Friday, January 7, 2022

2021: Analyzing ARRL Field Day Finally

With 2021 finally behind us,  the results of the ARRL 2021 Field Day event are available.

Building upon the past HVDN analysis from the public ARRL data sources, lets have a look at how 2021 compared to 2020 plus how the event fared against an average taken from 2010-2019.

There are so many positives that came from ARRL Field Day 2021, so the goal of this article is to present the data  along with fact based comments regarding this data.  There are no secret or hidden agendas as part of this analysis, contrary to what some people might think.

The goal of sharing this data in a visualized format is to help understand trends at the national, regional and sectional basis. Plus, if it matters, how everyone may have improved over years past.

For a quick refresh, here are two past articles to help understand the journey in tracking this data.

Activity Tracker:  Version 2021

The data shows an increase of 8,610 additional participants in 2021 compared to 2020.  For the period of 2010 to 2019, the average annual participation has been 36,800.  

This means that the past two years based on an average comparison against 10 years of historical data, is that we are still below normal levels.  

No surprise, but COVID certainly is the main reason to blame, but there could be some other underlying factors such as age, housing and health worth thinking about.

Data generated from HVDN ARRL Field Day Tracker - Version 21
(Photo Source:

In 2016, the ARRL started tracking the number of transmitters in use as well as the type of power source used during field day. 

2020 saw a huge increase in the number of transmitters mainly because of how participants were tracked.  Participants were able to stay at home and share scores to roll up to a club if needed. 

This was a big success, but it seems that while participation increased in 2021 compared to 2020 which is a 48.43% positive change, the number of transmitters decreased from 10,977 to 8370 which is a 23.74% decrease.

When looking at the different power sources, there is a 38.77% decrease between 2020 to 2021. 

In order to figure out the changes in how participants got on the air in 2021 for field day,  diving deeper into ARRL section and specific callsigns is needed.  This data is available in our larger data set for those who wish to come to conclusions.

QSO Tracker: Version 2021

For the year 2021, a total of 1,421,785 contacts (QSOs) took place during this 24 hour long event.  While participation did see an increase, the total number of QSO did decrease compared to 2020.  

A total of 1,787,929 were counted in 2020, so this works out to a decrease of 20.47%. 

Compared to the average QSO totals from 2010 to 2019, which is 1,265,399,  the year 2021 still trended above the average by 12.35%. This is a very good thing to see.  However, for comparison sake,  2020 compared to the 10 year average was 41.29%.   

Data generated from HVDN ARRL Field Day Tracker - Version 21
(Photo Source:

The types of contacts when broken down by voice versus non-voice is an interesting set of data to compare. 

Here are some comparisons:

Data generated from HVDN ARRL Field Day Tracker - Version 21
(Photo Source:

ARRL FCC Call Sign Regional Participation

The ARRL Field Day provided data does not share this, but is simple to calculate based on the ARRL sections.  

Looking at FCC based regional callsign participation gives us a good snapshot of where amateur radio is especially strong or weak without picking on anyone, be it a local club or ARRL section.

Data generated from HVDN ARRL Field Day Tracker - Version 21
(Photo Source:

In the above pie chart, it is amazing that there is almost as much participation from Canada as compared the the North Eastern United States in call area one.  

The largest FCC call area since 2010 to 2021 is four. While call area two is the most populous by area, it is unfortunate that participation certainly continues to be curious, so looking at the data year by year is the next level to analyze.

Data generated from HVDN ARRL Field Day Tracker - Version 21
(Photo Source:

The chart above clearly shows macro trends on where there is likely the most amateur radio activity related to ARRL Field Day participation.  

Considering that New York and New Jersey make up the FCC two call area, there needs to be some evaluation as to why participation continues to decline compared to areas such as one and three which are closest in proximity, which may rule out weather as the sole cause.

ARRL Call District Map, modified by AA7OA
(Photo Source: search)

Looking Deeper:   ARRL Sectional or Station Details

Some people recently think that HVDN has some agenda in presenting material like this or the state of other parts in amateur radio that are not presenting to the full potential to help expand this great hobby to a new generation.  HVDN has no such bias in any way.  

Our goal is to present data like this and to help illustrate where things are falling apart so that they can be fixed via alternate approaches locally or maybe elsewhere.  We do not claim to have the answers, but are focused on solving things as long as others wish to be involved.

Get data access for $1/month plus much more

If you are interested in accessing our data compilation, which was sourced directly from the ARRL, we kindly suggest becoming an associate member of HVDN for $12 a year.  

Not only will you be able to access the data,  one of the HVDN members very fluent in excel and pivot tables plus visualizations can help you prepare customized views of this data for you to use in your club or regional presentations about ARRL Field Day and the benefits it brings by being part of this great event.

To access this data, please consider becoming an HVDN associate member by visiting

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