Aug 26

We love seeing the response as CQ WW certificates arrive around the world. From Facebook posts to emails, everyone loves showing off their radio accomplishment to friends and family. For example, VU2CVS wrote a nice note, “I am pleasantly surprised to receive the CQ WW Contest certificates for both CW and SSB for the year 2014.  These are my first contest certificates!  I very much appreciate the time and effort that you put in for this enormous work.”  Lorenzo IZ1TUF wrote, “Yesterday I received the certificate about my Italian 1st place in cqww ssb 2013. To receive this certificate was for me a big surprise…”


IZ1TUF proudly displays his certificate for winning the 20M High Power category for Italy in CQ WW SSB 2013.

The economics of managing a paper ham radio magazine has been challenging. CQ has reduced their level of sponsorship for the contest over the years. They were no longer willing to pay the printing and postage required to send the more than 7000 certificates needed for the 2013 and 2014 contests.

The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF, has stepped up to temporarily fill the vacuum.  They pitched in to cover the cost of printing and mailing the certificate backlog (not only for CQWW, but also CQ 160m and CQ WPX).  The WWROF is a non-profit organization that was founded to promote the sport of contesting and the hidden infrastructure that helps make it possible. We greatly appreciate their generosity.

The CQ WW DX Contest certificates are a large 9.5″ x 12.5″ in size. This requires the use of the lightest possible envelope in order to stay under 1 ounce of postage. You may have noticed the address is printed directly on the envelope in order to avoid the extra weight! The envelopes are so thin that some are destroyed by the post office machinery…

The certificate printing costs are around $1000 USD per contest. Postage is slightly more than $1 USD per certificate. CQ WW SSB 2014 had 2,061 certificate winners. CQ WW CW 2014 had 2,105 certificate winners. It adds up to over $5,000 per year just for the CQ WW DX Contest.  That money has to come from somewhere.

The Future

CQ Magazine continues to be a strong supporter of the contest.  The WWROF has been very generous in providing the financial support for the 2013 and 2014 certificates. Unfortunately, this model of free certificates is not sustainable without a source of sponsorship.

There is one easy thing you can do to help. If you don’t want to receive a certificate, you can state that by using the new Cabrillo header tag CERTIFICATE: NO. This will tell us not to send a certificate to you.

I would like to share several options that we are considering.

  • Stop sending paper certificates completely. The web site already allows every participant that submits a log by the deadline to download their own certificate in Adobe pdf format.
  • Only mail certificates to first time winners. This helps keep the excitement of winning a first certificate alive, while dramatically reducing the costs.
  • Offer paper certificates only upon request and for a small fee.  This is more work for us, but provides a method for the certificate winners to help fund the expense.
  • Ask logging software developers to support the CERTIFICATE tag and set it to NO as the default setting.
  • Fold the certificates in half and trim the paper size in order for them to fit in a standard 6″ x 9″ envelope. This offers significant postage rate reduction.
  • Work with WWROF to raise funds to continue the certificate program.

We all understand the challenge of rising costs and limited revenue. Services need to be reduced or new revenue sources discovered. We look forward to your support in whatever path we choose.

Please use the comment area below to share your feedback and ideas.



Jul 15

This story was provided by Doug Grant, K1DG.

In the first CQWW (1948), there were two categories: single-operator, and “more-than-one-operator”. By 1959 it was observed that some of the “more-than-one-operator” stations also had more than one transmitter. In order to separate the two, the categories of multi-multi and multi-single were created.

This worked OK for a long time. The 1971 rules (p. 61, October 1971 CQ) defined the multi-operator categories as follows:

“a. Single Transmitter (only one transmitter and one band permitted during the same time period).

b. Multi Transmitter (no limit to transmitters but only one signal per band permitted)”

The problem was that the “same time period” was not defined. In the 1971 CQWW SSB contest, WB2SQN (now K2SS) exploited that unclear definition and put together an interlocked “octopus” station capable of running on several bands at once and their score was nearly double all the other multi-singles. This was within the rules, but not well received.

The MS rule was changed for the 1972 contest. The new rule (Oct. 1972 CQ, p. 63), actually printed in red with a bar next to it saying “NOTE CHANGE”, read as follows:

“a. Single Transmitter (only one transmitter and one band permitted during the same time period (defined as 10 minutes). Exception: Stations may be worked on different bands during the same time period only if they are new multipliers.”

Yes, they forgot to close the first set of parentheses. But this is the first instance of a 10-minute rule.

The CQWW MS keeps more guys busy. In the modern era, the top handful of stations use interlocked in-band S&P stations on the run band, and mult stations on several bands awaiting their 10-minute shift.  It is a very popular category, even if most stations aren’t able to compete with the mega-MS stations. It is a way for several friends to get together and share one station. Everyone can
find something to do. It is fun.

