CQ-WE Contest
Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated 28-Sep-2016


What's new for 2016?
  • We simplified the logger-update process for most participants: If you have last year's logger already loaded on your PC, updating it for the 2016 contest can be done by executing a simple script rather than requiring the old logger be removed and a new logger installed from scratch.
  • With the assimilation of Alcatel-Lucent into Nokia, we created a generic Location Code for any Nokia employees who would like to participate in the contest. (All participants are still encouraged to use an existing code reflecting a real location if they can legally do so.)
  • Hoping to encourage increased participation in the contest, Bob Rosier/K4OCE donated a BaoFeng UV5R dual-band handheld to be awarded by random drawing to one lucky participant in the 2016 contest.
What's new for 2014?
To accommodate short-time employees who have been long-time CQ-WE contesters, starting with the 2014 contest we've decided to give Bell System participants the option of using the Years of Service formula that non-Bell contesters use, if they desire. We've also slightly modified the contest definition of QRP to reflect what has become today's standard definition of the term (10W PEP PHONE, 5W PEP CW and DIGITAL).

What's new for 2013?
There have been no rule changes for 2013. There is a new contest logging program, so you should download the latest version prior to the contest. Except for some changes involving the dates, it should be identical to the 2012 program.

What's new for 2012?
Actually, not all that much. We've been working to improve the new logger program, so make sure you grab the latest copy before the contest.

What's new for 2011?
Several things:
  • We transitioned to a new officially sanctioned logging program. Tom Foy/N4HAI, the developer, has done a superb job of perfecting this program and tuning it for our contest. We think you'll like it.
  • We removed the rule which permitted appending an 'R' to a location code to denote a retiree contact. One's retiree status no longer makes a difference in scoring, and retirees may still designate themselves as such on their submitted paperwork.
  • We added bonus points for those who file electronically using the XML output file produced by the new logging program.
  • We clarified which bands may be used for contest credit, and specifically, we eliminated the 1.25m (220Mhz) band due to lack of use.
  • We shifted the 80m suggested frequencies from 3900-3925 to 3825-3925 to place it closer to the center of the band.
  • We've added a section to the website that explains the Host Location's responsibilities.
  • We renamed the three contest "modes" to be "categories" to avoid confusion between contest "modes" (CW, PHONE, DIGITAL) and modes of operation (CW, SSB, AM, FM, RTTY, etc.).
  • We clarified what constitutes a PHONE vs. DIGITAL contact, and explained how D-STAR contacts should be logged.

What was new for 2010?
  • We changed the High "Works Location" award so that only the top five scores from each location are counted. Previously, it was the top ten scores. However, in recent years, only one location has consistently garnered ten or more entries in the contest, with virtually every other location coming in with five or fewer. We also added a "Works Location High Participation" award.
  • We modified the High Retiree award to be either a High Retiree or High Active Bell System Employee award, depending on which award complements the winner of the contest. Thus, if the winner of the contest is a retiree, we'll also issue a High Active Bell System Employee award and vice versa.
  • We clarified that QRP operation involves operating in the contest with a PEP output power of 5 watts or less.
  • We expanded the acceptable formats of contest results submitted by email to include PDF and other common document types.

What was new for 2009?
We've changed the suggested frequencies for 40m phone ops, from 7250-7300 kHz to 7178-7240 kHz, to take maximal advantage of the new broadcasting-free portion of the band while not encroaching on the portion of the band where Generals are not allowed to operate.

What was new for 2008?
A couple things:
  • We've re-added most of the location codes that were retired in 1997. These codes were retired under the premise that the contest committee would review the list of active codes annually, but this has never been done. Hence, we've decided to open these old codes up for use in the contest again.
  • We've tweaked some of the suggested frequencies. This was necessary because some of the original suggested frequencies were actually illegal under the current bandplans. Plus we've broadened some of the HF ranges where we've noticed congestion in prior-years contests.
  • We've changed the Year's of Service designation for non-Bell participants. Instead of always being '1', we've elected to honor repeat 'ZZ' contesters by allowing them to take credit for their past participation.

