The CQ WW Contest Committee conducted a survey of contesters from September 2 to 29, 2015.  Invitations were sent to everyone who had submitted a log in the 2014 CQ WW SSB and CW events.  Public invitation to take the survey was also made on the cq-contest email reflector.

We received 5,117 responses from contest operators around the world (after removing a few duplicate responses).  See the part 1 for a look at who answered the survey. This blog post will present the results of the questions about possible rule changes.

Q: Should the Single Operator and Single Operator Assisted categories be combined into one Single Operator category?

(The combined Single Operator category would allow ALL entrants to use spotting networks, DX cluster, packet, reverse beacon network, telnet, and DX Skimmer to help the operator find contacts.) *

Many national and regional contests have combined single operators into one category that permits use of the DX Cluster. There is often confusion by new contesters over the distinction between the “non-assisted” and “assisted” categories.  The CQ WW Contest Committee spends a large number of hours each year trying to confirm entries are in the correct category.

The overall majority of respondents support continuing to have two separate categories. This is similar to the response in 2013 when this same question was asked.  (The 2013 survey did not provide an option for no opinion.)

2015 2013
Yes 2117 (41.4%) 2315 (44.9%)
No 2551 (49.8%) 2839 (55.1%)
No opinion 449 (8.7%) n/a
Total 4668 5154

We see a similar pattern when we look at the total responses by contesting interest level.

All Responses to Combine SO+SOA Categories by Interest Level

However, the picture is much different if we look at the response divided by geography.

Europe Responses to Combine SO+SOA Categories by Interest Level
North America Responses to Combine SO+SOA Categories by Interest Level
ROW Responses to Combine SO+SOA Categories by Interest Level

Europeans are more in favor of combining the categories than North America or the Rest of the World (Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America).

Q: If the categories were combined, would you…?

This question is designed to gauge how much impact there would be on activity if the categories were combined.  It appears that most operators would continue to operate the same amount of time.  I.e., very low impact.

Operating Change if Categories Combines

Q: Do you support limiting the operating time of single operator entrants to less than 48 hours?

The CQ WW Contest currently places no limit on the operating time for single operators.  Many of the top operators are able to be on the air for more than 45 of the 48 hours! Only the CLASSIC Overlay category is limited to 24 hours.

This question was designed to determine how broadly the interest in a time limited category might be.

Support Limiting Operating Time for Single Operator

We were surprised at the high level of support for a time limit.

Limiting Operating Time for Single Operator by Continent

It was even more surprising to see that the majority of support was coming from Europe.

survey2-timeby interest
Limiting Operating Time for Single Operator by Interest Level

Even more interesting that it was serious competitors who wanted this change.

Limiting Operating Time for Single Operator by Age

While older ages were more in favor, the results were fairly consistent across all.

When we look at the entries for CQ WW 2015, we see that on SSB, ~90% operate less than 30 hours. On CW, ~90% operate less than 35 hours.  Perhaps the interest in time limits is to remove the need to operate full time to be competitive?  Or simply due to health concerns?

Q: The log deadline is 5 days. Would you support a shorter deadline?

The log deadline was changed to 5 days in 2013 to encourage entrants to immediately submit their log and not spend time trying to correct mistakes after the contest. There have been some examples that indicate an even shorter deadline may be required.  This question was to understand if participants would accept a shorter log deadline.

Support Shorter Log Deadline


Opinion is against changing the deadline even when looking at all interest levels and by continent.

Q: A unique callsign is one that is reported only by one station. Most unique calls are copying errors. Should all QSOs with unique callsigns be removed from the score (with no penalty) during the log checking?

The majority of all responses (54.5%) were in favor of removing unique QSOs from the scoring, 32% were against, with 13.2% expressing no opinion.

Remove Unique QSOs from Scoring

Once again, the Europeans were most in favor of this concept. Asia was also in favor.

Q: Paper certificates are the biggest expense for operating the contest. Electronic certificates are available on the web site. Paper certificates should be…

There is broad support for continuing some level of certificate program with the CQ WW Contest. However, entrants appear to understand the economic issues and were in favor of a program that made certificates available only on request.

Future of Paper Certificates

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. We value your feedback and hope it also helps you better understand the global CQ WW community. Please send any comments about the at:

All graphics by Doug KR2Q.