Tag Archives: W9IMS

W9IMS: From the Speedway to Your Wall

From the Speedway to Your Wall: Taking the W9IMS Checkered Flag

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

The Checkered Flag is in sight – for hams and SWLs who’ve completed two-thirds of the chase for the annual W9IMS certificate. And for those who haven’t, there’s still a special QSL card awaiting all who snare the final contact during the coming week.

As its initials imply, W9IMS stages special events in honor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s three major races. The third and final operation of 2022 – commemorating the NASCAR 200 at the Brickyard – will activate between the hours of midnight Indy time (0400 UTC) Monday, July 25, and midnight Sunday, July 31 (0400 UTC Tuesday, August 1).

Earning the 2022 Checkered Flag Award depends on working or tuning in each of the three special events. Since the first two races (the IndyCar Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500) ran in May, it’s obviously too late to claim the clean sweep.

However, W9IMS also issues collectible QSL cards for the three individual races, so there’s still time to get a piece of the action.

Where to start? Well, W9IMS favors 20 and 40 meters, sometimes adding 80 meters later in the week (not to mention 2 meters on Race Day for locals and fans in the stands at the Speedway). Preferred frequencies are 14.245 and 7.245 SSB, plus or minus QRM.

But rather than spin the dial, try scanning the following tips for finding W9IMS on the air:

  1. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots listing the current frequency or frequencies of W9IMS, if any. By typing “W9IMS” in the search box at upper right, you can customize it to show reports for only Indianapolis Motor Speedway special events. Naturally, you’ll be interested in only the ones from July 2022.
  2. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org) and look for the heading, “2022 Operating Schedule.” Click on the NASCAR 200 link, which opens into a weeklong schedule listing individual operators and their reserved time slots. Your odds of catching W9IMS on the air improve significantly during these hours.
  3. Prime operating time on weeknights is 6 to 10 p.m. Indy time (2200-0200 UTC). However, W9IMS can appear anytime, even on two bands at once, between 0400 Monday, July 25, and 0400 Sunday, July 31.
  4. Remember that the published schedule can 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 chase W9IMS!
  5. Operators often get on the air at unscheduled times. That’s why DX Summit is your best bet for locating W9IMS’s current spot(s).
  6. If you plan on going for the 2023 Checkered Flag Award, remember that the three required W9IMS special event QSOs (or reception reports) must come from each of the year’s three races – the Grand Prix, the 500 and the Brickyard. Making three contacts during the coming week still earns you the colorful Brickyard QSL card, but no extra credits toward the 2022 certificate.
Spread the radio love

W9IMS: A Radio Run at the Indy 500

W9IMS: A Radio Run at the Indy 500

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

You can’t win the Indianapolis 500 until they wave the checkered flag – and you can’t win a W9IMS Checkered Flag Award unless you contact the Indy 500 special event.

You’ll have that opportunity from now through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 29 in Indianapolis (0359 UTC Monday, May 30) as W9IMS fires up daily on 20 and 40 meters SSB. usually on or around 7.245 and 14.245 MHz.

The Indy 500 special event is the second of three W9IMS operations commemorating the major auto races at the Speedway. The first event of 2022, which ended May 14, honored the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the third will run from July 25-31, during the week preceding the NASCAR Brickyard 200.

Both hams and SWLs are eligible for the Checkered Flag certificate and the three individual QSL cards, all of which boast new designs for 2022. To earn the certificate, however, you must work (or tune in) W9IMS during all three of this year’s special events – and it’s too late to catch the first race. But even if you miss the trifecta, you can still claim collectible QSLs from the other races.

