[CQ-Contest] Contesting Extinction

Kenneth E. Harker kenharker at kenharker.com
Wed Oct 4 17:50:54 EDT 2006

On Wed, Oct 04, 2006 at 07:18:01AM -0700, Dennis OConnor wrote:
> Depends on where you are looking... 

This article is now about 1.5 years out of date, but...


...the conclusions for ARRL contests are:

   * HF contests that involve DX activity have shown steady growth in 
     log submissions in the past decade.  The IARU contest, for example,
     had just over 1000 log submissions in 1995, but had grown to over 2000
     log submissions in 2004.

   * HF contests that are exclusively or primarily domestic North American
     affairs have shown flat or slightly declining log submissions during the 
     past decade.  The worst Sweepstakes year was 1999 - CW log submissions 
     have stayed almost flat since then, but phone logs have grown by 40-50%.

   * Every ARRL VHF+ contest except the 10 GHz Cumulative Contest had fewer
     log submissions in 2004 than in 1995.  The ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes
     was the worst hit, with a 33% or so decline in log submissions over that

That's based on log submissions, and just for ARRL contests.  The contest
scores database (http://www.kkn.net/~k5tr/scoredb/) has since been augmented 
with line scores for many additional contests, and we can draw some other 
highlights (see http://www.kkn.net/~k5tr/scoredb/contest_list.php):

  * JIDX CW in 2005 had 662 logs submitted, 57% more than the 181+198
    submitted for the two JIDX CW (low frequency and high frequency) weekends
    in 1994.  JIDX Phone log submissions between 1993 and 2005 have varied 
    from 257 to 453, and in 2005 were on the lower end of that scale at 279.

  * Between 2000 and 2005, the ARI DX Contest grew from 662 logs to 1041 logs,
    a 57% increase.

  * The Stew Perry contest went from 132 logs in 1996 to 357 logs in 2004, 
    a 170% increase.

  * In the past ten years, the BARTG RTTY contests have seen a doubling to 
    _fourfold_ growth in log submissions.

  * WPX CW went from 1309 logs in 1996 to 1736 logs in 2002.  WPX Phone did 
    slightly better, growing from 1580 logs in 1996 to 2395 logs in 2003.
    WPX RTTY blew the others away, growing from just 279 logs in 1996 to 1002 
    logs in 2004.

  * WAEDX CW had 846 logs submitted in 2004, and the WAEDX Phone contest
    had 727 logs in 2004, both the highest ever log totals for that contest.

  * The ETDXA Spring Sprints (VHF+, North America) are in decline, except 
    for the the 222 MHz Sprint.

  * JARL AADX CW has had a higher log submission total every year from 1998 to
    the present.  AADX Phone, on the other hand, is not growing and in 2004 
    actually had the lowest log submission total in seven years.

  * The number of logs submitted to the California QSO Party has been growing,
    but not at the same rate as some other contests.

  * The CQ-M contest had almost three times as many logs submitted in 2005 
    as were submitted in 1995.  Activity in the Russian DX Contest has grown 
    _six-fold_ in the past eight years, from 397 logs in 1997 to 2435 logs 
    in 2005.

    So, I would be inclined to conclude the empircal evidence shows that 
contesting overall is not in decline, and in fact DX contesting, and 
expecially DX contesting on CW, has never been more popular than it is today.

Kenneth E. Harker WM5R
kenharker at kenharker.com

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