[CQ-Contest] IARU HF zones

David Gilbert xdavid at cis-broadband.com
Wed Jul 7 17:38:45 PDT 2010

First off, I was wrong (also rather rude) to criticize Joe for not 
sending the "normal" zone for Wisconsin and I apologize for that.  I 
didn't realize it then, but there are several instances where ITU zone 
borders don't match at all with state boundaries.  I was wrong, period.  
The feedback I have gotten thus far from the ARRL says that I should 
adhere to the official ITU boundaries.

In my case, the ITU zone boundary does not even match the U.S./Mexico 
country border.  See 

The reason this topic has a familiar ring to it is because it surfaces 
over and over again without a firm resolution.  I can find comments well 
over ten years old on various web sites that question just what a 
participant should use in any ham radio contest that calls out ITU 
zones.  Here are three links that all originate from the  ARRL that all 
say a different thing:

1. The July 7, 2010  ARRL Contest Update suggests that IARU participants 
might consider the RSGB ITU zone list at 
http://www.rsgb.org/spectrumforum/hf/hfawards/witu.php , which simply 
specifies that all of Arizona is in ITU zone 6

2. However, the June 10, 2010 version of the ARRL Contest Update 
references a link provided by K1DG that is the same official ITU map 
that I referenced above, clearly showing the southern Arizona border 
region to be in zone 10.

3. The archived ARRL link identified by N4OGW/5 ( 
) just a few reflector posts ago shows a different zone for Arizona 
depending upon whether the station is east or west of longitude 110 but 
says nothing about the southern border region.

Contrary to your comments, the situation is not as simple as just 
copying what is sent.  It also applies to sending the proper zone; 
otherwise people could just pick one of their own choice.  I should be 
held accountable for adhering to the rules and sending my proper zone 
designator, or risk disqualification if I don't.  The rules very plainly 
tell me to use the official ITU zone boundaries and that puts me in zone 
10, but nobody ... even the ARRL ...expects me to actually use zone 10 
in my exchange.  Do I use zone 10 for the potential advantage it gives 
me within the rules, or do I take the safe route by (ironically) 
disobeying the rules and use zone 6?

I just find all of this to be needless ambiguity, and for me a bit 
frustrating that nobody is willing to make an official declaration on 
the issue after all these years.  I'm pretty sure if I checked carefully 
(more carefully than I did before shooting off my mouth about WB9SBD) 
that I could find similar situations elsewhere, including internationally.

Dave   AB7E

On 7/7/2010 2:37 PM, Ron Notarius W3WN wrote:
> How do you know what someone is supposed to send?  Seriously?
> That issue aside... and frankly, I agree that you copy what was sent, even
> if it disagrees with what you (or the computer logging program) thinks
> should have been sent in the borderline cases...
> This has a familiar ring to it.  IIRC, somewhere (I don't recall if it was
> on this reflector or elsewhere offhand) it was pointed out that the "ITU"
> zones used in the IARU contest don't precisely correspond to the official
> ITU zone maps but have been adjusted to take state/province/country lines
> into account.
> Regardless... if someone sends me Zone 10, I copy Zone 10 regardless of what
> the logging database thinks.  And I'm not going to waste time arguing.
> There may be a good reason for that being sent, there may not, but the rules
> say you copy what was sent... not what the logging software was
> preprogrammed to expect.  Period.
> 73, ron w3wn
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of David Gilbert
> Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 1:38 PM
> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] IARU HF zones
> I don't believe that the precise ITU zone borders are what the contest
> sponsors expect you to use.  If they were, I would be in zone 10, not
> zone 6.  Besides, how could anyone actually know what zone they are in
> if they were close to a line that didn't follow a political border?
> I've seen some pretty detailed official ITU zone maps but I still can't
> determine exactly where the dividing line is as it crosses southern
> Arizona.  Even if I could find the coordinates for the endpoints of the
> ITU boundary lines, I'd have to calculate the coordinates for any other
> point on the line.  I seriously doubt anyone expects us to do that.
> Yes, we all should copy what is sent, but when someone doesn't send what
> they are supposed to it creates needless confusion.  In my opinion, you
> needlessly bring that lost QSO rate upon yourself.
> I've sent an email to KX9X asking him to clarify this issue for the
> upcoming IARU contest and maybe he will reply.
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
> On 7/7/2010 6:22 AM, Joe wrote:
>> But since 1977  I'm now in Wisconsin,  But in Zone 7!  But many assume
>> being a 9 land Call and in Wisconsin, MANY assume that the border is the
>> state line, and it is not!  I bet I easily in this contest loose a 10%
>> QSO rate confirming that I'm in 07 NOT 08.  Grrrrr,
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