Only a Small Proportion of VA/VE Callsigns show-up in my Logs…

Recently, Bob VA3QV posted in his blog a very interesting analysis asking which prefixes would be most rare in Canada:  For this, he was able to extract the number of callsigns currently assigned by Industry Canada to each Province/Territory, and I got curious about what proportion of these callsigns would have been already captured in my logs.

At present, regardless of mode, band and power, my logs account for abt. 4,500 HF QSOs. Of those, 785 (17.4%) have been with VA/VE stations. However, only 331 (42.2%) have been first-time contacts with different VA/VE callsigns. These 331 callsigns are a surprisingly small fraction (0.45%) of the 73,666 callsigns assigned to VA/VE radio-amateurs. The results per province/territory are not too different: over 20 first-time QSOs were logged only in 4 provinces (ON(169), BC(39), QC(27) and AB(21) and percentage-wise, 1% or above of the callsigns were contacted only in NU(1/26 = 3.8%), PE(5/279 = 1.8%) and SK(19/1458 = 1.3%).  These results are summarized in the following semilog bar graph:

VA-VE Callsigns 3

Several factors may account for these seemingly meager results: a) many VA/VE stations do not operate HF, and among those that do many may not call or answer CQ calls,  b) being QRP I may be favouring contacts with only powerful stations with larger antennas, c) only a fraction of the radio-amateurs operate in RAC contests (Canada Day and Winter Day), which is where I would have contacted most VA/VE stations, and d) many radio-amateurs who hold more than one callsign may not use all of them on the air or in HF.

Fully aware that in many cases a given radio-amateur holds more than one callsign, I nevertheless wanted to see how the number of callsigns assigned per province/territory related to their estimated total population. The overall ratio is close to 0.2%. This proportion does not differ much across the country with BC, NS, NL and YT being above, and ON, AB, MB, SK and NU below the overal national level:

VA-VE Callsigns 2

Note: The data for the number of VA/VE callsigns per province were obtained from the blog of Bob VA3QV ( who had extracted them from the Industry Canada Amateur Database ($.startup) on September 24 2015. The data for the population estimates in 2013 were obtained from


2 thoughts on “Only a Small Proportion of VA/VE Callsigns show-up in my Logs…

  1. Good morning,
    While surfing on the net I just discovered your very interesting blog. Believe me, I have a lot to read in this one. I’m also a fan of QRP & QRPp in fact 100% . Also we love to go portable on Islands/beaches/lighthouses.

    I agree with you about the small proportion of VA/VE show-up in my log here too.

    Here is the number of hams I worked ovber the years in each different Provinces and Territories.

    And believe it or not, it is during a period of 52 years of continuous hamming on all bands CW/SSB.

    VE3 = 303 VE9 = 31
    VE2 = 253 VE8 = 19
    VE1 = 148 VY0 = 10
    VE7 = 109 VY2 = 10
    VO1 = 78 VY1 = 3 !!!!
    VE6 = 43
    VE4 = 38 CY0 SABLE ISLAND = 5
    VE5 = 38 CY9 ST-PAUL ISLAND = 4


    And I’m nearly at 27,000 QSO.

    Now, go to DX SHERLOCK maps anytime you want, and check regularly the maps whether world wide of by continent, on any bands you want to check, and look at the lack of activities in Canada, it is a shame!!

    Yes, up to date 73666 individual licences in Canada, you are right, and it increase almost every months.

    Now if we try to remove all the Repeaters, just an example, we have listed 655 repeaters in the Province of Québec only, imagine the rest of Canada!

    Remove those who have more than one callsign, I know some have more than one some have 2/3/4 etc
    I know a couple who have as 18 callsigns! Yes.

    And worst of all, try, just for fun to remove all those silent keys in all callbooks. There are much more that we can think of.

    Just in Québec, we have cancelled nearly 600 hundreds amateur,(exactly 584, just by finding the obituaries and the address of the amateur, Then we sent those informations to Industry Canada and those callsign becomes avaialble, at least one year after their death.-

    Imagine how many amateurs are happy to have a 2 letter callsign, if they take time to Watch the available 2 letters callsign in Industry Canada site “available callsign”
    I suppose we are about roughly 60,000 unique licences in Canada.






    Ok enough for now, hope you like it, and I’m going back on the air.

    Keep on your very good work, with this blog and activities on the air, it is interesting and fun to read
    but, above all it is really educative.

    Hope to work you some day near the QRP frequencies on 40/30/20/17/15/10/6 meters

    72/73 Michel VE2TH QRP & QRPp


  2. Cher Michel,

    Thank you very much for your comment with a very thorough analysis based on data >5 times larger than mine (52 years and 27,000 QSOs…!). Very interesting your estimate that the unique licensees in Canada would be abt. 20% less than the callsigns assigned, which does increase the percent contacted in my logs to 0.55% and, in your case, to 1.83%. Still, surprisingly low fractions, which add to the suspicion that many licensed VE/VA radio amateurs might be “QSO-shy”…

    PS.- According to my log we did contact each other at least once, during a NAQCC Sprint (in which you won the Canada Division! –
    Date / UTC: 2015-06-10 / 0230z
    Band / Freq: 40m / 7041.0 KHz
    Mode: CW
    MyCall: VE3DTI
    Tx exchng: 589 Jose ON 6008
    Your Call: VE2TH
    Rx exchng: 579 Michel QC 214

    Un grand Merci! es 72/73 de Jose VA3PCJ/VE3DTI


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