Thanks for the FB data search and the interesting opinions.
I would like to elaborate on one of your listed reasons, and to add
another, for the big increase in qsos over the years.
First, computer logging and CW sending (and its predecessor of memory keyer
CW sending) has allowed useful CW speeds to nearly double. I recall a
recording made, I believe by K3ZO, of US signals into Thailand during a DX
contest back in the late 60s. More interesting that the signal strength was
slow they were sending!
This is not just because people back then did not know CW. It was because
it's hard to write by hand at much over 25 wpm. Especially if you want to
read it later. And even if you did send 35 wpm, you'd likely end up waiting
as long as the time you saved, waiting for the other guy to stop writing
and start sending.
This effect really hit me a few weeks ago in the NS Ladder Sprint. This is
a 30 minute CW contest where the average speed is up around 40 wpm. I got
on late, didn't have the time or energy to set up the computer, so just
started sending and logging by hand. Sending at that speed requires some
good fine motor control in your fingers; trying to copy by pencil (keeping
up with what was sent as it was sent) was impossible.
Second explanation: Vast improvement in station hardware, in particular
antennas. Back around 1970 a single set of 4 element monobanders up 30
meters, with a rotator to turn it to wherever, was a superstation. 40 meter
beams were rare, and even more rare to be more than 2 elements. Fast forward
to the typical big station today, and those sort of antennas are third tier
antennas, probably the ones fixed on the Caribbean (from the USA).
Add those extra 5-10 db of today's big stacks, and the way those stacks
will lengthen an opening, and I think you have a good explanation of the
score growth over time.
Extra bonus explanation: 160 meters. Not a huge factor, but back in the
70's few modern rigs had 160, and the frequency allocations were tiny,
limited slivers. Much more happens there today!
Here in the USA we have an expression, "You can lead a horse to water, but
you can't make him drink". I think this describes the increase in spotting
information available today. A rare DX station will benefit, but I doubt
that many Europeans will get excited to know that another K8 is available on
73 - Jim K8MR
In a message dated 7/27/2010 7:11:53 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
When one looks at the growth of QSOs during 48 hour contests (notably
maximum QSOs in the CQWW SOAB CW category in the past decades:
50's 1277 QSOs
60's 2623 QSOs
70's 4505 QSOs
80's 5970 QSO
90's 7555 QSOs
00's 7828 QSOs
one has to wonder where have all those extra QSOs have come from.
- The operators have better resources and share more information (more
knowledgeable with propagation and openings, more skillful with SO2R
- The logging software and Computer Generator CW have added extra
when working stations
- The stations (split TX signals) and low band antennas (both RX and TX)
have added extra QSO potential
but If there is one aspect that has impacted Contesting the most, for
good or for bad, in my opinion, it is:
- The development of Packet Cluster network by AK1A in the late 80's and
enhancement it has given to contest operators to be found while CQ'ing on a
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