From: Andy G4KNO
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2018 19:55:17 GMT

Feeling rather jealous of some reports, but such is the life of a little pistol.
I didn’t have the opportunity to put up anything better for the HF bands, so it was just the 12AVQ co-located with a 12m Spiderbeam pole holding up a 80/40m trapped inverted-L. Actually, the latter gets out quite well, particularly when the heavy clay soil here gets a good drenching – and it has recently. So I thought maybe poor SFI would play to my strengths.
As expected, the start was slow. It wasn’t long before I was behind on last year’s target file in WinTest. I failed to work 9J2BO on 15 and 20m, but I did manage 9V1YC on 20m after several returns to attempt again. I was glad to move to 40m late afternoon, to see there was a good VK opening on 40m. I didn’t think 40 or 80m really got going as well as I’d hoped. Testament to that is VE3EJ’s signal on 40m, which is usually booming.
Experience has shown that there’s little point in staying awake between about 2:30 & 5:30am, so I got some sleep.
There was another good opening to VK/ZL in the usual morning slot, but not on 80m for me (or at least not workable).
Only ZF2CA & V31GX (40m) from Caribbean, and no Africa other than 3B8XF (40-15m).
Disappointed that for another year I couldn’t work Nigel on 80m – because I couldn’t hear him. This is an on-going problem for me to do with the noise level here on 80/40m. Generally, I find ops can get my call and serial much more easily than I them. I could also hear relatively local ops (e.g. G3XLG, G4PIQ) getting serials that I just couldn’t, and I know they’re just using dipoles. In fact, it was a delicate balance whether to call weak stuff or not straight away and then go through a protracted process of getting the serial, or wait until I’d heard a few serials given to piece it together. Sometimes I lost my opportunity.
Calling CQ was occasionally productive. Presumably I was getting found by skimmers.
Apologies to some who thought I had the new short call G4EE. The dash contact on my Bencher sometimes doesn’t. I thought I’d got to the bottom of this through disassembly and cleaning, but it reared its head again. Not sure what’s going on, but in a fit of rage I took an emery board to the contacts – which I know I shouldn’t have. Didn’t help anyway :-(.
Thanks for all the DX (spot the engineer’s mandatory Douglas Adams joke).
In the end I did beat last year’s Q total – by 1 (thanks C4Z). Anyhow, this is how WinTest summarised matters:
Band  Qs  DXCs  HQ  P     B     AVG
80    21    4   10  105   380  23.10
40    32   13   10  160   620  24.38
20    34   13    6  170   500  19.71
15     2    1    1   10    40  25.00
10     0    0    0    0     0   0.00
Tot   89   31   27  445  1540  22.30
Final Score: 1985
73 Andy, G4KNO.