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September’s US Route 66 On the Air Special Event Marks 19th Year


The 19th annual Route 66 On the Air special event, celebrating the storied highway between the west coast and the US heartland, gets under way on September 8 and continues until September 16. The Citrus Belt Amateur Radio Club (CBARC) of San Bernardino, California, sponsors the event, which will feature 21 stations — including two rovers — operating from sites along or near the path of US Route 66. Sporting W6-prefix 2 × 1 call signs, the stations will be active on CW, SSB, and digital modes, as well as some VHF and UHF repeater operation.

Through story, song, film, and television, the highway — also known as “The Will Rogers Highway” and “The Mother Road” — came to symbolize the spirit of the freedom of the open road, inspiring many to see America. Stretching nearly 2,500 miles from California to eastern Illinois, US Route 66 was established in the mid-1920s. After it had been replaced piecemeal by the Interstate Highway System, it was formally removed from the US Highway System in 1985, although segments of the highway now have been designated a National Scenic Byway — Historic Route 66.

The US National Park Service says Route 66 “holds a special place in American consciousness and evokes images of simpler times, mom-and-pop businesses, and the icons of a mobile nation on the road.” NPS includes the roadway in its “Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary.”

Started by the Northern Arizona DX Association, the US Route 66 Special Event offered a way for radio amateurs to “relive the ride,” CBARC said on its website. CBARC assumed sponsorship of the event a couple years after the inaugural running, and it has become a staple of the September special event schedule.

Several Amateur Radio clubs will participate in making the event a reality by sponsoring stations set up along the original US Route 66 or in cities nearby. Listen for W6A – W6U during the event period.

CW operation will center on or near 3.533, 7.033, 10.110, 14.033, 18.080, 21.033, 24.900, 28.033, and 50.033 MHz. SSB operation will focus on or around 3.866, 7.266, 14.266, 18.164, 21.366, 24.966, 28.466, and 50.166 MHz. For digital modes, look for Route 66 stations around 3.580, 7.070, 10.140, 14.070, 18.100, 21.070, 24.920, and 28.120 MHz. Commemorative QSL cards and certificates will be available.