[CQ-Contest] CW Sweepstakes Then and Now (Long)

Warren C. Stankiewicz nf1j at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 28 01:16:16 EDT 2008

Nice job, Hal, but I'm not sure I *completely* agree with your methodology.

For one thing, the true indicator of activity in SS (although the ARRL
itself never looks at it that way) is the QSO counts; however, this is
fascinating when comparing the two years in question--only 200 or so more
QSOs in 2007 on CW than the top op in 1958.

On the other hand, though, the sunspot numbers for SS in 1958 were around
60. The numbers last year were less than half that. When conditions suck,
fewer people operate, and fewer "weak" stations are going to make contacts. 

A quick glance at phone results from last year shows QSO numbers about 2000.
Don't hold me to this (I don't have time to look it up at the moment), but
that's down about a third from the peak numbers of the last cycle.

When you look at activity by SS check (which I did once, long ago, and
someone ought to do again) (hear that, Sean?), you can see that SS
participation peaks in peak sunspot years. This is not surprising, and would
especially seem true on phone when 10 is open, and you "don't need much" to
work a bunch of people.

Of course, the key to winning this, or any other contest, is how many more
of those kinds of ops can you work than the other guy does. Release the

I remember 20 years ago, when many felt SS was a dead contest, and should go
the way of the dodo bird. A lot of work has been done since then to bring it
alive. I feel gratified to have been associated with some of it. It's still
my favorite contest. 

I hope to see you all this weekend! 


Warren, NF1J

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