Why has a cost been imposed for CQ-WE Participation Certificates?
In the past, most clubs were affiliated with AT&T locations, and received yearly funding to cover the cost of awards and postage. Today, most CQ-WE host clubs are comprised of participants who are retirees, and who have to bear the cost of producing and mailing the certificates themselves. We simply cannot ask our host locations to produce a quality certificate for gratis anymore. However, as an alternative, if you want to roll your own, we'll gladly email you the certificate free of charge, and you can print it yourself.

I used to work in the Bell System many years ago but I quit (or was laid off, or was fired etc...) Can I still participate?
Absolutely! Add up your years of service (see next paragraph) and join in on the fun.

How do I calculate my Years of Service?
It's simple: Add up the number of years you worked in the Bell System and round it off. Example: If you have 12 years, 6 months, and 14 days of net credited service with one or more Bell System entities, you would use 13 Years of Service in the contest. If you don't know exactly, use a reasonable estimate. Generally, your Year of Service should increment yearly while you are actively employed, and remain constant once you retire. (And, BTW, if you are currently working for a Bell System entity, you should consider yourself an active employee even though you may have retired from that or another Bell System entity earlier.)

If you are a non-Bell participant, for your Years of Service use the number of past CQ-WE contests you have participated in, counting those contests in which you submitted a log, plus the current contest.

What do I do if I encounter an invalid Location Code?
A list of the valid Location Codes is published on the website, and listed in the Checksheet included with the paper documentation. It is also built into the logging software. A few days before the contest, you should either download the current contest forms, or download and install the current copy of the logging software.

If you encounter a contestant who is giving out an invalid Location Code in an exchange, ask for a repeat. Perhaps you simply heard it incorrectly. If they are clearly using an invalid code, you should not accept it. Explain to them that you cannot count that Location Code for credit in the contest. If they insist, simply tell them you will log them as a 'ZZ 1', then do so and move on.

If you discover the problem after the contact has been made, simply change that Location Code to 'ZZ' and the Years of Service to '1'. We know it's tempting to count that extra Location Code in your multiplier, but only the published Location Codes may be used.

We carefully go over the submitted score sheets of those who are in contention for an award and if we find an invalid Location Code, in order to be fair to the other contestants, we remove that entry from the Location Checksheet as well as the Log Sheet, since both entries are technically incorrect.

Bear in mind that all location codes consist of two alpha characters. Until recently, some contestants followed an old contest tradition of appending an 'R' to their Location Code if they were retired. This practice is no longer permitted, but if you encounter a three character Location Code ending in 'R', inform the other contestant that they should drop the 'R' suffix from their Location Code. (See below.)

What happened to the (R)etired, (N)ovice, and (T)echnician Suffixes to the Location Code?
These designations no longer have any relevance in the scoring of the contest and were confusing to new contestants. Thus they have been eliminated as a part of the exchange. You can still claim your "Retired" status on the cover sheet of your submitted contest logs.

Do you have a Computer Logging Program that can be used in the Contest?
Yes. Our current logger is being actively maintained, and has been tested on Windows XP through Windows 8. Its use is encouraged, and we strongly suggest you download it and familiarize yourself with its operation before the contest. You may find the most recent copy of the logger software, along with its extensive documentation, in the Contest Info tab on the our main page.

Can I still use the K8NU Logger?
The K8NU logger is no longer being officially supported, and it will become increasingly dated as time marches on. For this reason, we strongly suggest you upgrade to our current CQ-WE contest software. However, the K8NU logger (or, for that matter, other logging programs, or even paper logs) may be used as long as the final logs that are produced and submitted are in the format of the official contest forms. Incentive points will only be awarded those who submit logs produced by the official contest logging software.

Why allow scoresheets to be filed by email?
Actually, email has become the standard way to submit results in today's contests, with paper mail becoming the increasingly rare exception. Filing your logs electronically allows us to more easily check them for accuracy and use them to verify our other logs. And, it saves postage. We ask that you strongly consider using our logger program and filing your logs by email, although we still accept paper submissions.

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