Qualification Rules Questions and Answers
These Questions and Answers aim to give some background to what influenced details in the Qualification Rules for WRTC 2026.
Q1: Why is WRTC happening in 2026? That’s only 3 years after the Italian WRTC!
Just like the Olympic Games, WRTC has settled into a 4-year cycle with a few years of qualifying events, allowing some time for results to be announced and WRTC applications to be made. The worldwide Covid 19 pandemic delayed WRTC 2022 by one year. The WRTC Sanctioning Committee preferred that the subsequent WRTC be held in 2026. With a reduced period of qualifying events, there will be enough time to identify successful WRTC qualifying entrants and allow them enough time for preparation and making travel plans ahead of the event in July 2026.
Q2: How did you prepare these Qualification Rules?
The WRTC 2026 Organising Committee includes 3 past WRTC competitors and 1 referee. All members of the OC are passionate about WRTC and have followed previous events closely. Comments, suggestions and feedback made on previous WRTC email groups, contest forums such as CQ-CONTEST, and different social media platforms have all been carefully considered. Several suggestions have been received by the Organising Committee directly. We have taken on feedback from the organisers of previous WRTC who form the WRTC Sanctioning Committee. We believe that as an established event, there should not be significant change in how WRTC qualification (or the WRTC contest itself) works. However, where data, evidence and a consensus of opinion guide us, rule changes have been made. These changes aim to be evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Q3: Why have you chosen these qualifying events?
Recent WRTCs have had a 2 year (or greater) qualifying period, and up to 12 qualifying scores would count from a total number of between 24 and 55 qualifying events. In order to be ready for July 2026, we have decided to reduce the traditional qualification period to start in October 2023 and end in March 2025. From our own experience we recognise that doing well in major international contests requires significant commitment (time, energy, money, family goodwill etc.), so the number of qualifying events, and the minimum number of qualifying entries needed has been reduced compared with previous WRTC qualification periods.
We believe the decision for a minimum of 8 qualifying scores from 15 qualifying events over a ~16 month period is feasible. If entering both CQ WW DX qualifying contests in October / November 2023, and both ARRL International DX events in February / March 2025 as many entrants would ordinarily do anyway, they would need a minimum of just 4 entries during the main 2024 qualification period.
The results from the final qualification event ARRL International DX SSB 2025 should be published in August 2025. This will give enough time to identify Team Leaders and Eligible Team mates, and allow the successful TLs and TMs approximately 9 months to prepare and make travel arrangements to the UK.
The qualifying events chosen represent a good selection of International DX Contests supported worldwide. Analysis of other events, including regional / domestic contests used in some earlier WRTC qualifying in some countries did not conclude they would alter who would qualify as WRTC entrants.
Suggestions for some other contests were analysed but discounted where their points or multiplier rules would benefit some entrants in a Qualification Area unfairly.
Q4: Why are there only 42 qualifying teams, and around 50 teams overall?
The WRTC 2026 Organising Committee concluded that the event can support around 50 teams overall, considering logistics, finances and volunteer availability. This is a reduction from recent WRTC and we understand that competition for Team Leader positions will be high.
We greatly value the support given from sponsored / donor teams – without their contributions WRTC may not take place. Although we recognise many world class contesters in the list of previous sponsored team entrants, WRTC 2026 would like to maximise the number of teams entering the event via the qualification process. Hence the number of sponsored teams is reduced compared with previous WRTC. The final number of sponsored teams and overall teams may change as fundraising and preparation progresses.
We will maintain the tradition of inviting previous WRTC Champions to the event. Youth teams have become an important part of WRTC, although we recognise the need to balance the number of qualifying teams and youth teams appropriately for our Olympic Games event of amateur radio contesting.
To offset the challenging qualification criteria the WRTC 2026 Organising Committee will award at least one Wild Card entry to whom they consider the most deserving entrant(s) just missing out on selection in the qualifying process.
Q5: How have the Qualification Areas and number of teams per Qualifying Area been selected?
The number and definition of Qualification Areas has changed at each WRTC. The aim is to be as fair as possible in having contesters in regional geographic areas compete against each other. With a limited number of teams, it is impossible to be completely fair as we recognise that propagation and potential contest scores can change significantly over just a few hundred kilometres.
For WRTC 2026, we began looking at the team distribution over the last 5 WRTC, and set target figures for the teams for each continent so we can maintain a worldwide geographic representation. Next, we looked at the number of entrants, and also the scores from each DXCC entity in major worldwide contests to confirm the demand or competitiveness for WRTC Team Leader positions.
