The second annual WPX Contest Survey was conducted between September 6 and 29, 2010. Invitations were sent to 8144 email addresses from logs submitted in the 2010 WPX RTTY, SSB, and CW Contests. No public announcement was made of the survey so that it would be limited only to participants of the contests. In the end, 6358 people started the survey and 4555 were able to complete it. This is an amazing response rate and once again demonstrates the passion contesters have for the WPX Contest.

Let’s begin by learning a little about who responded.

Q: Which phrase best describes your operating style in the CQ WPX Contest?

Answer Count Percent
Serious competitor trying to win a certificate 1544 30.39%
Part time operator trying for the highest score possible 1551 30.53%
Chasing contacts for WPX or other awards 622 12.24%
Having fun and giving points to others 1196 23.54%
Other 167 3.29%

As might be expected, the most serious competitors had the highest motivation to respond to the survey. Even so, the responses indicate we have a wide range of participation levels represented and can feel confident that the individual question results match those of the contest community.

Q: Which modes have you operated the WPX Contest in 2009-2010?

This question allowed more than one answer.

Answer Count Percent
CW 2880 37.82%
SSB 3089 40.56%
RTTY 1646 21.62%
Total 7615  

Q: Which is your favorite mode for contesting?

This question allowed only one answer.

Answer Count Percentage
CW 2337 50.79%
SSB 1523 33.10%
RTTY 741 16.11%
Total 4601  

In the 2009 survey, the results were very similar: CW (51.9%), SSB (35.2%), and RTTY (12.9%).

Now let’s move to the questions about possible rule changes…

Q: Should the Single Operator and Single Operator Assisted categories be combined into one Single Operator category?

(The new category would allow ALL single operator entrants to use spotting networks, DX cluster, packet, reverse beacon, chat, telnet, and DX Skimmer to help the operator find contacts.)

This is a subject of wide debate among contesters. First, let’s look at the results for the 2010 survey broken down by participation style.

  Yes No Don’t care Row Totals
Serious competitor trying to win a certificate 668 714 90 1472
45.38% 48.51% 6.11% 30.04%
Part time operator trying for the highest score possible 617 711 186 1514
40.75% 46.96% 12.29% 30.9%
Chasing contacts for WPX or other awards 254 245 93 592
42.91% 41.39% 15.71% 12.08%
Having fun and giving points to others 429 484 245 1158
37.05% 41.8% 21.16% 23.63%
Other 46 92 26 164
28.05% 56.1% 15.85% 3.35%
Column Total 2014 2246 640 4900
Column Percent 41.1% 45.84% 13.06% 100%

Let’s compare how the responses in 2010 compared to the same question asked in 2009.

Year Yes No Don’t Care
2009 28.7% 51.8% 19.4%
2010 41.1% 45.8% 13.0%

Sentiment is still in favor of keeping the categories separate, but it is getting closer. The WPX RTTY contest only has one single operator category and does not distinguish between SO and SOA. Including the RTTY entrants in the survey may have skewed the results. Another factor is that the high number of multipliers in the WPX Contest provides much less advantage to operators using DX spotting so there is less need to have separate categories.

People were very emotional in their comments on this issue! Many comments were directed at the perception of cheating that goes on in some areas. Others felt that allowing DX spotting made the overall contest more fun. While others wanted to protect the idea of single operator having to make their own score.

Conclusion: We will continue with the separate SO and SOA categories in WPX SSB/CW for 2011.

End of part 1. Look for more results in part 2 coming soon…