Well, it seems to be happening again.
This last weekend, despite what could only be described as horrible HF band conditions (due to a recent solar flare and the resulting Earth-directed CME) the bands were alive with users....for the IARU DX contest.
And, as with past contests, once the contest was over (at 1200 GMT on Sunday) the HF bands went absolutely silent again.
To me this is yet more anecdotal evidence that while our license numbers are supposedly "way up" as of late, there are fewer and fewer active hams on our HF bands.
Indeed, the percentage of Technician licensees appears to be remaining permanently stuck at just under half of all who hold a ham license in the USA. And the number of "upgrades" from that status to General and Extra appears to have now peaked and is once again heading downward.
As I've said, these are all indicators that our Service is poised for a steep decline in our numbers as we "old farts" die off and we continue to turn off (or turn away) youthful newcomers with our insistence on keeping our licensing requirements permanently stuck in the technological "dark ages."