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Islands on the Air
The IOTA Programme was created by Geoff Watts, a leading British shortwave listener, in the mid-1960s.
When it was taken over by the RSGB in 1985 it had already become, for some a favourite award.
Its popularity grows each year and it is highly regarded among amateurs world-wide.
The IOTA Programme consists of 18 separate awards. They may be claimed by any licensed radio amateur
eligible under the General Rules, who can produce evidence of having made two-way communication, since 15
November 1945, with the required number of amateur radio stations located on the islands both world-wide and
regional. Many of the islands are DXCC countries in their own right; others are not, but by meeting particular
eligibility criteria also count for credit. Part of the fun of IOTA is that it is an evolving programme with new
islands being activated for the first time (from amongst the 1170 listed groups).
The basic award is for working stations located on 100 islands/groups.There are higher achievement awards for
working 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 and 700 islands/groups. In addition there are seven continental awards
(including Antarctica) and three regional awards - Arctic Islands, British Isles and West Indies - for contacting a
specified number of islands/groups listed in each area. The IOTA World-wide diploma is available for working 50%
of the numbered groups in each of the seven continents. A Plaque of Excellence is available for confirmed contacts
with at least 750 islands/groups. Shields are available for every 25 further islands/groups.
The rules require that, in order for credit to be given, QSL cards need to be submitted to nominated IOTA
checkpoints for checking.
A feature of the IOTA programme is the annual Honour Roll which appears in the RSGB's DX News Magazine
and which encourages continual updating of scores. This also appears in the July edition of
RadCom and on this Web site [to be published in
If 'Island Chasing' appeals to you (and it can become compulsive!), you will need
the latest IOTA Directory and Yearbook which is packed
with information on the awards, the honour roll, a 'most-wanted islands list' and the essential world-wide list
- Our address is:
- RSGB IOTA Programme
- PO Box 9
- Potters Bar
- EN6 3RH