Hi Bob

The great conditions of 10m made 2023 a hugely enjoyable CC – in fact, the conditions on ‘Ten’ reminded me of those back in 1970 just before I got my licence as G3ZZD

However, an IC-7610 into a 2-ele cubical spider quad at 15m is much better to use than an HRO MX into an attic-mounted dipole!  Perhaps not quite so much fun though?

I actually did go a bit back to the future this year in terms of equipment – N1MM+ got ditched in favor of EI5SD’s Super Duper – the latter is so much easier in terms of keeping track of bonuses to me. 

The PC keyboard was used entirely for logging and all sending done on a single-lever paddle attached to a Samson ETM9C keyer – with no memories used. And I ditched the IC-7610’s built-screen in favour of having an HDSDR bandscope – on the same screen as SD.

Going back to sending with my right hand and entering logging data with the left was quite testing, but kept me wide-awake, even during the middle of the night.   And, as used to happen, in the last couple of hours of the contest, my sending got pretty ragged.  Apologies to Peter G4BVH, who suffered the worse instance of the paddle getting away from me.

I also used a tip that learnt many years ago for contesting, when filtering in rigs was much simpler and cruder.  Leave the receive bandwidth about 500Hz and let your ears do the filtering.  I think I missed a lot less stations in pileups who were calling a couple of hundred Hz up or down.

As for the rest, 20m had a really rough, noisy feel in the first six hours of the contest, it was fantastic to hear 15m LP to the UK open up and to work right across VE on 10m.  Memo to myself: spend more time on 40m next year.

Raw score is 5,960 points, made up of:

Band                      80           40           20           15           10m       TOTAL

QSOs                     17           63           173         86           144         481

Bonuses               16           28           47           41           52           184        

Vy 73

Steve, VK6VZ (G3ZZD)