What is WAS - Worked All States Award

The Worked All States, WAS Award is an operating award for radio hams issued & managed by the ARRL for making contact with all 50 US states.

Ham radio operating awards includes:
Introduction to ham radio operating awards     DXCC - DX Century Club     WAC, Worked All Continents     WAS, Worked All States     IOTA - Islands On The Air     SOTA - Summits On The Air    

The Worked All States, WAS award is given for stations that can provide evidence of making two way radio communications contacts with other amateur radio station in all 50 of the US states.

The award is sponsored and administered by the ARRL, the US national amateur radio association.

The award represents a significant operating achievement and it is one that requires some perseverance to achieve as not all states have large numbers of radio amateurs. That said, it is not nearly as difficult as some awards.

Worked All States basics

The Worked ALl States, WAS award provides an interesting challenge for amateur radio operators around the globe and including the USA.

Some of the US states are very populated and there are plenty of radio amateurs whoa re active, but others are much less densely populated. Also, some states may be far more distant making them only reachable when the propagation conditions are right.

These aspects make finding these stations far more difficult and hence contacts with these states much harder. Also the competition may also be much stiffer as many other stations may also be wanting to contact them.

These elements mean that WAS can present a good challenge that will enable the station seeking to gain WAS will need to optimise the station as well as gain a good understanding of propagation and operating techniques.

There are 50 states in total, with Alaska and Hawaii being the most recent. Also Washington DC - District of Columbia (not Washington state) counts as Maryland.

The WAS award actually predates DXCC, being launched in January 1936. The rules state that contacts since this date are still valid.

However, both Alaska and Hawaii gained statehood after WAS was inaugurated. Accordingly contacts with stations in Alaska are only counted if they were made after January 3, 1959. Similarly contacts with stations in Hawaii are only applicable for contacts after August 21, 1959.

Also, stations may move location slightly while they are working towards the award. An operator is allowed to move up to 50 miles away from the original location for all contacts to remain valid.

Applying for the award

WAS is open to all licensed radio amateurs around the globe. However any US station applying for the award must be a member of the ARRL, but stations outside the USA do not need to be members.

Verification of the contacts can be from physical QSL cards that must be submitted for checking, or via the ARRL's Logbook of The World, LoTW.

There is also a fee due for the award. The details of the latest costs can be found int he link below.

WAS variations and endorsements

Endorsements can be gained for a number of different categories:

  • CW
  • US Novice class
  • QRP
  • Packet
  • EME (Earth Moon Earth or Moonbounce propagation)
  • Single amateur band operation - band needs to be stated
  • Specific digital modes e.g. PSK31, JT65, Olivia

It is also possible to gain a 5 Band WAS award. 5BWAS is gained by contacting all 50 states on each of the traditional amateur bands: 80 metres, 40 metres, 20 metres, 15 metres, 10 metres.

There are no additional endorsements available with 5BWAS.

WAS, Worked All States is another interesting award which can be worked towards. It presents some interesting challenges for amateur radio stations and it is very popular with many DX'ers. It is one of the main operating awards that leading DX'ers ensure they complete.

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