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!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “Big shoes to fill!”

  • Mike WV2ZOW:

    Larry: The same error you have (so vs to) can happen at 4 digit boundaries. That is because the programs you specified use estimates of your location based on your address. I suggest using a program that lets you find your location on a map and then click on it. Such a program is This one will go to 10 digits. Just use the first four. –Mike, WV2ZOW

  • Bob KR9Z:

    I had a account but never used it…Now I cant seem to login no matter what I do.
    Guess I have to start over and get new account.
    Thanks Larry W2LJ

  • Don N4KC:

    At first blush, I was not all that excited about trying to work a bunch of grid squares. But then I remembered that I was not all that crazy about working League appointees and officials for the Centennial. Until I got into it, then it became both a ton of fun and downright addictive.

    Same with NPOTA. Lukewarm at the start but once I had a few in the log and started checking the scoreboard, I was hooked. Maybe “obsessed” is a better word.

    Betcha it will be the same with IGC. And though I have heard some grousing already, I’m with you, Larry, in saluting the League for coming up with another operating event that will probably have me up late many nights trying to work that rare grid square somewhere. And already contemplating locating some under-hammed grid square within reasonable driving distance that I could put on the air.


    Don N4KC

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    LoTW sucks and the ARRL does not want to fix it. This event, I believe is to get more people away from eQSL and into LoTW. It might work, assuming new people can even set up a account. Took me 3 tries over a 5 yr period before I got my account working. I have 45+ yrs dealing with computers softeware, so it should have taken only a few minutes.

    I also find LoTW hard to get around. Common things that need to be done are not straight forward and obvious. That said, I do use it and got a DXCC and WAS and have at least two more awards waiting. This brings up the second issue is awards cost $$$, where as eQSL after a very small donation will give you as many awards as you can create free and all you have to do is download them and print them on photo paper.. Joining LoTW free, but “wall paper” can get real expensive really fast.

    I think this will be a interesting event, but not as active as the parks one. That was a really cool one. This one…I am open to see how it works out. I still think it is more for pushing LoTW, but we will see over time what the truth is. One group that might love it is the VHF/UHF rovers.. I just don’t see that many HF rovers, since that is not their thing… Again I could be wrong.. Time will tell.

    Just my 2 cents..

    73 Harry K7ZOV

  • Lowell NE4EB:

    I think Harry has it right. Seems to be designed to drive use of LoTW which is quite clumsy to use. The program needs some major tweaks to make it easier to use. I gave up over a year ago.

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