After reading interesting posts from other BERU participants I decided to add my few cents worth, but first some background info. I grew up in the London area and passed the City and Guilds RAE in 1959 at the age of 17. Still have the original certificate somewhere. The first morse attempt (attempt being the operative word) was a dismal failure. Then things such as an apprenticeship, sandwich course for the HND/IEE exams, a move to Canada at the age of 22, and subsequent work activities plus a marriage intervened and amateur radio took a back seat for many years. Not uncommon I suppose.
I received the call VE7JKZ in 1976 whilst living in Ottawa and made my first BERU a year or so later. Since then I’ve only missed one BERU as best I recall. Some 20 years later it was a move to Calgary and three BERUs as VE6JKZ. Then to Richmond BC where I operated as VE7JKZ, then after a couple of years as the VA7RAC HQ station more recently VE7RAC, so forty years or so as a BERU participant.
Now living in Victoria BC the station has not changed much over the years. A beam at 45ft with 2 elements each for 20, 15 and 10 plus a rotary dipole on the same boom for 40. For the low bands an inverted L which can be remotely switched for 80/160. Living in suburbia noise is the perennial problem. S7/8 on 80m, 40m can be from S3/4 in the early mornings to S5 later on, 20m S2/3 and sometimes S5 in the afternoons when something somewhere comes to life for a few hours. Back in the early Ottawa days pre- internet, PCs, switching power supplies etc my 20m noise would barely move the S meter. Radio is a Picastar a la G3XJP with two home made linears. One with a pair of 4-125A tubes for 160 through 40 the other with a single 3-400Z for 40 through 10.
I found it interesting that many reported worse propagation this year than last. Not my experience at all. I recall CQ’ing for many hours last year and it was all I could do to finish with a hundred or so contacts. This year I made 195.
Being on Canada’s left coast it is frustrating to hear the VE3s working the Gs on 40/80 and not hearing them at all. Similarly on 20m where I hear only a few Gs. On the other hand it’s water all the way to VK/ZL so probably easier for me than the folks in the east. The activity from VK was most impressive, particularly the WIA HQ stations. With 195 Qs my total score came out as 3,190.