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The 2020 CQ-WE Contest

Held the weekend of November 14-15  —  61 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.

CQ-WE #61 Contest Results: Yes, the results are in and they are official! Tom Warren, K3TW, won the contest handily, with more than double the score of our second place finisher. (Tom is an excellent contester and has won this event more often than I can count.) Tom Brown, W2EQ, claimed the #2 slot, followed by Ken Mitchell, KD2KW, John Drum, W4BXI, and Shel Darack, WA2UBK. W2EQ also took the High Active Employee award. Kudos to all the above for their fine showings.

K3TW's strong finish also landed him both the High Phone and High CW awards, pushing WA2UBK and KD2KW into the #2 spots. Charles Pittman, AC4PQ, and Tom Nevue, W2MN, finished out the Individual Awards for the High QRP, and High Non-Bell respectively, with David Bean, KC2WUF, and Al Hanzl, K2AL, tying for the High Digital score.

In the Location Awards categories, K3TW pulled off yet another coup: As the only participant to submit a log claiming Holmdel for his location this year, Tom's singular score nevertheless catapulted Holmdel into first place in the rankings. Middletown and Columbus came in 2nd and 3rd respectively and they tied each other for the Most Participants award (six each).

And, so, it seems ham radio has once again proven itself to be a good antidote for the Covid-19 safe distancing doldrums. We hope you enjoyed the 61st running of the CQ-WE contest and look forward to meeting you on the bands once again in November, when the winter winds are on the horizon and the warm glow of vacuum tubes beckon us back to the shack. (And, yes, I still have a few active fire-bottles here to keep me warm on those cold winter nights.)

The complete list of scores may be found here.

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. Want to highlight your location? Then please consider volunteering to design and produce the certs for our 61st contest year coming up. It's really not that hard, your name will be recorded for posterity on the website, and we'll even handle the distribution. So give it some thought; we'd love to hear from you.


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-2020@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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