[CQ-Contest] King of What?

James Cain jamesdavidcain at gmail.com
Tue Jul 27 19:20:49 PDT 2010

CT1BOH wrote: "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."

Here's where they came from:

60s: Baby Boomer operators as teen-agers, electronic keyers
70s: Baby Boomers in their 20s, memory keyers
80s: Baby Boomers in their 30s, PCs and first logging/operating software (late in the decade)
90s: Baby Boomers in their 40s, auto tune transceivers
00s: Baby Boomers in their 50s, by-pass surgery and stents (haha only kidding, maybe)

See a pattern?

People can denigrate us Baby Boomers all they want, but when it comes to ham radio contesting we are what drove those QSO totals Jose cites, thanks not only to our numbers but also to the unique time in which we grew up. If it hadn't been for Sputnik and the so-called "missile gap" (which was bogus) would I be a ham? I don't know. Probably. 

Some have annointed a certain 16-year-old K0 as "the future of contesting." In the mid-1960s there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of us in the U.S. alone who were a lot like him. Call it the Contester Boom. In those days your contest log would be filled with WA and WB call signs -- kids with a DX-60 and a couple of dipoles. We still show up in your log today, with our 1X2 call signs which we now have had for more than 30 years. But, we left a vacuum in our wake. 

How many 6-character call signs show up in a modest contest log today? Not many. 

2010s: ???? QSOs
2020s: ???? QSOs
2030s: ???? QSOs

Jim Cain
At The K1TN Superstation
Atlantic City

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