Following the publication of the WRTC 2026 Selection Criteria, the WRTC 2026 Organising Committee has received feedback and suggestions for rule amendments from the contesting community. We thank everyone for their input and their continued passion for WRTC. We remained open to the idea that there may be some considerations that had been missed that contesters in a local area could alert us to. Any refinements to the Selection Criteria would be to make the qualification process for WRTC 2026 even more of a fair competition.
After review some suggestions were not considered viable or did not align with real-world data, but others gave potential to improve the competition. Following approval from the WRTC Sanctioning Committee, we are pleased to announce the below changes. With the first qualifying event approaching imminently, we confirm that the Selection Criteria are now finalised and that no further suggestions can be considered.
Summary of Changes
EU #1 – Scandinavia / Baltic Countries
There has been feedback that the Scandinavian countries within EU #1 will be disadvantaged compared with entrants qualifying from the Baltic countries, although the EU #1 area is similar to previous WRTC. Considering the number of top contesters elsewhere in the world, we could not allocate further TL positions to this area. It was also felt that dividing the Qualification Area and allocating a single TL position to Scandinavia and the same for the Baltic country qualifiers was not acceptable.
Instead we wished to find a way to make qualification more equitable, but continue to have two Team Leader (TL) positions available for everyone in the group to chase. As such we are expanding upon the idea of “sub-groups for scoring purposes” that has been established for Africa and parts of South America already.
There will be two sub-groups created within this Qualification Area for scoring purposes. ES, LY and YL will be in one sub-group, and JW, JX, LA, OH, OH0, OJ0, OY, SM, and TF in the other sub-group. Qualifying contest scores in each contest category will be compared against the leader in each sub-group. Contesters will be competing more directly against their local peers for qualification points, with the overall leaders in the wider Qualification Area winning TL positions. There remains no guarantee of a TL position for either sub-group, but it should now be a fairer race.
NA #6 – USA Call Area 7
The NA #6 Qualification Area follows the traditional USA Call Area 7. In previous WRTC the southern states NV / UT / AZ have sometimes been grouped with CA in Call Area 6, but occasionally were allocated 2 TL positions. For the original Selection Criteria, the number of entrants and competitive entrants was more balanced with other USA teams by leaving all of Call Area 7 together, whilst acknowledging the large north / south size of the area.
To better accommodate the propagation differences within NA #6, similar sub-groups will be created. NV, UT and AZ would be grouped into one sub-area. WA, OR, ID, MT, and WY will be grouped into another sub-area for qualification scoring purposes.
NA #1 – USA Call Areas 1-2-3
At previous WRTC there have been a mixture of ways to divide teams in the highly competitive north eastern USA Call Areas 1, 2 and 3, both with potential positives and negatives associated with them. For WRTC 2026 3 TL positions are available for this area overall.
WRTC 2022 put W1 and W2 together in an area. WRTC 2018 had one area for W1, W2 and W3. WRTC 2014 had 1 TL position separately for W1, W2 and W3.
The geography, any propagation difference, and the number of entrants is reduced with a smaller Qualification Area. The reduced number of available TL positions per area however may be a disincentive. To reach a middle ground of not taking away TL opportunities for anyone, but to level any propagation differences, we would also propose use of sub-areas here:
W1 (ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI), W2, (NY, NJ) + 4U1UN, and W3 (PA, DE, MD, DC) will be grouped into three separate sub-areas for scoring purposes.
NA #11 – Western Canada and Alaska
We have received feedback that the NA #11 area containing KL7 and VE will cause difficulties with the ARRL DX contests scoring which is much different between the two.
Checking with representatives from WRTC 2014, 2018 and 2022, KL7 and VE were scored separately for the ARRL DX Contests only with effectively more sub-areas for KL7 and VE. This approach will be continued for WRTC 2026.
But what about “xxxxx” area too ?
Many entrants may feel that similar further sub-division would be appropriate for other areas of the world. Whilst their original use was necessary to help divide large geographical areas with a low population of contesters, much care is needed with a wider application. If there are too few contesters within a sub-region, then it becomes unfairly easier for entrants to score maximum qualification points in contests. This would put the integrity of the qualification process at risk. Having looked at entrant data, this is why further changes have not been proposed.
WRTC 2026 Organising Committee
4th October 2023