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A-1 Op

Who to Nominate?

Membership is available to all currently active, licensed Amateur Radio operators. Membership comes after nomination by two club members who find the nominee qualified to be a member of this elite group. Membership in the  A-1 Operator Club cannot be awarded posthumously. Note that the A-1 Ops Club membership is based upon ON-AIR operating proficiency.

Nominations should follow these guidelines:

 1.General considerations. Transmissions are stable, well filtered, and occupying the minimum required bandwidth. On voice, clarity of speech, brevity, uses appropriate words and good grammar. On digital modes, clean tones and appropriate operating-frequency selection. On CW, proper character formation and spacing with appropriate speeds (high-speed ability is not a consideration).

 2. Procedure. Always listens before transmitting. Appropriately short CQs, avoidance of unnecessary repetition, use of proper procedures and abbreviations recommended by ARRL, avoidance of common inanities in making contacts. When operating a message forwarding system, make sure that traffic is routed to its destination.

 3. Judgment and courtesy. Courteous, and considerate of the other operator's point of view. Takes every opportunity to assist others, especially beginners. Patient and helpful at all times, and never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

 4. Copying ability. This applies to all modes, for there is a knack to passing information through such difficulties as interference from other stations (QRM), atmospheric noises (QRN), fading (QSB), etc.

How to Nominate

You must be a full member of the A1 Operator Club in order to make a nomination. Use the Nominees or Membership Roster to see if someone has already been nominated or is already a member. If you want to make a nomination, send it by e-mail to: Please send your nomination information in the email itself, rather than as an attachment. We do not open attachments for computer security safety.  You may also send via Postal Mail to:

A1 Operator Club
c/o ARRL Awards Desk
225 Main St.
Newington, CT 06111

Be sure to include the following:

1) Your name and call sign.

2) The name, call sign, and mailing address of the person(s) you want to nominate.


3) Several specific comments about your nominee’s ON-AIR operating proficiency. Please be specific on HOW they operate on-air and why their on-air operation deserves to be recognized. Anything off-air such as awards, club work, being an Elmer or mentor is not considered.


Names and addresses are particularly important for nominees living both inside and outside the USA. Over the years many hams change their callsign and this assures that the proper person receives this distinguished recognition. Please take a moment to check the accuracy of the information you send us. It will avoid delays in processing at HQ.


History of the A-1 Operator Club

First organized in May 1933, the ARRL A-1 Operator Club has a proud history and occupies an important place in Amateur Radio tradition. Communications Manager Ed Handy, W1BDI, announced its formation with these words in July 1933 QST

Are you an A-1 Operator? Excellence in stations has often been emphasized. Yet, station performance, equipment, adjustment, etc., are but part of the story. The operation of the equipment, knowledge of procedure, and general communications technique are of very great importance in determining the results of any station. To bring attention to good operating as a paramount issue, and to give it something of the importance it deserves we are this month announcing in these columns the launching of a club for A-1 operators. 

By early 1934, the roster of recognized A-1 operators swelled to more than 400; by the end of 1938, to 1,000 and as of mid-2012 there are over 5,800 members of this special club! Then, as now, nominations were not made lightly. Through the years, recognition as an A-1 Operator represented an unsolicited acknowledgment of one's high standing among one's peers.

Much is said about the handful of radio amateurs whose operating practices do not quite measure up. Not enough is said about those who, by contrast, lead by example - who set the standard for others to follow. Let us correct that now. Let us honor them as A-1 Operators and in so doing, honor the best in Amateur Radio. - David Sumner, K1ZZ

A-1 Operator Club Pin

A1_op.jpgShow off your achievement for being among those operators that meet the highest operating standards. Visit our store to purchase the pin today!


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