As good as Saturday afternoon and evening were, Sunday proved to be a huge disappointment. Conditions here had deteriorated remarkably and the openings that I'd enjoyed earlier just didn't develop today. The QRN was much higher today and signals seemed to be several S-units below Saturday's levels. In fact, I just took a quick listen to the bands (it's around 11 pm Eastern) and it seems totally deserted.
Things were so rotten that I probably only operated an hour, maybe an hour and a half throughout the entire day. I checked conditions several times, but considering I had the headache from you-know-where, I opted to find other distractions. This has me hankering for better days when the conditions are optimal.
Nevertheless, here's my totals:
This was certainly a contest of highs and lows. I went from having to call stations four and five times to consistently getting through on the first call.
A few interesting things that I noted:
1. I heard one, count'em ONE, station from Japan the entire contest. Apparently that path wasn't open for me.
2. A couple of weeks ago I purchased and built K1EL's fabulous WinKeyer USB keyer. I spent quite a bit of time getting it just right and making sure that all my serial connections for radio control to the FT-1000MP were correct. The next time, however, I'll spend more time familiarizing myself with all the function key commands. To all the folks who were expecting to hear my report and serial number, I'm very sorry that you often heard "CQ" or "TU" or "AGN" when I meant to hit F2. Heh-heh.
3. For the next CW contest I'm planning to use the K2. As wonderful as the 500 Hz filter is in the FT-1000MP (no ringing at all) and having the second receiver available, the filters in the K2 beat the snot out of the 1000. And that's without the DSP option. I could eliminate adjacent stations with ease, it was truly a pleasure. Now I know what all those people are talking about when they say this is a great CW rig. Not to mention the QSK is unbelievably smooth. I switched from the Yaesu to the Elecraft Saturday evening and never looked back.
4. Always check closely in between the spots on the bandspread display. I often ran down the band hitting all the spots as quickly as I could and then went back and dug in between those listed to unearth more stations.
5. Investing in dual monitors was not such a bad idea. It may seem superfluous and unnecessary but it's nice to have enough room to effectively spread out all the N1MM logging windows.
Despite the lousy conditions today, it sure is nice to hear the bands full. Lastly, thanks to all the great operators that took the time to dig my signal out of the mud and didn't loose their patience when I asked for repeats.