We also considered the evolution of qualifying areas from previous WRTCs. Multiple teams per qualification area are allocated to help balance the “number of potential entrants per qualifying area” as much as possible. The WRTC 2026 Organising Committee wished to guarantee a qualifying entry from the UK as is their prerogative, so a UK Qualification Area was created.
Some qualification areas are larger or changed compared with previous WRTC. Many different combinations have been assessed. We have re-introduced the idea of sub-dividing large qualification areas with low contest activity for qualification scoring purposes.
Q6: Please explain the rationale for the Contest Category Weightings
The intent of the Contest Category weightings is to improve fairness. Where an entrant is a member of a multi-operator entry, naturally their individual contribution to a qualifying score is a fraction of the overall effort. Hence the weightings reflect that compared with a Single Operator entry.
We recognise it can seem strange that the WRTC competition itself is a multi-operator two transmitter Low Power (100 watt) contest, yet very little of the qualification occurs with this type of operating. We do not wish to disrupt operating preferences for HF contesting during the qualification process with preferential weightings for Low Power entries for all events. The growth and progression during most contesting careers is towards the High Power categories.
However, we wish to promote and acknowledge WRTC style operating using the recent introduction of a multi-two low power category in the IARU HF Championship, and have a weighting of 1.0 (and 1000 WRTC qualification points available) for this contest specifically.
We see that there are many different opinions regarding the fair weighting for Single Operator High Power vs Low Power, and Unassisted vs Assisted. Using data rather than opinion as much as possible to drive decisions, we can see that for major contests the top scores within the different Single Operator Power and Assisted categories are similar to each other. We value the scores made, and how close those top scores are to each other, more than the total number of entries in a category to determine ‘competitiveness.’
Looking at historic contest entry data, and reflecting the weighting decisions made in earlier WRTC, for WRTC 2026 the Single Operator Low Power and Single Operator Low Power Assisted weighting will be raised by 0.05 compared with WRTC 2022.
Q7: What about contests with no separate Assisted / Unassisted categories?
Where contests are no longer differentiating between Assisted and Unassisted entries (currently CQ WPX), upon review a weighting of 1.0 for HP entrants (and 0.95 for LP entrants) has been determined to be most appropriate.
Q8: In the build up to WRTC 2022 there was a lot of discourse about entrants from Russia and Belarus. What is the opinion of the WRTC 2026 OC?
The WRTC 2026 Organising Committee have looked to the International Olympic Committee and will follow their guidelines, rather than form a bespoke opinion as a small group. The IOC is well respected and has a far greater breadth of understanding in these matters.
Based on the IOC guidelines, the WRTC 2026 OC will, whilst the internationally recognised conflict continues, affirm solidarity with Ukrainian entrants and support their qualification and entry into the event. Entrants from Russia and Belarus can complete the qualification process – they are included as eligible countries with Qualification Areas defined for them in the qualification rules. The rules for the WRTC contest itself in July 2026 when published will specify if competitors from Russia and Belarus will enter as Neutral Entrants, with restrictions on national flags and anthems. WRTC 2026 expects good sportsmanship and professionalism from all competitors.
Q9: At a glance many of the rules are the same as for previous WRTCs. What changes would you highlight or summarise?
- 42 qualifying teams across 30 Qualification Areas.
- Additionally, the previous Champions, 4 Youth Teams, at least 2 sponsored teams, and at least 1 wild card team will be invited.
- 15 qualifying events between October 2023 and March 2025, with the 8 best scores counting.
- Reduction in number of qualifying events.
- Design of Qualification Areas amended as per the table in section 3 of the rules.
- WRTC qualification points for IARU HF Championship increased from 950 to 1000.
- WRTC qualification points for WAE DX Contests reduced from 1000 to 900.
- Raising of SO LP weighting to 0.95, and SOA LP weighting to 0.9.
- Addition of MS LP qualification category.
- Addition of M2 LP qualification category for IARU HF Championship.
- Weighting exception for Low Power entries from countries where High Power entries are not possible.
- A maximum of 3 scores may be counted from multi-operator entries.
- A maximum of 3 scores may be counted from outside an entrant’s home Qualification Area.
- A maximum of 4 operators may submit scores for a single contest from a MS, 6 from a M2, and 8 from a MM.
- A Team Mate’s qualifying score must be at least 3000 points.
- Youth Team entrants must be under age 26 at WRTC 2026 (July 11th 2026)
Feedback or questions? Please email [email protected]
There is a public email reflector for WRTC 2026 discussion at https://groups.io/g/wrtc2026-discuss
22nd August 2023