USA to Host 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship
In 1986, Ted Turner -- in reaction to the political troubles surrounding the Olympic Games of the 1980s -- created an international sports competition that he called the Goodwill Games. The first Games were held in Moscow with more than 3000 athletes from 79 countries competing. Four years later, the Games moved to Seattle, Washington and it was at those Games that the first-ever World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) happened.
Besides athletics, the Goodwill Games focused on areas of cultural exchange, arts and other unique subjects, one of these being Amateur Radio -- and WRTC was born. Radio amateurs from around the world gathered in Seattle for an Olympic-style event, joining in competition and camaraderie. In 1996, WRTC moved to San Francisco, then Slovenia in 2000, Finland in 2002, Brazil in 2006 and Russia in 2010. Now 18 years later, WRTC returns to the USA.
After the success of the 2010 WRTC in Russia, two groups -- one from the New England in the US and one from Bulgaria -- put forward their proposals to host the next WRTC in 2014. In a letter sent to both groups in early September, WRTC Sanctioning Committee Chairman Tine Brajnik, S50A, proclaimed that the US had won the bid to host the next WRTC: “All members of the WRTC Sanctioning Committee were convinced that either of your groups would provide competent and trustworthy sponsorship. Making the decision to award the organization of WRTC 2014 was very difficult. After studying and discussing your proposals, and with all members of the Committee expressing their concerns and opinions, the decision was made to grant the organization of WRTC 2014 to New England, USA.”
Unlike in previous WRTCs -- where established clubs or IARU Member-Societies were the sponsoring organization -- the 2014 event is led by two individuals: Doug Grant, K1DG, and Randy Thompson, K5ZD; a group of 10 directors and approximately 50 volunteers are also on the organizing committee.
Grant and Thompson are no strangers to WRTC: Grant has competed in every WRTC (except for 2010), winning the 1990 event and placing third in 2000, 19th in 2002 and third in 2006 -- all with his partner John Dorr, K1AR (except for 2006 when Grant partnered with Andy Blank, N2NT). Thompson, who has had a different partner for each of the WRTCs in which he has competed -- placed 6th in 1996, 12th in 2000, 7th in 2002, 10th in 2006 and 5th in 2010.
Calling it “a great honor” to host the 2014 event, Grant said thanked the WRTC Sanctioning Committee for awarding the hosting rights to the New England USA team: “We will work hard to make the event enjoyable and memorable for everyone involved. The Russian group that hosted WRTC 2010 this year set a new standard for competition fairness and we hope to follow in their path of continuous improvement.” He told the ARRL that the WRTC 2014 Organizing Committee is currently working on finalizing the criteria for team selection and is in the process of completing the incorporation process. A Web site has been launched and an e-mail reflector is also on the way.
“One issue that has been raised by several people is whether the upcoming 2010 CQ World Wide SSB and CW contests will count as qualifying events,” Grant said. “The answer is YES! CQ WW is the biggest contest with the most participation and the most competition. It will carry the same level of importance in team selection as it did for WRTC 2010. Category factors will be similar to those used for WRTC 2010 (such as single-operator scores being weighted higher than multi-op scores). The full team selection details, including point values for each contest, category factors, number of teams per continent and such, are still in development but will probably end up very similar to the WRTC 2010 rules -- which were very similar to the WRTC 2006 rules.” Grant promised that the rules will be announced as soon as they are finalized.
“The New England WRTC 2014 Organizing Committee is a newly formed independent organization, and not part of any existing organization, national society or club,” Grant explained. “We are counting on a lot of volunteers to help us with their talents and resources, primarily in the New England region (W1 call area, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). We welcome financial support from contesters and clubs worldwide, and have some interesting sponsorship programs planned. Stay tuned!”