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?

  • $\begingroup$ That might depend on who you ask. Check out contestcalendar.com. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Oct 24 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 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. $\endgroup$ – henryflower Oct 24 at 14:40

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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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.

This would be a great place to use a table, but the markdown tools used here don't yet support tables. So instead I'll use a really ugly preformatted text block substitute, sorry. I could post a screen capture of a spreadsheet, but that wouldn't be fair to those using screen reading software.

                                                                 Results  Logs
Rank  Contest                         Dates                      Year     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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