Are you interested in contesting? Were you aware there are awards for finding grid squares? Do you know what grid squares are, how they are determined and what your local square is?

Were you aware there is a VHF Contest up and coming on Jan. 19th? That would be a great place to start your hunt!

If you are interested in participating, contact Lewis kd0knl! He will be glad to get you started!

The following links might help you!

Hunting grid squares is common for those who chase satellites, and those who participate in VHF simplex contests.
The Fred Fish Memorial Award was created in honor of Fred Fish, W5FF (SK), who was the first amateur to have worked and confirmed all 488 Maidenhead grid squares in the 48 contiguous United States on 6 Meters. The award will be given to any amateur who can duplicate W5FF’s accomplishment.

One of the first things you will notice when you tune the low end of any VHF band is that most QSOs include an exchange of “grid squares.” What are grid squares? Well, they’re more like rectangles and are just a way of dividing up the surface of the Earth. Grid squares are a shorthand means of describing your general location anywhere on the Earth in a manner that is easy to communicate over the air.

An instrument of the Maidenhead Locator System (named after the town outside London where it was first conceived by a meeting of European VHF managers in 1980), a grid square measures 1° latitude by 2° longitude and measures approximately 70 × 100 miles in the continental US. A grid square is indicated by two letters (the field) and two numbers (the square), as in FN31, the grid square within which W1AW, ARRL’s Maxim Memorial Station, resides.

Each subsquare is designated by the addition of two letters after the grid square, as FN44ig. These more precise locators are used as part of the exchange in the 10-GHz contest. They measure 2.5 minutes latitude by 5 minutes longitude, roughly corresponding to 3 × 4 miles in the continental US.


Use by radio amateurs

Today, individual radio amateurs and organizations around the world recognize and use Maidenhead locators. Maidenhead locators are used as part of the formulas for scoring in many VHF amateur radiocontests. Grid locators are also the basis of earning many awards like the American Radio Relay League’s VHF/UHF Century Club, URE TTLOC, etc. operating award.

In IARU Region 1 rules, VHF distance calculations are carried out between Maidenhead subsquare centers assuming a spherical Earth. This results in a small error in distance, but makes calculations simpler and, given the inherent imprecision in the used input data, it is not the biggest error source.


73 and have fun chasing those squares!

Patti kd0ael