The Kernow prefixes were:
|Ordinary Prefix||Kernow Prefix|
Thus, for example, the active Cornish station G4AMT sometimes signed GK4AMT during 2016.
The RBN recorded a total of 16,120 posts of 192 stations using Kernow prefixes. Some of these posts, however, were miscopies of callsigns, and some were of stations that do not appear to have met the criteria for legitimate use of a Kernow callsign. The RBN reports all occasions on which the call was recorded calling CQ on CW and most digital modes (a single CQ results in multiple posts if more than one station on the network copies it). While postings on the RBN are not an ideal measurement of activity, they are the best we have, and they do have the distinct merit of being objective.
The 192 callsigns with Kernow prefixes reported by the RBN (including many obvious errors) were:
Unfortunately, there appears to be no definitive list of stations that were issued an NoV; but, comparing the listed calls with stations with Cornish main addresses on QRZ.com, we find that the following stations appear to be the only legitimate Kernow callsigns posted by the RBN:
We can create a table showing the number of posts for each of these stations in 2015 and 2016:
|Base call||2015||2016||K 2016||Σ 2016|
The columns show:
- the station's ordinary callsign;
- the number of times that the station's ordinary G call was posted by the RBN in 2015;
- the number of times that the station's ordinary G call was posted by the RBN in 2016;
- the number of times that the station's Kernow call was posted (in 2016);
- The number of times that either of the station's calls were posted in 2016.
Thus the TOTAL line in the above table does not include data from G[K]3MPD. In the tables below, values for G[K]3MPD are included for informational purposes in the individual rows, but they are not used in calculations of totals, etc.
Just looking at the raw numbers, several things are obvious:
- Stations with an NoV showed a large percentage of activity in 2016 using their ordinary call (roughly 40%).
- The total amount of activity due to these stations appeared to increase from 2015 to 2016, by about 35%.
- The apparent increase in activity was therefore not due merely to operations with the K calls.
- The vast bulk of activity was from a mere handful of stations: just two stations, GK3UCQ and GK4AMT accounted for more than 80%(!!) of the posts of GK calls. Any station looking to work GK stations would likely be frustrated by this statistic. I know that I was.
- Indeed, if G[K]3UCQ and G[K]4AMT had not been active, the activity level would have decreased by more than 30% between 2015 and 2016.
We can use these figures to determine what percentage of the total English activity is represented by the stations that were active with a K callsign in 2016 (splitting the resulting table into two so as to allow it to fit more easily on the web page).
|Base call||2013||2014||2015||G 2016||K 2016||Σ 2016|
Thus, we see that the activity of our Cornish stations as compared to the activity of G stations as a whole varied tremendously in the years leading up to 2016, representing between 0.34% and 0.77% of the total, depending on the year.
There are insufficient data to determine the long-term distribution of the percentage of activity due to the Cornish stations, but we can see that the total activity of these stations in 2016, including both GK activity and non-GK activity, is not much different from the peak activity in the few years prior to 2016 (0.83% as against 0.77%). (Indeed, there are so few annual data that the standard error of the mean is ~0.05, so that the 99% confidence limit for the mean of the underlying percentage distribution covers the rather wide range from 0.41 to 0.62.)
In summary, the data about enhanced activity in 2016 are not completely clear-cut: but that in itself tells us something important: that the availability of GK callsigns did not make a substantial (i.e., statistically unambiguous) difference to the activity from Cornwall. To the extent that there was an increase in activity, it was of a somewhat peculiar secondary type: the stations with an NoV still exhibited a high percentage of activity with their ordinary callsigns, and it is only if both types of callsigns are included that there is even a possibility that activity increased a little above historical levels.
Another clear result is that the availability of the GK calls did very little to encourage relatively inactive stations to become more active. The four most active stations in 2016 were G[K]0PNM, G[K]3UCQ, G[K]4AMT and G[K]4BPJ. These four stations accounted for 22,511, or 93%, of the posts in 2016. For the most part, these are the same four stations as have been historically active (the exception being G0PNM, who seems to have been inactive prior to 2013; similarly, G3KDP, who was historically one of the more active stations, has become much less active in the past couple of years). Once one looks past the top four stations in a given year, the remaining stations contribute almost nothing to the activity total. These would be the very stations that one might expect to have been encouraged to become more active in 2016 with their special callsigns; but their activity remained at a very low level despite their occasional use of their Kernow callsigns.
Departing from the objective data to make a few concluding subjective statements: this analysis confirms my own impression of Kernow activity in 2016, to which I had looked forward with considerable enthusiasm and expectation: GK4AMT was active and workable on several bands over the course of the year (including thrice on 80m,); GK3UCQ was heard and worked on 20m and 17m; the other stations I worked were a struggle, and were heard only very rarely. Without the RBN to alert me to their presence, I would have worked no Kernow stations except GK4AMT and, possibly, GK3UCQ. I especially appreciated GK4AMT's activity throughout the year; in particular, he was one of only two EU stations I worked on 80m during the CQ WW CW contest.
The absence of GK4CRC throughout the year was a disappointment (especially as the club sponsored an award that essentially required a QSO with GK4CRC), as was the lack of focused activity on St. Piran's Day (5 March), when I naïvely expected several GK stations to be workable. Despite the fact that the day coincided with the ARRL SSB DX contest, I heard not a single Kernow station. Some GK stations were spotted by the RBN on that day, but no stations were outside the small group that were active throughout the year.
Another disappointment took the form of the small number of workable Cornish stations who, for whatever reason, had not applied for a Kernow call. I was quite saddened that the special station GB0GLD, whose callsign was taken from the call of Land's End Radio (GLD), where I took my Morse test long ago, chose not to use a Kernow call.
I am grateful to all those that put in the effort to bring about the 2016 K-for-Kernow NoVs, and to GK3UCQ in particular, not only for his sustained efforts in that cause but also for being the manager for the beautiful Kernow award.