A simple way to display the activity in the CQ WW contests is to count the number of half-QSOs in each zone. Each valid QSO requires the exchange of two zones, so we simply count the total number of times that each zone appears, making sure to include each valid QSO only once.
If we do this for the entire contest without taking the individual bands into account, we obtain this figure:
The plot shows data for both SSB and CW contests over the period from 2005 to 2017. As in earlier posts, I include only QSOs for which both parties submitted a log and neither party bust either the zone or the call of the other party. The black triangles represent contests in which no half-QSOs were made from (or to) a particular zone. By far the most striking feature of this plot is the way in which activity in EU overwhelms the rest of the world.
When I started this series, I wrote: "I considered calling this post The CQ Not-So-World-Wide Contest". On the basis of the figure above, it doesn't seem unreasonable to think of it as The European QSO Party.
NB it's not the level of activity in EU that is scandalous; it's the lack of activity almost everywhere else. Why is amateur radio almost completely confined to the Old World and part of the New World? Is it a simple matter of wealth? Or culture (perhaps much of the world doesn't have time for, or interest in, hobbies?) We worry about the future of amateur radio, and yet there is an obvious reservoir that dwarfs the current participation. I appreciate DXpeditions as much as the next person, but perhaps at least some of such money would be better spent studying the huge disparity in amateur radio population around the world, and then trying to do something about it? I'm sorry: I try to keep my opinions out of these posts, and confine myself simply to presenting the data without further comment; but the figure above just calls out for comment in the hope that someone with influence will pay attention and try to address the situation.
We can, of course, generate equivalent plots on a band-by-band basis:
The activity from zones 14, 15 and 16 so overwhelms these figures that in order to get a feel for the activity elsewhere, we need to move to a logarithmic scale: