Again, I had forgotten it was this contest held this week end. In the beginning, 21MHz didn't sound in good shape. It has got better in 2 or 3 hours. Sometime ago, an hour before noon, on this band, I could hear the East Coasts as well as Europeans. It meant the condition was improving a lot. Having watched this band for a while, I have got the following observation and impressions.
There still seemed to be decreased number of the participants. Under this fairly good condition, there could have been much more signals all around at least in the beginning. There were much room to get on among the contesters. Big guns have scarcely had callers in a row. They have repeated calling CQ TEST and have got a call in several times of CQ. They must have been frustrated with this paucity of contesters. This is not a phenomenon particular to this contest. Most of us should realize it as a general finding in contersts.
The main bracket of the participants seemed to be older. In my rough observation, it might be around 70 years of age. Those who used to be active 2 or 3 decades ago must be still active and comprise the majority in the participants. I could hear a few university club stations in Japan, which used to be the main clubs in contests. I could not help smiling bitterly knowing some of them were operated by old timers different from the student age group. But, seemingly, there were a few operated by the students judging from their ages. I used to be active in this contest over 20 years ago. It was fun for me to know how old or young my friends or well known hams were. I still had that kind of fun this time even though just listening to them. James, 9V1YC, is now 48 years old. Whew, I still have an image of James as around 30 years of age. Seventies are fairly active and skillful in operation. But who knows how contests would become in several years when the majority reaches their eighties?
In the bottom of solar cycles, this period is always the worst for world wide contests. I was sad when the JARL had determined to move this contest from the end of August to this time in a year. It was just not to overlap the timing of Tokyo Ham Fair held in that period with this contest. In the end of August, the terrific band condition used to usher in the arrival of fall. There were big guns from the east coast on 21MHz like sardines in a can. But it has already gone. My interests in contesting has been calmed down as well. I only hope they would enjoy the band conditions and the unique rule which will tell the other's age.