G’day everyone
Great to hear the reports and ‘war stories’ – and sorry to hear Phil VK6GX’s one about the stomach bug. Ouch Phil! – hope you feel better.
As Kevin VK6LW said, 10 and 15m were good at the start of the contest into the UK, but very poor on 15m/virtually non-existent on 10m on the Sunday.  Years ago, Kev taught me that one should always start on the highest band that is open and work your way down, on the basis that Murphy’s Law of Contesting states that if you assumed the same good conditions that existed at the start of the contest would be there at the end, this would automatically not prove to the case.  This CC was a very good case in point – and glad I started on 10 and 15m!
With the prevailing conditions and Murphy’s Law problems, I was pleased with my score of 5,370 points . Not a patch on the previous year’s score of 11,597, but then conditions and Murphy were very different last year.
Owing to galahs chewing holes in my shorty 40m Moxon beam’s capacity hats, the extensive repairs (and galah-proofing) to them and then getting the tower back up and sorted took me until a few day’s before the contest. Until the contest started I hadn’t turned the beam fully and, when I did (after dark…)  I found that the 80m inv vee dipole snagged onto the 2-ele HF delta loop and stopped the tower moving any further west than due north. This meant that after the first two hours (when turning the beam miraculously missed the dipole) I couldn’t turn my beams NW towards Europe for the rest of the night, being stuck beaming north until the sun started to come up and I could see to untangle the mess (did try and fix it by torchlight, but didn’t get far).  The two beams worked, but were not in the optimum direction during the hours of darkness and the 80m dipole had a high SWR.
My second dose of Murphy happened at the start of the last hour of the contest, when I went to 40m to clean up some multipliers and found that whenever I transmitted, RF apparently got into the external keyer and subsequently stopped the keyer stone-dead. As a result, 40m became a ‘no-go’ zone, which cost me points.  Why this suddenly started to happen at the end of the contest beats me, but on the other hand at least it didn’t happen earlier!
My summary is made up of 465 QSOs with 152 bonuses and 9 dupes – 80m 22 QSOs with 16 bonuses, 40m 98 QSOs with 38 bonuses, 20m (definitely the money band) 215 QSOs with 56 bonuses, 15m 79 QSOs with 36 bonuses and 10m 51 QSOs with 12 bonuses.
Transceiver was the Elecraft K3 and antennas were a 2ele delta loop on 20/15/10 at 20 m high, 2-ele shorty 40m Moxon at 20 m on the same boom (fits into a smaller footprint than a 20m 3-ele) and an 80m inverted vee dipole with apex at 27 m.
The Canadians went out very determined to win and, on the basis of the numbers they were exchanging, they deserve to win and I’d be very surprised if they don’t.  Thanks to everyone for turning out and giving it a shake.  Whatever happens, we certainly went down fighting. Don’t think luck or Murphy was exactly with us this year!!  Many many thanks for Brian VK3MI for all his hard work in getting VK Team 2 up and running.
Vy 73
Steve, VK6VZ