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The 2016 CQ-WE Contest

Coming up the weekend of November 12-13  —  57 years of friendly competition!

CQ-WE stands for CQ - Western Electric, the company whose ham employees originated the contest. The annual CQ-WE Contest is open to all Radio Amateurs. The objective is to contact as many Bell System Radio Amateurs as possible via ham radio. A Bell System amateur is any ham who is a current or former employee of any part of the pre-divestiture Bell System — that is, any company that was spun off from or shares a part of its heritage with the original AT&T Corporation. Examples include the current-day AT&T, Bell Labs, Western Electric, the Baby Bells, Bellcore, NCR, Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Agere, as well as other companies that have sprung from them. Normally held the second full weekend in November, the contest combines a spirit of competitive contesting with the chance to relax, have fun, and renew acquaintances with old friends and colleagues while fostering friendships with new ones.

EXCITING THINGS in Store for 2016... A major complaint in the 2015 contest was the lack of participants. We understand. It's hard enough to set aside a weekend for contesting, but to sit at the mic for hours calling "CQ-WE" and having no one come back to you is no fun at all. This year, your committee has spent considerable time trying to ensure this doesn't happen again. First, we're going to be sending out emails reminding former participants of the dates and times of the contest. We're also opening the contest up to Nokia employees by assigning them a special location code. (If they work at a former Bell location already covered, they should of course use that LC.) And, finally, due to the generosity of Bob Rosier, K4OCE, we will be offering a brand new 2m/440 BaoFeng UV5R handheld as a prize to one lucky CQ-WE participant. The UV5R is a neat little unit which in addition to being a nice two-band transceiver also covers a lot of the VHF and UHF frequencies as a scanner. The handheld will be awarded via a random drawing from among all the participants who qualify for a contest certificate (contest committee members excluded). So mark the second weekend in November and help us make the 2016 contest another one for the record books.

W2EQ — Back in the Saddle... Last year, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, we conducted the CQ-WE contest without a National Coordinator. Determined not to let this happen again, Tom Brown, W2EQ, agreed to step up and re-assume the role. Tom will be our NC for this year's contest and will continue in this capacity until another NC can be named. Tom brings with him a strong résumé, having served as the contest NC from 2011 to 2014. On behalf of the committee as a whole, we thank Tom for his continuing dedication to the CQ-WE contest and welcome him back as our new CQ-WE National Coordinator.

And, while we're at it, please note that we are always looking for people who would be interested in serving on the CQ-WE Contest Committee. The job entails email discussions with other committee-members concerning proposed rule changes, some prep work for the contest, and in short making sure all the bases are covered so the contest come off without a hitch. A history of steady participation in CQ-WE and a knowledge of the contest itself, as well as a can-do attitude, are definite pluses. If you are interested in being considered for the position, let one of the committee members know and we'll be happy to keep you in mind the next time we are looking for some new blood.

CONTEST HOST: The role of Contest Host is an important one, and we appreciate the time and effort the various locations have put into designing and distributing their certificates in years past. Last year the QV location – Southwestern Bell – was featured, thanks to Bob Rosier, K4OCE, who agreed to take the lead on this effort. This year we will be highlighting a different location, and it could be yours: The most difficult part is designing the certificates. (Honest!) If you'd like to add your work location to the annals of CQ-WE history, contact a member of the Contest Committee today.

HAVE A QUESTION about CQ-WE? Email the National Coordinator. Interested in discussing the contest or just want to keep in touch? Feel free to join Ma-Bell-Hams, a Yahoo E-mail Group where such discussions are welcome: Just enter your email address in the space below and click "Join Now!".

HELP US COMPILE a Historical Record of our Bell System Locations and Ham Clubs: A big part of the CQ-WE contest is communicating with as many different Location Codes as possible. The locations these codes represent made up the once great Bell System. Today, many — actually, most — of these locations, along with their location-sanctioned ham clubs, are either defunct or a shadow of their former selves.

The CQ-WE committee is undertaking a project to resurrect and preserve a history of the various Bell System locations before this information and heritage is permanently lost. But, its success depends on you! Please check our Location Histories page, and if you can provide some information on a missing location — or additional information on one that has already been published — consider authoring a short article describing your location. If it supported a corporate ham club, please include your remembrances of that, too. Use the existing write-ups as guides for style and format. Please send your material to the CQ-WE webmaster, cqwe-web-2016@cboh.org, and we'll put it up on the web site to highlight your location for posterity, and even give you credit in the byline. By taking a few minutes to document what you know from your personal experience with AT&T and its subsidiaries, we hope to preserve some of the rich history of the many facets of the once proud and great Bell System.

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