As others have noted that was extremely tough.  In fact it bought back memories of the (I think) 2012 contest when the A index was 75!

I have a modest home station with an inverted L which I use as a multiband antenna.  Having found out last year I was transmitting better than I was hearing, this year I put down a couple of beverages on the ground to try and improve my receiving capabilities.  This seemed to work to an extent although during the times I called CQ there were guys I knew were calling me who I just could not pull out and no doubt there were others still I could not hear.

On the positive side we didn’t have any earthquakes this time, 80m opened beautifully to G during grayline on our Sunday evening and I managed to get several in the log.  I also worked V31GX and ZF2CA on 40m which were a highlight.  I set up and had skimmer spots running for the first time in a contest which was eye opening to say the least.

Daytime was a total bust here.  10m and 15m never opened for me and 20m was dead once I had worked the VKs.  Unfortunately I never heard Bob on 8P, Nigel on 3B8 or the 9G boys (I gather no one in ZL managed a 9G QSO).  80m and 40m were easily my best bands, which probably says a lot about this stage of the solar cycle.

In the end I made 111 QSOs with some dupes and no doubt some busted serial numbers.

I had plans to do the 24 hour restricted assisted category and ended up in the 12 hour Open assisted category.  12 hours because I ran of people I could hear and Open because I had to turn the amp on to work several stations.

I will have to re-think my strategy for next year.

Mark ZL3AB

— Member ZL3X The Quake Contesters