Tips on finding W9IMS:

  1. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots listing the current frequency or frequencies of W9IMS, if any. By typing “W9IMS” in the search box at upper right, you can customize it to show reports for only Indianapolis Motor Speedway special events.
  2. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org) and look for the heading, “2022 Operating Schedule.” Click on the Indianapolis 500 link, which opens into a weeklong schedule listing individual operators and their reserved time slots. Your odds of catching W9IMS on the air improve significantly during these hours.
  3. Prime operating time on weeknights is 6 to 10 p.m. Indy time (2200-0200 UTC). However, W9IMS can appear anytime, even on two bands at once, between now and 0400 UTC Monday, May 30.
  4. Remember that the published schedule can 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 chase W9IMS!
  5. Operators often get on the air at unscheduled times. That’s why DX Summit is your best bet for locating W9IMS’s current spot(s).
Spread the radio love

2022 W9IMS Special Event Station Details!

W9IMS Special Event No. 1: The 2022 Certificate Chase Begins

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, as the proverb goes, and the road to a 2022 W9IMS Checkered Flag Award begins with a single QSO – or a single SWL reception.

W9IMS will stage special event stations commemorating each of the three major races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year: the Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR 200 at the Brickyard.

Your weeklong opportunity to complete the first of three required contacts with W9IMS starts Sunday, May 8, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, May 14 (0359 UTC Sunday, May 15). The special event schedule will resume only 8 days later with the Indy 500 operation (May 23-29), followed by the NASCAR 200 from July 25-31.

Individual QSL cards accompany each of the three events, and a Checkered Flag certificate awaits those who bag the trio. Hams and SWLs alike may apply for the cards and certificate; see www.w9ims.org for further information.

Where to find W9IMS? The station fires up on 20- and 40-meter General Class frequencies, usually on or near 14.245 and 7.245 MHz. But the easiest way to locate W9IMS is to check DX spots, especially on DX Summit at http://www.dxsummit.fi/

Type “W9IMS” in the search box at upper right and you’ll see which, if any, frequencies the station is currently occupying. Note that special event operations are not continuous throughout the week, but you’ll find scheduled times and operators on the W9IMS QRZ page – and there’s always the possibility of unscheduled appearances by operators with an hour or two to spare.

Any hour of the day or night is fair game, but the surest way to catch W9IMS is during prime time: weekdays from 6 to 10 p.m. Indy time or 2200 to 0200 UTC. And if all else fails, listen for happy hour – the last blast on Race Day (May 14 for the Grand Prix), usually starting at 11 p.m. Indy time or 0300 UTC. That’s when W9IMS ops traditionally switch to contest-style QSOs, exchanging only signal reports, to put as many stations in the log as possible.

Don’t stake your certificate on any announced schedule, however; W9IMS on-air times can be curtailed by adverse solar or weather conditions or a paucity of QSOs.

Likewise, the station has been known to activate an unannounced band, such as 80 meters, at the drop of a hat. Again, DX Summit and other DX spotting networks are your best friend in this regard.

Feel free to submit all of your 2022 QSL and certificate requests in the same envelope, and if you don’t have a QSL card, a printout of your W9IMS contacts or reception reports will suffice.

Spread the radio love

Last chance to grab a 2021 W9IMS Special Event QSL card!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND), who shares the following announcement:


Last W9IMS Special Event of 2021 Brings a Final Chance to Qualify for a “Checkered Flag” certificate or QSL card

If the month of May took you two-thirds of the way to the W9IMS Checkered Flag Award, the week ahead can carry you to Victory Lane.

From now through Sunday, members of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Amateur Radio Club will operate their third and final special event of 2021, commemorating the upcoming NASCAR Brickyard 200 race. Work or tune in W9IMS and you’ll qualify for a special QSL card – along with the Checkered Flag certificate if you logged the station during this year’s previous special events, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500, both held in May.

You’ll find W9IMS on 20 and 40 meters and possibly 80 – generally near 3.840, 7.245 and 14.245 MHz – and frequently on two bands simultaneously, especially during the 6 to 10 p.m. EDT “prime time” on weeknights (2200 to 0200 UTC).

To see if the station is on the air at any given time, go to DX Summit – http://dxsummit.fi/#/ – and type “W9IMS” in the search box at upper right.

