Sobering numbers

Enter the new year! Time for some statistics. Ever since I mastered the basic mathematics, I’ve been obsessed with numbers, graphs, averages and statistics. That’s why a few years ago I wrote my own little program to make some statistics. Sometimes you have ‘this feeling’, but a feeling is nothing more than that. An exact number can put things in perspective. I’m now starting my tenth year on HF. My best year so far has been 2007. Although conditions of propagation were poor then too, everything I did seemed to work in 2007. I made a massive number of QSO and achieved good scores in the contests. Along came 2008 which was a 180° turn. The weather forced me to cancel some of my contest plans and with some other ‘external factors’ the numbers took a plunge. So I was happy to pick up the activities in 2009. I had vowed to make 2009 forget 2008. And ‘the feeling’ said I managed to do so. In 2009 I made more QSO than in 2008, and I was more active than in 2008. That’s ‘the feeling’. Nothing more than that. Until I saw the sobering numbers…


I’ve never been an RTTY man, but with only 20 digital contacts it clearly shows along with the SSB numbers that I’m a CW guy. That must have been picked up on the air as a few weeks ago I got an invitation from a DX-friend to join a brand new CW operators club called ‘CWOPS’. More on that later.

These numbers tell me it was the poorest year since I installed the tower. Half the number of contacts compared to record year 2007. There is an increase on 17m and 15m. With less overall activity (counted in days) from my side, this may point to better conditions although it absolutely doesn’t feel like that.


So what do I learn from all this? Numbers are fun but sometimes they are perpendicular to a feeling. I had good feelings about 2009. Except for missing out on a few contests in November due to the weather and skipping IARU because of the work going on in the garden. Being QRT for over two months in June and July didn’t help either. But I would never have guessed, based on my feelings, that this year would have been the year with the least activity both in days and in number of QSO. On the other hand, the pleasure and satisfaction in a hobby can’t be measured by counting QSO in the log. Except when contesting where rate is king. Over the past year I learned myself a couple of interesting programming techniques by writing my own little software tools. Thanks to the internet where a lot of good stuff is found. It seems that programming has become the new homebrew for ON5ZO. That’s fun too. I started The Big Project a/k/a UBA DX  Log checking software. I got asked to give a presentation on the N1MM contesting software. I accepted to do this so in less than two weeks, I’ll be giving my first presentation ever. Lots of pots boiling on the stove here! The good thing is all that’s in the pipeline might offer some inspiration to fill more pages here too. Stay tuned and 73!

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