Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2018 14:40:53 GMT

When I heard a mention of visible aurora in Scotland on the BBC radio wx forecast at 7am yesterday I knew this wasn’t going to be a weekend for wire dipoles and single element verticals and I wasn’t wrong. 12 contacts in the first hour set the scene, and 3 of those were calling and being moved by Don G3BJ. Didn’t improve much until Steve GW0GEI arrived at around 1400 to inject some juju but the hf bands were a real struggle and we appreciated the well equipped GD6XX just across the water for giving us at least a qso on 10m. 15m was almost a write off and the early hours were spent on 20 and 40 until I moved to 80m at around 1800 and enjoyed some relief with nice runs of Gs; it felt suddenly like an 80m CC and lifted the spirits somewhat. There was a lot of esp copying with many signals in and out of the noise with several abandoned Qs and a good number of decent signals ignoring, or struggling with, our calls. At one point I became aware there was a Q zero signal buried in the noise while CQing on 80m and being ‘told’ to standby by Chris G3SJJ who could hear it was a VK calling CQ on the frequency. Felt a bit like an elbow at the time but when I realised the situation I was happy enough to slip away and let Chris, and then David at M7T(?) work them in the spirit of cooperation and harmony – frequency fights in Beru just wouldn’t be cricket would it? (and thanks for the appreciative words David;-). We never did get VK on 80m although a couple of ZLs did make it this morning.

Seemed an improved turn out from Australasia this year but a dearth from the Caribbean and Africa. Not counting Nigel 3B8XF (thanks!!) Brian 9J2BO was our only African qso(s). Around 0530 I was called by 9 ZLs in a row on 40m and there were plenty of VKs too so certainly not all bad. I felt many of the regular travellers stayed at home this year which just emphasises how much this contest benefits from the endeavours of those happy to make the effort. As usual the VEs did the contest proud too…

One amusing anecdote concerns a spot that kept appearing in red for TJ3X, a CCA (Cameroon). But this always coincided with YT3X in the bandmap and was the only audible signal. Despite the cw being excellent several skimmers seemed to be having problems decoding YT as TJ. You can see it from data downloaded from the RBN, very odd….

Thanks to Steve for making the trip up north, perhaps he might add his thoughts later. And thanks to my xyl for providing tasty sustenance and generally suffering our mysterious habits with good humour; and not forgetting a thumbs up to Nick G4FAL for sorting all this G6XX stuff.

RSGB BERU Summary Sheet

Start Date : 2018-03-10

CallSign Used : GW6XX
Operator(s) : GW0ETF GW0GEI

Power : HIGH

Gridsquare : IO73WF

Band QSOs Pts Cty Sec Pt/Q
3.5 169 1495 26 5 8.8
7 142 1845 50 6 13.0
14 76 1455 46 6 19.1
21 4 100 3 1 25.0
28 2 50 1 1 25.0
Total 393 4945 126 19 12.6

Score : 4,945

K3/Acom 1000
Wire dipoles 10, 20, 40, 80m; single wire 1/4 wave verticals for 40 and 15m

73, Stew, GW0ETF