2014 by the Numbers

I had gone to the trouble of assembling my radio stats from 2014 sometime shortly after New Year’s then forgot all about sharing them with you. It’s what often happens when you get old as me – else it could be working on two book projects at the same time in addition to publishing a weekly ham radio letter has simply overloaded the old noggin’ – who knows?

Anyway, there’s nothing remarkable here at all.

I’ll never be one of “those” guys who flog their blog about the 20,000 contacts made just last weekend. I’ve even less interest in being one of those “other” guys who take a solemn oath to make a “contact a day” for an eternity. In fact, I’m much more impressed by “that” guy who spins that notion around and chooses to give up amateur radio for some period of soulful introspection on regular intervals.

You never see that, do you? It’s like looking for a full-price fireworks store. They just don’t exist.

Having lowered your expectations of my HF results for an entire year, let’s get to the heart of the matter. I was off the air for practically all of the first quarter of 2014. My intent was to step away from the hobby for a month, and that stretched to three.

By the time I got back into the swing of things, it was practically summertime when warm weather and margaritas on the deck beckoned much more seductively than did sitting in a stuffy old radio shack.

My last HF contact of the year was made on December 14th.

The W1AW portable activity got my juices flowing but by that time, it was too late for me to work all fifty states. Still, it held my attention and kept me busy. I ended up with 3812 points on 456 contacts, not including the 99 portable stations worked in the Centennial QSO Party.

All told, I put 594 contacts in the logbook during 2014. 401 of those were via CW, 172 phone, and 21 were made using RTTY. For what it’s worth, all the RTTY contacts were with W1AW/portables. 540 were contacts with US stations, the other 54 were DX.

Here’s my activity breakdown by month:

APR 115
MAY 125
JUN 120
JUL 29
AUG 57
NOV 117
DEC 21

And here’s a breakdown by band and mode:

6 Meters (7)
5 CW
2 PH

10 Meters (16)
5 CW
8 PH

12 Meters (5)
4 CW
1 PH

15 Meters (12)
4 CW
4 PH

17 Meters (22)
11 CW
8 PH

20 Meters (84)
46 CW
35 PH

30 Meters (31)
28 CW

40 Meters (338)
246 CW
87 PH

60 Meters (3)
3 CW

80 Meters (76)
49 CW
27 PH

Clearly, 40 meters is my favorite band and CW my favorite mode. These results were made using the Icom IC-7100 at 100 watts with an AH-4 auto-tuner and an 88-foot ladder-line fed dipole mounted at 30 feet.

Almost all of the activity took place on weekends as I rarely visit the shack on weekdays.

Radio should be a relaxing and enjoyable pursuit, without the obsessive compulsive behavior that drives some to operate every single day, or to try to fill an electronic logbook that never runs out of pages…

One More Thing

I find it very interesting that out of 594 radio contacts, 456 were made with ARRL members. These were random contacts and don’t include the 99 stations operating W1AW/p that I worked knowing they were ARRL members. Unless I’m missing something here, that means 77 percent of all the random stations that I worked in 2014 were ARRL members, like me.

This bit of trivia only serves to confirm my theory that “most” active radio operators are also ARRL members. And that just makes sense. If you haven’t been on the air in ten years, why would you maintain annual dues in a radio club?

So while there are 700,000+ licensees in the FCC database and only 150,000 ARRL members, one might be led to conclude that there are actually only about 200,000 licensed radio amateurs regularly active on the air.

This is based on empirical data and could be skewed for lots of legitimate reasons, but I think my conclusion is difficult to argue with. Check it for yourself, begin asking those you work on HF if they are ARRL members and you will discover that a very high percentage of them are.

That and $3.95 will get you a skinny vanilla latte at Starbucks.

Author: Jeff Davis