Driving home on Friday evening, Dan (whose call I've forgotten, sorry...2E0 from Wootton Bassett) asked me if I was going to take part in the contest. I laughed and said no, I'd retired! And to be honest, though I didn't say so, I hadn't really got an plans to 'give any points away'. I did say to Dan, though, if I heard his contest station, G5FS/P, I'd give them a shout.
On Saturday we had a lovely picnic at Blenheim Palace in the sunshine. We headed back in the late afternoon and I checked Twitter. Pretty much the first tweet I saw was from a DXCluster 'bot' which tweeted a DX spot of my friend Allan, GM4ZUK/P being heard from Scotland in the Netherlands. I always like to work Allan, so I headed up to the shack to listen. I swung the beam around to the north ( a tricky direction for me, as the antennas are a little shielded by part of the roof). Allan was coming through at fair strength with a few calling. I tried several calls on SSB but didn't get very far, so I decided to call on CW - Allan managed to dig me out of the noise! Thank you! Conditions weren't great, but it was nice to make the contact.
Anyway, over the weekend I made a decent number of contacts, purely search and pounce, on 50, 70, 144 and 432MHz. I did work Dan's contest station, G5FS/P on on 144 and 432MHz. GM4ZUK/P was the best DX on 144MHz, though F6KCP/P in JN18 was a decent distance. ON4AZW/P, EI9E/P, MM0CPS/P, MJ/PA1AW were all nice ones on 144MHz - with lots of G portables worked too. On 432MHz, PA6NL/P from JO21 was (as always) the best DX - with a great number of G portables as well. Should have beamed towards GM on 432, but I didn't seem to.
With the high noise level on 50MHz, it's not ideal for working tropo, but I was pleased to work G0FBB/P in JO01 as well more local portables.
On Sunday, I concentrated on 70MHz. Before the contest started, I was surprised to hear EI9E/P from IO62 coming through - and I heard them a few more times during the morning - but couldn't raise them on the 7W and vertical - I'd have been surprised if they heard me! Best DX on tropo was G3WZT/P in IO90, but G4RFR/P from IO80 was a good one too. There was some Es around too and I worked S51DI (JN76) and 9A6R (JN83) as well.
There was some Es on 50MHz during Sunday afternoon as well - I drove down to see the bees and worked HB9HLM, 9A9AA and IW1ALW (I think!) from the mobile as I drove back and forth. SV9GLW was coming through too - presumably a double hop Es opening.