Good score Iain…..I decided to play Restricted Assisted like yourself, it’ll be interesting to see how this new category plays out.

I got off to a terrible start when I spent the first half hour failing to get a single response to my calls. I was on the point of deciding I’d got some strange technical fault on the antennas and giving up when I finally had a reply from Our Man in Namibia on 10m which persuaded me to keep going. Slowly things got going until by midday the pace had picked up well, but I feel like I lost 30 minutes of prime time for a reason that still mystifies me (other Gs were walking straight past me so couldn’t be conditions?)

It was then good throughout the day but disappointing overnight and the hf bands never got going for me this morning, plenty of signals but very high noise levels and many unanswered calls. I thought 20m was about to spring to life around 0300 to ZL like last year but in the end was very short lived and downhill from then on. Still some cracking signals from VK  this morning but none that I hadn’t worked previously and plenty of weak and watery ones too. The Africa contest issue turned out to be a non-entity here, heard just 2 stations calling ‘cq AF’. A decent number of 5-banders which included as well as the usual VE (incl VY2GQ) and 5B suspects (P3F, C4Z..) J34G and VP9/G3VYI and was an indication of their consistent signal quality particularly on 80m with my ‘excuse for an antenna’.

Running my K3, a Cobwebb (minus the 20m element which has had cracked insulation leading to slight wire corrosion and a screwed up velocity factor messing up the ‘gamma’ matching) for 10/15, a 100ft doublet which is 3/2 wl on 20m and a ‘bit of an excuse’ on 80m, and a 1/4 wave vertical for 40 and 15. I impressed myself by staying in the cockpit overnight and this morning – it really was dire at times but the need to get that extra Q and bonus becomes worryingly overwhelming!

Ref the comment about Winkey – I’ve used Winkey in a Microham CW Keyer for years and never had a complaint or issue with it. I can’t remember now if the settings in N1MM or the Microham software take priority but I *think* it’s the Microham. I read Graham’s settings and would just say everything is set to zero with me except for the ‘Keying Compensation’ which is there to offset the tendency for radios to shorten each element by a fixed amount in qsk. Not sure about the K3 but it was very noticeable in my ft990 and required an extra 3ms to avoid it sounding choppy at higher speeds. Maybe I need to look at lead and trail times more closely as my new Flex 6300 keeps tripping out the Acom 1k with a hot switching fault……

Thanks for the fun(!) and glad 1/ the Africa contest didn’t spoil it, at least here, and 2/ we’re back to talking contesting and not ‘politics’……


Band     QSOs     Pts  Cty   Sec
3.5      23     495   17    2
7      58     990   33    2
14      86    1750   63    3
21      74    1370   49    1
28      36     600   20    1
Total     277    5205  182    9

(Score needs adjusting for anomaly in N1MM Plus)