Monday, November 13, 2017

Big shoes to fill!

After a "year off" the ARRL announced in the December issue of QST, it's newest operating event.

The 2018 ARRL International Grid Chase follows on the heels of the successful Centennial operating event and the even more successful National Parks On The Air operating event.

The idea is work as many different Maindenhead grid squares as you can, on any band (expect for 60 Meters) using any mode. Contacts made through satellites will count; but contacts made through earthbound repeaters will not.

So how will all these contacts be kept track of?  Through Logbook Of The World, of course! So it is imperative that you have an LOTW account as well as the station you are working. When you both upload your logs to LOTW; and you get a match, you get credit for a valid QSO for the ARRL IGC.

While total cumulative results will be posted at the end of the year, the clock will "reset" so to speak, at the beginning of each month. So each month of 2018 will be like a new operating event; or competition. (I hate to use the word "contest", as we all know that contests are forbidden on the WARC bands.)

Should you not know your Maidenhead Grid Square locator, it's easy to find out. You can either look yourself up on, or go to What's interesting about these two methods is that you might get different results. QRZ tells me that my grid square is FN20to and Levine Central tells me that it's FN20so.  No matter ...... for the purposes of the ARRL IGC, you'll only need the first four places.  In addition, exchanging the grid square during the QSO is not required. LOTW will keep track of that.  I suppose that for those who will go out and activate rare grids, there will be some provision made for identifying what grid square was operated from when uploading contacts into LOTW.

Will this be as successful as the last two events?  That remains to be seen. The Centennial Event was huge success and NPOTA was a monster success. In any event, kudos to the ARRL for continuing to come up with ideas to keep Amateur Radio life a little on the spicier side.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. Thanks for pointing out a difference in the grid squares you noted above. I did some investigation and found the cause being Google interpreting the South in South Plainfield to be part of the street address vs the town and giving me a lat/long based on that info. I create an address from the QRZ fields when a call sign is provided and send that to Google and that tripped it up. I made an adjustment to add commas between the fields (address, city, state, zip, country) and it seems to better handle your case now and hopefully not trip up anything else.

    Thanks again for pointing this out.

    David - K2DSL

  2. Tom AJ4UQ5:51 PM

    There's also the map-based grid locator:

    In LOTW you get prompted for any locator information you need (State, County, Park, Grid, etc) when creating a new location profile. That's another reason to use LOTW over some other online cards; I don't know how to specify the location of the QSO in them (don't want someone taking credit for SC when I'm operating in VA).