WHAT IS COUNTY HUNTING? County hunting is a specialized interest within amateur radio. People from all over the world work towards the goal of two way confirmed contacts with all 3077 counties in the United States. Doing so earns a large, beautiful, award certificate and plaque - the coveted United States of America Counties Award (USA-CA). It is hard to find a more attractive and impressive award to display, or would bring more satisfaction and new friends.
WHO ARE COUNTY HUNTERS? Young, old, YLs, OMs, paper chasers, rag chewers, mobilers, SSB, CW - in short, a cross section of amateur radio itself. Some people prefer to put out counties on the air, especially if their time or work has them traveling. A majority work mobiles, and fixed stations, for counties from their home. And some do both. County hunters have nets for the convenience of meeting others so inclined, but it should be emphasized that county hunting can be done anywhere at any time, as either a group or individual activity. Some people like striking out on their own, while others enjoy the fellowship of meeting friends regularly on the nets.
WHAT ARE COUNTIES? Although we know counties as political/geographical entities usually larger than cities but smaller than states, but not too well known is the fact that the counties do change. Some counties have been absorbed by others, added, or changed to the status of Independent Cities. Currently there are 3077 counties, but that could change at any time. Alaska uses Federal Judicial Districts, Hawaii uses island groupings and Louisiana has parishes all of which are treated as counties for purposes of the program. Sometimes a mobile station stops on a county line and runs two counties; in that case, a contact will count for both counties, provided that both are confirmed with a QSL. Most questions concerning county designation are answered with the US Post Office, ZIP Code, Directory.
County hunting is very contagious! Once you get started, you will not want to stop until you have worked all 3077 counties. Besides the fun and excitement of county hunting, you will meet a friendly group of amateurs who are eager to help you work that last county. Have Fun and Good Hunting!