Ham Radio Operating Event Spotlight: Route 66 On The Air

How many people enjoy the 13 Colonies special event? It seems like the number grows every year! The organizers sure have their work cut out for them. If you are itching for more events like this, have you ever heard of Route 66 On The Air?

Here’s some background on “The Mother Road” as told by Route 66 On The Air host, the Citrus Belt Amateur Radio Club in San Bernardino, California, W6JBT:

“U.S. Highway 66 was established in 1926. It was the first major

improvement to link the West Coast with the nation’s heartland. Through stories, songs and TV shows, the highway came to symbolize the spirit of the freedom of the open road, inspiring many to see America. However, the demise of Route 66 began in the 1950s as the U.S. began its interstate highway system, and the highway was officially decommissioned in 1986. Today, small portions of U.S. Highway 66 still exist in towns and rural areas in several states.”

The 2023 Route 66 On The Air event will run from September 9, 0001 UTC to September 17, 2359 UTC. This is the 23rd year of this event, which was originally hosted by the Northern Arizona DX Association. It allows amateur radio operators to relive the heyday of Route 66 travel by tracing the road’s steps and celebrating the old highway’s rich history in making the U.S. what it is today, per the W6JBT website.

Amateur radio clubs operate from cities on or near the route—which stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica—using special 1×1 callsigns. Hundreds of operators will be trying to contact as many radio operators as possible using CW, SSB, and FT8 on 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, 10, and 6 meters. Now the country is flipped as operators on the West Coast will have both the advantages and the disappointments that the East Coast has during the 13 Colonies event.

Like 13 Colonies, Route 66 On The Air awards a certificate showing which stations were contacted as well as individual QSL cards for the 1×1 stations. Route 66 On The Air also has a very nice decal for purchase. The host club also gives permission to KB3IFH QSL Cards to sell Route 66 On The Air commemorative coffee mugs and other items.

According to W6JBT, the 2023 Route 66 On The Air participating clubs are:

  • W6A: Santa Monica, CA, Westside Amateur Radio Club
  • W6B: Los Angeles, CA, Westside Amateur Radio Club
  • W6C: San Bernardino, CA, Citrus Belt Amateur Radio Club
  • W6D: Victorville, CA, Victor Valley Amateur Radio Club
  • W6E: Barstow, CA, Barstow Amateur Radio Club
  • W6F: Kingman, AZ, Hualapai Amateur Radio Club
  • W6G: Flagstaff, AZ, Northern Arizona DX Association
  • W6H: Albuquerque, NM, Albuquerque DX Association
  • W6I: Amarillo, TX, Panhandle Amateur Radio Club
  • W6J: Elk City, OK, West Central Oklahoma Amateur Radio Club
  • W6K: Oklahoma City, OK, Oklahoma City Autopatch Association
  • W6L: Tulsa, OK, Tulsa Amateur Radio Club
  • W6M: Tribune, KS, Western Kansas Amateur Radio Club
  • W6N: Joplin, MO, Joplin Amateur Radio Club
  • W6O: Lebanon, MO, Lebanon Amateur Radio Club (on hold at this time)
  • W6P: St. Louis, MO, St. Louis Amateur Radio Club
  • W6Q: Chicago, IL, Six Meter Club of Chicago
  • W6R: Springfield, MO, Southwest Missouri Amateur Radio Club
  • W6S: Rover 1, Northern Arizona DX Association
  • W6T:  Rover 2, Northern Arizona DX Association
  • W6U: Wilmington, IL, Wilmington Area Amateur Radio Club
  • W6W: Info coming soon

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at

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