When looking at Amateur Radio operating awards and the rules that apply to them you will often come across the acronym GCR. GCR stands for General Certification Rules. It defines a method by which the operator can prove to the award manager that they successfully made and confirmed the required contacts for an award.
Traditionally, award applications were mailed to the award manager with a stack of QSL cards. Some of those QSL cards might have been quite difficult to obtain. Who wants to risk losing a rare, irreplaceable, QSL card by sending it through the mail again? No one.
GCR provides a convenient way to apply for an award without the cost and risk associated with mailing QSL cards. Instead, the applicant need merely provide a list of contact information signed by two other Amateur Radio operators. Those signing the application testify that the QSL cards (or some other form of confirmation) for the contacts listed are in the possession of the award applicant.
Each of the contact/QSL entries supplied in a GCR application should contain all of the information one normally would gather from a physical QSL card. This at a minimum includes:
- Date and time (in UTC of course)
- Band or Frequency
Most awards are given out for the achievement of working stations in certain areas of the world so your contact info had better include that award-specific information as well. For example, an application for the Czech S6S award (WAC equivalent) should show the contacted stations’ continents.
When having two Hams sign your GCR application make sure that they provide both their name and callsign. Make sure their callsigns are legible.
Rarely, some awards require that a club official sign a GCR application. An officer from your local Amateur Radio club may suffice but the only way to be sure is to ask them.