CQ WW SSB 2015 logs

The logs for the 2015 running of the CQ WW SSB contest are now available from CQ.

As usual, I have created a compressed file that contains all the cleaned QSO lines from the Cabrillo files from all the logs for all the years for which data are available. As the 2015 data for the CW running of the contest are not yet available, this file contains only the SSB data. Currently, the file covers all the QSOs in the years from 2005 to 2015. The MD5 checksum of this file is: b532ba3307583c379c826314b81a5d04.

I have also created an augmented file, in compressed format, that adds useful data to each QSO. Each QSO line in the augmented file includes an additional four columns, with the following meanings:

  1. The letter "A" or "U" indicating "assisted" or "unassisted"
  2. A four-digit number representing the time if the contact in minutes measured from the start of the contest. (I realise that this can be calculated from the other information on the line, but it saves a lot of time to have the number readily available in the file without having to calculate it each time.)
  3. Band
  4. A set of eight flags, each encoded as T/F: 
    • a. QSO is confirmed by a log from the second party 
    • b. QSO is a reverse bust (i.e., the second party appears to have bust the call of the first party) 
    • c. QSO is an ordinary bust (i.e., the first party appears to have bust the call of the second party) 
    • d. the call of the second party is unique 
    • e. QSO appears to be a NIL 
    • f. QSO is with a station that did not send in a log, but who did make 20 or more QSOs in the contest 
    • g. QSO appears to be a country mult 
    • h. QSO appears to be a zone mult
The MD5 checksum of this file is: 1e3f1862d4c8126a5e85639368941d3a.
Note that the flags in the augmented data are calculated from the raw data independently of CQ. This is because:
  1. for reasons I cannot guess, CQ does not make the actual scoring code available ;
  2. the checklogs are not public, and hence represent additional data that CQ can use in determining the values of the flags.
Obviously, a huge number of analyses can be performed with these various files. There follow a few that interested me. 

Geographical Participation

How has the geographical distribution of entries changed over time? 

So there seem to be no major variations over time: the percentage of logs from western EU has decreased somewhat, and the percentage from JA/HL and zone 28 has slightly increased.

In terms of raw numbers of logs, almost everywhere with substantive participation has shown a reasonably consistent increase:


I not-infrequently come across statements to the effect that contesting in general, and CQ WW in particular, are increasingly popular. Usually, no evidence for the statement is provided, as if it were self-evident; the only purported evidence I have seen is referral to the fact that the number of entries is increasing -- which is manifestly not the same as an increase in the popularity.

By definition, popularity demands some measure of people (or, in our case, the simple proxy of callsigns). So we can look at the number of calls in the logs as a function of time:

I find this graph particularly interesting, not just because it shows that the popularity of CQ WW SSB appears to have peaked a few years ago, but also because it shows that the result is quite robust regardless of how many times one deems it necessary for a call to appear before that call is deemed a participant.


We can also look at the change in activity as a function of year. Activity depends on the number of people participation, and on how many QSOs those people make:

Here the words "distinct QSOs" is intended to convey that a QSO is counted once, even if both participants have contributed a log.

Not unexpectedly, this plot shows that the total number of QSOs is dominated by conditions, and, in particular, the state of 10m during the contest.


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