such as noisy band conditions, local thunderstorms or a lack of calling stations. Don’t wait till the final hour to look for W9IMS!
  5. If you work W9IMS for the first two races, keep in mind that the third and final race of the year – the NASCAR 200 at the Brickyard – doesn’t take place until Aug. 7-13. But it’s worth the wait!


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