US Islands Awards Program


Common questions about USI

  1. Are you affiliated with IOTA? ~ No. IOTA, or Islands On The Air, is an international awards program offered by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). They only recognize islands in the oceans of the world. Their islands, ” . . . must not lie in rivers, inland lakes or seas, narrow gulfs or largely enclosed bays. . . . ” Where the islands of the US Islands Awards Program (USI) need to be within the 50 United States, it’s Territories, and Protectorates.
  2. What is the difference between an island Qualification and Activation? ~ The very first expedition to an island is called a Qualification. Any additional expeditions, after the Qualification effort, is called an Activation.
  3. What does it take to Qualify an island? ~ During the qualifying first expedition, USI requires a minimum of 25 QSOs, in any mode, that includes a minimum of 2 DXCC entities.
  4. During qualification, when can I give out the USI number? ~ We ask that the number not be given out during the qualification period, only the name. Once you have reached the 25 QSOs that includes a minimum of 2 DXCC entities, you can be give out the number with it’s suffix letter (L – lake, R – river, or S – shore).
  5. In the Island Directory, some island numbers don’t have the R, L, S letter suffix? ~ An island without the letter suffix hasn’t been Qualified. After it’s been Qualified it will have either an “L” – Lake, an “R” -River, or an “S” – coastal Shore suffix.
  6. How do I report a Qualification? – Send a report to the Qualifications Manager (QM) using the form that you’ll find here. We work on the honor system and don’t require logs.
  7. Can the Logbook of The World (LoTW) be used to QSL? ~ Yes, LoTW is a valid form of QSLing for USI. We operate on the honor system. LoTW,, paper QSL, or just an email that confirms a valid QSO will work.
  8. What is the award application process? ~ To apply for a specific award, send the Awards Manager (AM) Jay, NS4J a complete list of confirmed islands and the appropriate funds via check or online with PayPal. The list must include the QSO date, call worked, USI number, island name.
  9. Is there a required exchange during an USI expedition? ~ No. Unlike Nat’l Parks on the Air (NPOTA) which requires the park designation be sent for every QSO, USI doesn’t require the USI number be sent with every QSO.
  10. How far back do my island QSOs count? ~ USI officially started in 1994, but any valid, confirmed contact prior to that also count. In May of 2007 the USI added all of the U.S. States, Territories, and Protectorates to our directory. You may have a 1995 QSO with the main island of Puerto Rico, PR006S that now counts towards an award.
  11. Why isn’t my island on the USI Directory? ~ Not all islands are on the USI Directory. We only add islands to the list when someone requests them to be added in preparation to Qualifying them.
  12. How do I add an island to the USI Directory? ~ It’s easy, fill out the form here. The QM will evaluate the information and if your island fits all of the criteria, the island will be assigned a number and added.  Go here for more detailed information.
  13. Are there maps of all the islands within an individual state? – Yes. Each state’s page has a Google map at the bottom. Look for the Google map icon to the left of the island counts field at the top of the page, and it will jump to the map. There is also a Google map linked on the main Island Directory page for the entire U.S. Look for the same icon on that page, but a word of caution; This will load a new browser tab with a full US map with 3,000+ markers. Loading and use can be slow.