I felt like I was doing better than expected (using my usual method of setting very low expectations and being fully prepared not to meet them) until late on Saturday I was called for a work escalation and had to spend a lot of time on it. Managed to take care of it working remotely but sharing my time between the work and the radio certainly threw a wrench into my contesting gears. Or given that it was a Commonwealth contest perhaps it was a spanner not a wrench. The good side of it was that maintaining motivation in the second part of the contest when I usually run out of stations I can hear and work with my vertical was less of a challenge – I was busy otherwise. Propagation has marginally improved over the last year but still much worse than the top of the cycle. The best that can be said for 10 and 15 m is that they gave me the sensation of a coma without the worry and inconvenience; 20 m – average but not much that I can do with 100 W and an 80/40 vertical; 40 and 80 m – noisy but otherwise OK. 80 m was a trickster: I felt deaf and inconsiderate for the longest time as I knew the callers were there when I tried to run but couldn’t quite get them out of the noise and felt really bad causing hurt or inconvenience to others; and then late in the game it opened for a couple hours allowing me to fairly easily get my usual share of Gs and assorted others. Strange this but have not heard a single VK or ZL the second sunrise and the only band I heard them at any time was 40. As usual it was tough slogging with LP and an 80/40 vertical. But a positive side of not using a yagi or even a hexbeam is that it builds character and grows hair on your chest. And as usual I cannot help it – I like this contest very much. See you next year…