Historical note: When WB2SQN “blew away” the record, his partner in crime was K2KUR (aka N2AA).  At the time, both of them were members of the CQWWCC (which was vastly smaller back then).  The shack was located in Dave’s bedroom. They could only operate on 2 bands at a time.

Jun 25

Radiosport competition is built on a simple foundation – the expectation that all contacts are made over the air and correctly logged. Since operations are performed from the privacy of our stations and without supervision, we all trust that everyone is playing by the same rules.

In CQ WW CW 2014 the top single operator score of TO7A (operated by Dimitry Stashuk UT5UGR) was disqualified for unclaimed use of assistance (e.g., DX Cluster, RBN, or CW Skimmer). During the public discussion around this disqualification a section of the log on 160 meters was pointed out as being suspicious. Further checking revealed a run of 47 QSOs between 0437 UTC Nov 30 and 0608 UTC Nov 30 that were added to the log when TO7A could not be detected on the air by RBN or SDR recordings. In total, as many as 123 QSOs representing 22 additional multipliers were padded into the log.

The added QSOs had a particular pattern that made it very clear they were done deliberately after the contest to fill in rest or break periods.

A look back into older logs revealed this practice has occurred in other entries submitted by UT5UGR. Many of these were competitive entries including one that holds a continental score record.


SSB Final Score Finish Place
Call Year Category Score QSOs/Zn/Cty Cty Con World Rec Log Padding Found
UT5UGR 2007 SO HP ALL 2,806,695 3,196/128/515 1 18 48 No
TO7A (UT5UGR) 2009 SO HP ALL 6,543,120 5,386/138/459 1 4 10 Yes
TO7A (UT5UGR) 2010 SO HP ALL 8,200,120 6,026/152/468 1 3 11 FM Yes
UT5UGR 2011 SA LP 160M 13,338 283/8/49 1 3 3 UR Yes
UT5UGR 2012 SO HP 160M 43,617 653/10/57 1 3 4 No
UT5UGR 2013 SA HP ALL 77,700 269/56/129 late log
UT5UGR 2014 SO HP 160M 53,406 798/11/58 1 3 3 Yes


CW Final Score Finish Place
Call Year Category Score QSOs/Zn/Cty Cty Con World Rec Log Padding Found
UT5UGR 2007 SO HP ALL 2,764,480 2,767/141/511 2 15 61 No
V31WA (UT5UGR) 2008 SO HP ALL 8,387,400 6,107/140/460 1 3 6 V3 Yes
UT5UGR 2009 SO HP 80M 19,200 258/10/54 4 33 59 No
UT5UGR 2010 SO HP ALL 856,041 1320/88/345 6 71 221 No
TO7A (UT5UGR) 2011 SO HP ALL 11,451,375 6,757/162/563 1 2 7 FM Yes
TO7A (UT5UGR) 2012 SO HP ALL 11,807,340 7,165/165/540 1 1 6 FM Yes
TO7A (UT5UGR) 2013 SO HP ALL 13,765,575 7,916/161/564 1 1 2 NA Yes
TO7A (UT5UGR) 2014 SO HP ALL Disqualified Yes

This violation of the trust that underlies radiosport competition cannot be ignored. The CQ WW Contest Committee is announcing the following actions:

  • All of the UT5UGR entries listed above where log padding was detected will be disqualified and removed from the official score database.
  • For the next five (5) years (July 2015 – July 2020), any entry in the CQ WW, WPX, or CQ 160 Contests by Dimitry Stashuk UT5UGR, or where UT5UGR is listed as a participant, will be reclassified as a Checklog.

New log checking processes are being created to improve detection of log padding. We intend to test these methods against all submitted logs from 2011-2014. If other entries are found to have added unverifiable QSOs, we will address them on a case by case basis.

The CQ WW CC is committed to protecting the integrity of the competition as best we can.  We look for the contesting community to also do the same.


Jun 21

As part of the certificate making process, Barry W5GN creates a list of all of the new records that were set so he can include that information on the certificate. As part of that work, he created a file for each mode that lists all of the new record holders at the zone, country, call area, or continent levels.

For CQ WW SSB 2014 there were 468 new records set.  You can see the list here: SSB2014.468.NEWRECORDS

For CQ WW CW 2014 there were 684 new records. View the list: CW2014.684.NEWRECORDS

The file lists the entry callsign, the record, and an indication of the country+category.

As always, thanks to Barry for his work to print all certificates, place into the envelopes, and deliver to WWROF for mailing. This process takes many hours of his time and personal resources.


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