The 2021 CQ WW WPX RTTY, SSB and CW contests will introduce two significant rule changes. The first ia new a new Multi-Transmitter Distributed category.  The second is that QSO alerting systems (cluster spotting) will be permitted for all single operator categories.

Multi-Transmitter Distributed

Stations operating in this category may have a maximum of six transmitted signals, one per band at any one time, from stations in different locations.  All equipment, including remotely-controlled equipment, must be located in same DXCC entity and CQ Zone.  Six bands may be activated simultaneously.   This is a new, stand-alone category.  It is not intended to replace, or compete with, other multi-operator categories.

QSO Alerting for Single Operators

QSO alerting systems will now be permitted in all CQ WW WPX SSB and CW Single Operator categories, except the Single Operator Classic Overlay categories.  This change also results in elimination of the requirement for audio recordings.  The drivers for combining the Single Op Assisted and Unassisted categories include:

  • Use of QSO alerting systems by single operator participants is allowed in 70% (33 or 47) of the international DX contests recently reviewed, including CQ WPX RTTY
  • It is becoming increasingly more difficult to draw the line between assisted and unassisted operations as SDR technologies become more integrated with contest software / networks
  • This step further aligns CQ WW WPX SSB / CW with CQ WW WPX RTTY.  The use of QSO alerting systems in CQ WW WPX RTTY has been permitted since the mid-1990’s

The Single Operator Classic Overlay categories will continue to prohibit the use of QSO alerting systems and should be considered by participants preferring to be unassisted.  Also, the maximum operating time for Single Operator Classic Overlay participants has been reduced from 36 to 24 hours.  Further, the Multi-Operator Single Transmitter High and Low Power Classic Overlay categories have been removed from the rules.

The full rules for CQ WW WPX SSB and CW 2021 will be posted on the CQ website <> and the CQ WW WPX Contest website <> in early 2021.