Hi Bob

As I have a very modest station I had a simple goal: get to 100 QSOs.

Things got off to a good start (11pm here). 47 in the bag inside the first two hours with the VEs in particular coming through strongly on 40m and 80m. I hit the hay and then made my first mistake in not getting up for the sunrise grayline shift. Instead I got up at 8am and called CQ on 15m and then 20m for an hour without a single taker.

Daytime propagation in ZL at this stage of the solar cycle is a bit like Donald Trump’s brain. Generally a barren desert with the odd oasis of logic shimmering at you in the distance, except when you get there you are just as likely to find it is a mirage. Saying that I managed one highlight. As a bit of a fun project over last couple of weeks I have been looking at how to remote into my station. The BERU gave me plenty of time to experiment and I managed to get it to a proof of concept stage by making a number of QSOs from a laptop in the living room. I might just do BERU from a beach somewhere next year!

I had high hopes for the last four to five hours as 80m and 40m opened up nicely to the UK, when I noticed the SWR started going haywire on my inverted L. An inspection found a joiner at the antenna end was very warm due it seems to moisture getting in under the protective tape so that was the end of my contest. A paltry 84 QSOs for a very long time on the air and I probably missed the best opening.

I can only describe my overall experience as the contest equivalent of self flagellation.

Mark ZL3AB