W2ZQ in the ARRL International Digital Contest

ARRL has added a new event to its annual lineup of radio contests.  Scheduled for the first full weekend in June, this year’s event will be on June 4 and 5, Saturday afternoon at 2 PM through 8 PM Sunday.  W2ZQ will be active as a Multi-Operator contest entry, and all club members are welcome at the shack as operators or observers.

Rules for this contest have several interesting twists.  Available bands are 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, and 6 meters, and any station may work any other station once per band.  Any digital mode is OK, except no traditional RTTY.  The contest exchange is your 4-character grid locator, FN20 for W2ZQ.  Unusual for major HF contests, there are no scoring “multipliers”.  Instead, scoring is one point for a QSO in your own locator, plus an additional point for every 500 km of distance or portion thereof.   There is no High Power category: entry classes are Low Power (100 W or less) and QRP (5 W or less).

At W2ZQ, we’ll be using digital modes FT4 and FT8 and a special, not-yet-public version of software package WSJT-X with features particularly optimized for this contest.  The best scoring opportunities will likely be on 10, 15, and 20 meters during daytime and 40 meters at night.

A Google Doc signup sheet for operating W2ZQ in the contest is posted here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tVq_psjGc0MPRjH-0dVhMZHonmVK5ELzx6qj3g-YvQo/edit?usp=sharing

Additional operators/observers are welcome to stop by, even if you haven’t signed up in advance.

Other details about the contest and some operating hints are posted here:

The full contest rules are available here:


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