CQ World Wide – Phone & CW

The CQ Worldwide Phone contest takes place over the third weekend of October each year and the CW version follows over the third weekend of November.

Expect to see 3.5, 7, 14, 15, 28 bands jam packed to the gunnels with signals as this is one of of not the most high profile contest in the annual calendar.

Various classes are open to entry ranging from high power up to National maximums to a 100w maximum category and a 5w QRP entry which must be quite a hard category to make meaningful contacts within unless a really efficient antenna system is used.

A very simple concept, make contact and exchange the customary ‘5/9’ report together with the CQWW zone you are transmitting from and record the call, report and CQWW zone of the station you have contacted plus the time. That is all the log needs.

I have never been a great advocate of any contest but, have always enjoyed giving poi nts to those committed to the 48hpours of the CQWW event. Many of them have carted their gear to far flung locations to activate the rare places of the World.

I have always maintained that the contest gives everyone the chance to see how well their personal station is working as even the high power operators want to work everyone possible and will take the time to winkle out a weak call sign to gain another multiplier. Yes, you will receive the proverbial 5&9 report having taken several attempts to pass your call to them but that is just convention and only signifies they have heard you sufficiently well to record your call in their log. We all know it is probably a 5/4, 5/5, 5/7 or whatever, it matters not.

On 27th & 28th October 2012 I took part giving points to a little over 200 stations spending a short time on Saturday and some 6 or 7 hours on Sunday. Most contacts were made using my FT857nwith the nominal 100w and the Sirio Mantova vertical on 10m. When 10m closed on the Sunday I moved into the main shack and used the TS870s with the Cushcraft X7 which is still tethered to the North West. Worked a large number of American and Canadian stations in area 3, 4, 5 some area 8 and 9 plus 11 & 13 plus an area 35 right at the end and a smattering of 14’s and 15’s.

Just 100w used and on 3 occasions one of the US stations commented on lovely strong signal when undoubtedly they were all running 500w plus.

Unless you are a CW officianado it will be 12 months before you can try your station out under these challenging conditions with an operator every 1kc or so across the whole band. Good training and you will begin to learn the Country codes too which will help you spot the day to day DX opportunities.

I am not advocating becoming a contest zombie staying up for 48 hours hammering the bands constantly; not fun in my opinion, but, a few hours when you can will pay dividends on your country count and prove how good your set up really is. If you run just 10w bear a thought for the entrants running 5w QRP or below as they have a harder job than you. Remember 10w will work the world, OK, you will never get a reply first time all the time but practice at when to call can improve your strike rate by many percentage points. Joining a pile up with hundreds calling is just silly, however, if you hear a DX station calling CQ jump right in as you may be the first thing he hears when he says QRZ, then all hell breaks loose after your contact ends, feels great when that happens.

Here is some information about the event and a link to one operators file showing his operations over the years from far away places using a myriad of exotic calls. Whatever floats your boat and, if your pockets are deep enough what a wonderful way to enjoy an overseas holiday (XYL’s may not agree of course).

Prefix List for CQWW

cqww prefix list

CQWW Zone Maps

CQWW rules

N6ZZ CQWW operations over the years



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