For more information about W9IMS, including instructions on how hams and SWLs can obtain certificates and QSL cards, go to www.w9ims.org. The page also contains a link to the Brickyard 200 operator schedule, but keep in mind that ops can get on the air at any time, day or night, between now and through Sunday.

If all else fails, look for W9IMS during its final hour of operation, between 11 and 11:59 p.m. local time Sunday (0300 to 0359 UTC Monday). That’s when W9IMS often engages in rapid contest-style QSOs, sometimes on two bands, as the final minutes tick away.

But don’t stake your card or certificate on it! W9IMS operators have been known to pull the plug early if band conditions deteriorate and/or calling stations become scarce.

– Brian D. Smith, W9IND

Spread the radio love

Indy 500 Week Marks the Second W9IMS Special Event of 2021

Indy 500 Week Marks the Second W9IMS Special Event of 2021

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

If you’re looking to add a 2021 Indy 500 QSL card to your collection, and perhaps a certificate as well, your odds of success just accelerated. From now through the end of Sunday, May 30 (Race Day), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Amateur Radio Club will take to the airwaves with special event station W9IMS.

The station’s SSB signals will appear daily on 20 and 40 meters – usually on or around 7.245 and 14.245 MHz – and possibly on 80 meters (near 3.840 MHz) later in the evening.

The Indy 500 special event is the second of three W9IMS operations commemorating the major races at the Speedway – and comes only 9 days after the first, which honored the IndyCar Grand Prix. The third and final special event of 2021, which runs from Aug. 9-15, celebrates the NASCAR 400 at the Brickyard.

Both hams and SWLs are eligible for the newly designed 2021 W9IMS QSL cards and Checkered Flag Award. To earn the certificate, however, you must work (or tune in) W9IMS during all three of this year’s special events – and the first race has already come and gone. But even if you miss the clean sweep, you can still claim individual QSL cards from the last two races.

Tips on finding W9IMS:

  1. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots listing the current frequency or frequencies of W9IMS, if any. By typing “W9IMS” in the search box at upper right, you can customize it to show reports for only that station.
  2. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org) and look for the heading, “2021 Operating Schedule.” Click on the Indianapolis 500 link, which opens into a weeklong schedule listing individual operators and their reserved timeslots. Your odds of catching W9IMS on the air are enhanced during hours with an operator’s name attached.
  3. Prime time on weeknights is 6 to 10 p.m. Indy time (2200-0200 UTC). However, W9IMS can pop up anytime, even on two bands at once, between now and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 30 (0359 UTC Monday, May 31).
  4. Remember that the published schedule can be curtailed by adverse circumstances, such as noisy bands, local thunderstorms or a lack of calling stations.
  5. On the positive side, operators frequently fire up the station at unscheduled times. That’s why DX Summit is the best starting point for locating W9IMS’s current frequencies.
Spread the radio love

2021 W9IMS Special Event Station Details!

Now Underway: A More Typical W9IMS Special Event

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

The fans are returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year, and with them comes a more traditional calendar for special event station W9IMS.

For hams and SWLs alike, that means a renewed opportunity to earn three newly designed QSL cards and the latest edition of the certificate known as the Checkered Flag Award.

The first W9IMS special event of 2021, saluting the upcoming IndyCar Grand Prix, is now underway and will continue through Saturday, May 15 (Race Day), ending at midnight Indianapolis time or 0400 UTC Sunday, May 16.

It’s the first of three W9IMS special events this year – two in May and the third in August – to commemorate the major auto races at the track. (Last year, because of Covid restrictions, two of the three races were held on the same weekend, and W9IMS followed suit by compressing its usual trio of special events into two.)

Here’s the remaining W9IMS slate for 2021:

May 24-30: Indianapolis 500

Aug. 9-15: NASCAR 400 at the Brickyard

Each of the three W9IMS events features its own unique QSL card, with the Checkered Flag certificate available to anyone who completes the clean sweep. However, you can still claim a single-event QSL or two even if you fail to bag the trio.

