English Castles Awards Rules
English Castles Awards is an integral part of the World Castles Awards Program and therefore we mostly adopt their rules and reference numbering system.
In the interests of fairness and harmony for everyone involved and for activations to be valid ECA activators are expected to establish an activation on their own clear frequency, where all ECA/WCA hunters can call freely without restriction or hesitation. This should be done before attempting to collect contacts from elsewhere such as controlled nets or hunt and pounce etc.
Hunters – only activations worked from the 1st January 2021 are valid for ECA awards, work with stations at ECA references to earn awards, Basic 15, Bronze 50, Silver 75, Gold 100, Platinum 150, Diamond 200, Honor Roll 300, Crusader 500, Knights Templar 1000 and Grand Master 1500 and then onwards to the Grand Master shield awards and beyond.
Activators – Only references activated from 1st January 2021 are valid. Activate ECA references to earn awards – Basic 5, Bronze 15 , Silver 50, Gold 75, Platinum 100, Diamond 150, Honor Roll 200, Crusader 350, Knights Templar 500 and Grand Master 700 and then onwards to the Grand Master shield awards and beyond.
Activators should operate portable /p and/or mobile as a portable station. ECA do not accept logs or provide awards for residents as it would be detrimental to the entire point of our program. However there is a World Castles Activator Award for resident operators.
All hunted and activated references count more than once towards your ECA Awards.
What does this mean? Every time you activate or work a reference you have activated or worked before, you will get credit towards your activator and hunter awards.
References you activate/hunt do NOT have to be unique references to gain another point.
Hunt/activate the same references as many times as you wish to gain more points towards the next level.
*Of course newly activated references are great and should always be considered by activaters, with over 3500 references across England, there are plenty of new, never activated before references available.
Activators must be no more than 1km away from the activated reference/s. More than one reference may be activated at the same time as long as this distance rule is maintained, meaning one activation can be valid for multiple WCA/ECA references
The 1Km Rule
This rule is useful for many reasons! It enables multiple reference activations should the activator be within 1km of more than one reference. It is also very helpful if you cannot gain access because of private property etc or maybe the activator has mobility issues and physically cannot get right beside the reference/s. The 1km rule has been put in place to encourage activity whatever the circumstances and allows everyone to be involved.
Other awards programs insist you are within a certain land boundary which can exclude some individuals. We don’t believe this should be the case at all. There are many ways for activators to verify they are within 1km of their chosen reference/s. By far the easiest way is to use the ECA Reference Map paying attention to the highlighted activation zones. Measuring tools are also available on Google Earth, Google Earth Pro and Google maps etc. You can also find online radius measuring tools here at maps.ie or here at calcmaps.com. If you have an android device you could use the app Distance Radius. There are many ways this verification can be performed not least visually and using your common sense.
Only awards issued by the WCA/ECA Awards Service are valid. The outdated gma network awards are no longer recognised by us or WCA and are invalid.
Visit the ECA Awards page for more details.
How To Activate
Activating ECA references can be as simple or as complicated as you make it! There are many different types of areas available to the activator ranging from what everyone recognises as a “Castle” and many others that are valid under World Castles Awards rules. Such as Bastles, Pele Towers, Fortified Ecclesiastical Sites, Motte and Bailey Castles, Timber Castle Sites, Masonry Castles, Siege Works Sites, Stately Homes, Fortified Manor Houses, some Town Houses and Country House, Palaces, Hillforts, Star Forts, Artillery Forts, Chain Towers, Fortified Bridges, Urban Defences some Henges and Monuments and also Earthwork remains. A full series of posts explaining all these areas is available for members to read within the featured section of the English Castles Awards Facebook Group,
All these areas present their own challenges to activators, some are much easier than others to qualify for numerous reasons. Activators need only be within 1 km of the reference in order to activate. We encourage you to get as close as possible if you can! However, please respect the law of the land, some areas are on private property or protected and have no entry to the public, this is where the 1 km rule helps you to complete your activation. We take no responsibility for individuals actions or behaviour so please use common sense and diligence in your activations.
For many areas you will not need permission to activate, especially if activating /p from a vehicle with mobile self contained antennas however please seek permission to activate if you really believe it is required.
Many references can be completed /p with let’s say a dipole or vertical, maybe on the top of a Hillfort reference, a castle or tower. There are other references that you will have to complete from a vehicle /m as a portable station using mobile antennas because there is simply no room for larger antennas or the area is too busy or possibly in a city centre etc, the reference may even be someone’s home. Use your common sense and again be respectful of private property, people and the area being activated.
Some references are very close within 1 km of others, in which case, once you have checked the distances using online tools you may activate more than one reference at a time.
It has to be said that ECA/WCA activations are a real challenge compared to many other popular awards programs, probably the most difficult! That goes for the hunters and activators, this program was not made to be easy like some others! It makes our activator and hunter awards more valuable to the programs participants. When you qualify, apply for and receive an ECA activator or hunter award it really does represent an achievement!
Check the Official English Castles Awards Reference Map, locate a reference/s you wish to activate and use the maps features to get you to or within 1 km of your chosen areas.
Make sure you have all your equipment ready to go, placing a few “self spots” on different Dx Clusters telling everyone you are activating, your frequency, mode and reference will help you get noticed faster, do not rely on others to spot you correctly! You can also post where and when you are active in the English Castles and World Castles Awards Facebook Groups. Be prepared and plan everything including keeping an eye on what you might expect from the propagation. “Fail to prepare – prepare to fail!” Please do your research and respect individual clusters rules but remember there is nothing wrong with spotting yourself with your home callsign as a /p or /m station.
For ECA activations to be valid it is necessary to start them on a clear frequency that activators have established for themsleves where hunters are able to call freely without restriction or hesitation. Try to find a clear frequency so as not to cause others interference and make sure you do not begin your activity on a net of any kind or hunt and pounce etc. Ask at least three times if the frequency is in use, once a clear frequency has been established the ECA activation can begin.
Call CQ ECA/WCA and your callsign and references etc and begin filling your log. There are no band or mode restrictions. When you have reached at least 50 confirmed Qso’s you can then stop or carry on as you wish. Finally submit your log for inclusion in the ECA database. Instructions can be found on our logs page.
Allow a little time for your log to be uploaded, you can check your awards progress and apply for new awards once qualified using the WCA/ECA awards claim service.
It is the activators responsibilty to qualify their log with at least 50 Qso’s should this criteria be met then your log should be emailed to us following the instructions on our ECA logs page. If you have previously qualified a reference before and are re-activating it, the above rules still apply.
Should 50 Qso’s not be reached this is a failed attempt! Do not send in your log until you have reached the 50 Qso’s.
This can be done by adding to your log another day until the 50 Qso’s have been reached and then send in your log. You must treat your additional attempts at reaching the qualifying 50 Qso’s along with your first attempt as one log.
Any additional Qso’s cannot be duplicated on the following attempt/s to reach the 50 Qso’s required, meaning same callsign, same band, same mode is not acceptable.
On your second attempt you could for example work the same station you worked on 40m SSB again, however not on the same mode, CW or Digital would be fine. You can of course work that same 40m Qso on any other band and mode too. To clarify, same callsign, same band, same mode as your first attempt is a duplicate (Dupe).
We do realise that on occasion qualifying a log with all 50 Qso’s required is not always possible for a number of reasons. However to keep everything simple, it is in everyones interests to stay at the reference until qualified with at least the 50 Qso’s from one attempt.
Please see our logs page for how and where to email your logs to us.
Follow the links for more information.
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