The CQ World Wide Contest Committee has posted the preliminary results of its September survey of CQ WW participants. The committee received 5117 responses from contesters around the world, the greatest number — nearly 2600 — from Europe. An analysis of the results showed that most survey participants were in the older age brackets and that there were not many youth participants.
“This is especially true when we look at the age distribution in North America,” said the analysis, prepared by Doug Zwiebel, KR2Q. “There is very little survey participation in North America from those under 40 years of age.” More than 900 of the nearly 1500 respondents from North America were at least 60 years old, according to the survey.
CQ said the situation in Europe was “a little more optimistic,” where the age curve trended about 10 years younger overall.
“While the missing young people could be a symptom of the survey methodology, any look around a ham radio club meeting [or] convention reveals similar findings,” the survey commentary said. “Should we be concerned about the future of radiosport (and Amateur Radio)? What can we do to encourage more young people to participate?” it went on to ask.
The CQ WW Contest Committee analysis concluded that older-skewing operators may lead to lower operating times, increased multioperator entries, or eventual less overall activity.
CW was far and away the most popular operating mode, at least among participants aged 40 or older. Nearly 62 percent of those participating in the CQ WW survey indicated they were either serious contesters or part-timers trying for the best score.
“It was very gratifying to receive so many survey responses in such a short time,” the CQ WW Contest Committee said in summary. “The CQ WW community is passionate and engaged — both on the air and in considering the future of the event.” Other summary highlights:
- Europe is the leader for contest activity.
- Contesters are getting older.
- There is a wide range of interest levels.
- CW is the favorite operating mode.
The CQ WW Contest Committee said that a future blog post would discuss the responses to questions related to possible rule changes.