How to find W9IMS? The station will operate SSB daily on two bands, 20 or 40 meters, generally around 7.245 and 14.245 MHz, and could pop up at any time of day or night until local midnight Sunday. Keep a lookout, too, for digital activity – particularly FT8 and FT4 – on virtually any amateur radio band.

But the surest way to snare the station is this:

  1. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org) and find the heading, “2021 Operating Schedule.” Beneath it are links to the operator schedules for this year’s three special events; time slots with a name and a callsign offer your best bet for a W9IMS contact.
  2. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots that identify the current frequency or frequencies of W9IMS, if any. By typing “W9IMS” in the search box, you can customize it to show reports for only that station.

Remember, you can’t qualify for the 2021 certificate if you don’t catch the first event! So if you haven’t logged W9IMS by Saturday evening, keep in mind that the station traditionally conducts “happy hour” between 11 p.m. and midnight (0300 to 0400 UTC Sunday), with rapid contacts right up to the end. (But don’t stake your certificate on it: W9IMS special events may end early if the calls stop coming and/or band conditions deteriorate.)

For additional details, including QSL information, consult the W9IMS web page.

And in answer to the most-asked question: W9IMS operators transmit, usually remotely, from home stations in the Indianapolis area, but neither the ops nor the stations are physically located at the track.

Spread the radio love

W9IMS: Chance for a Commemorative Certificate and QSL Card

Indy 500 Week Offers the Chance for a Commemorative W9IMS Certificate and/or QSL Card

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

Your chance to obtain the 2020 W9IMS Checkered Flag Award – or at least a QSL card commemorating this year’s Indianapolis 500 – unfolds in the coming week. And both amateur radio operators and SWLs are welcome to try.

This year’s certificate is easier than ever to earn. Normally the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s three major races take place on three different weekends, but this year, because of Covid-19 concerns, two races were consolidated into one weekend – and in turn, two W9IMS special events merged into one.

For anyone who bagged that two-in-one event, you can seal the deal on the certificate by catching the station again between now and Sunday, Aug. 23. The Indy 500 operation will conclude at midnight local time (0400 UTC) Monday, Aug. 24. (Note: Indianapolis is on EDT or New York time.)

Even if you succeed in snaring W9IMS only once, you can still claim the corresponding QSL card. All certificate and QSL designs are brand-new each year.

How to find W9IMS? The station’s two transmitters will operate on three bands – 20, 40 and 80 meters – and may appear at any time of day or night until the final signoff at 0400 UTC Monday.

However, the best bet is to catch the station during prime time – 2200 through 0200 UTC on weeknights (6 to 10 p.m. Indy time). W9IMS operators will frequently activate 20 meters on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. (1200-1800 UTC); and will cover all three bands at various times throughout the weekend starting at 10 a.m. (1400 UTC) daily.

If you still haven’t caught W9IMS by 11 p.m. Sunday in Indianapolis (0300 UTC Monday), operators commonly conduct their own “happy hour” – working stations in rapid contesting style – during that final hour of the special event. But W9IMS has also been known to pull the plug a little early on Sunday evening if no stations are calling.

Here are tips for locating the station:

  • Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org), find the “2020 Operating Schedule” heading, and click on the link to “Indianapolis 500.” Although some W9IMS operators make unscheduled appearances, you’ll have better odds looking for the station during the hours and bands reserved with a name and a callsign.
  • Even so, never assume that W9IMS is off the air. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots that identify the station’s current frequency (or frequencies), if any. Type “W9IMS” in the search box and you can customize it to show reports for only that station.
  • Preferred frequencies for W9IMS are 3.840, 7.245 and 14.245 MHz, so the station can usually be found there or within 10 kHz.

For further details, consult the W9IMS web page. Feel free to submit your requests for the 2020 QSL cards plus certificate in the same envelope, and if you don’t have your own QSL card, a printout of your W9IMS contacts or reception reports will suffice.

Remember to include $5 for the certificate plus two cards; or an SASE for one or both of the cards alone — the house rule is “No SASE, no W9IMS card, no exception!”

Spread the radio love