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What are currently the (5 or 10) biggest amateur radio contests in terms of Worldwide participation (total number of stations or operators on the air during the contest)?

Are they the ones with "ARRL" or "CQ magazine" in the name or sponsorship? Or are there other organization generating contests with even greater participation?

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  • $\begingroup$ That might depend on who you ask. Check out contestcalendar.com. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 24 '20 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ Is their any form of data (published number of logs submitted or skimmer/reporter stats) independent of “who you ask”? $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    Oct 24 '20 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ There are some stats for the CQ WW contests: <cqww.com/stats.htm>, showing, for example, that last year's CQ WW SSB and CW contests had just below 8000 submitted logs each. $\endgroup$ Oct 24 '20 at 14:40
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All major contests report detailed statistics for the benefit of contest participants, who want to know how they did in the contest. I compiled reported totals of logs submitted for several major contests. These numbers are not entirely consistent, because some contests include check logs and disqualified entries in the results, and some don't. The most recent numbers that I could find are reported, but these are not all in the same calendar year. I didn't report all contests, and it's quite possible that I missed contests that deserve to be on this list. (If so, let me know and I'll edit them in.) In some cases I had to add numbers to arrive at a total; I trust my addition, but I could have missed numbers that should have been included in the total. (Thanks to electronics-notes.com for giving me a list to start with.)

The list is sorted by logs submitted. I would think that the order of contests in the list would fluctuate quite a bit when comparing different years.

(In the table, "W/E" means "weekend".)

Rank Contest Dates Results Year Logs Submitted
1 CQ-WorldWide (CW) Last full W/E November 2019 7,821
2 CQ-WorldWide (SSB) Last full W/E October 2019 7,741
3 CQ-Worked PrefiXes (WPX)(SSB) Last full W/E March 2020 7,604
4 CQ-Worked PrefiXes (WPX) (CW) Last full W/E May 2020 5,912
5 Russian DX Contest (SSB/CW) Third full W/E March 2020 5,212
6 IARU-HF Championship (SSB/CW) Second full W/E July 2019 4,354
7 ARRL DX Contest (CW) Third full W/E February 2019 4,136
8 CQ-WorldWide (RTTY) Fourth full W/E September 2019 3,103
9 CQ-Worked PrefiXes (WPX)(RTTY) Second full W/E February 2020 3,088
10 ARRL DX Contest (SSB) First full W/E March 2019 3,062
11 Island On The Air (SSB/CW) Last full W/E July 2020 2,237
12 All Asia DX (CW) Third full W/E June 2019 1,543
13 Worked All Europe-DX (CW) Second full W/E August 2019 1,187
14 Worked All Europe-DX (RTTY) Second full W/E November 2019 1,131
15 Worked All Europe-DX (SSB) Second full W/E September 2019 953
16 All Asia (SSB) First full W/E September 2019 870
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  • $\begingroup$ Fascinating statistics! Thanks for doing the research. $\endgroup$
    – Brian K1LI
    Dec 31 '20 at 10:38
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Yes, ARRL and CQ sponsored contests on HF are certainly among the "biggest" (I don't think any other contests draw larger participation than the CQ Worldwide DX and the CQ WPX contests). Other very popular worldwide ones include the Russian DX Contest, the Worked All Europe, the IARU HF Championship, or the All Asia contests.

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