On the very last day of 2018 I sit in a Starbucks early on a rain filled morning trying to remember the most notable parts of the expiring year.

I’m looking at my station log for a little inspiration and see that (not including any activity this evening) I logged 1225 total contacts during the last year. That’s down about ten percent from the previous year and probably the result of this bottomless solar minimum.

Of those, 521 were made using CW, 19 SSB, and 685 via FT8. I started last year intent on ignoring FT8 but later jumped back in the waterfall and made those 685 contacts after June 1st.

That activity resulted in my being ranked #8,918 world-wide and #82 in Indiana in the ARRL International Grid Chase.

The log shows I worked 49 DXCC entities in 2018, none were ATNO’s but several were new for band and modes. My LoTW return rate has ticked up ever so slightly to 51 percent. This has caused me to re-consider the value of logging altogether. I prefer CW but these contacts yield such paltry LoTW returns (30%) that it seems a wasted effort to continue.

FYI - digital operators confirm via LoTW at a rate greater than 90 percent.

2018 was the year I abandoned interest in DMR and D-STAR. While I’ve typically been out front in evangelizing new technologies and forms of communications in our hobby, these faux radio systems are too commercial and remind me too much of local repeater activity that has been in steady decline for at least two decades.

I attended OzarkCon in April and Dayton Hamvention in May and then wrapped up the year at the Ft Wayne Hamfest in November. I wanted to attend W9DXCC and the AMSAT Space Symposium in 2018 but missed both of these due to work obligations.

I bought a brand new, fully-loaded Elecraft KX3 with a PX3 Panaptor that has become my primary station transceiver in 2018.

Check back tomorrow when I’ll highlight my plans for 2019 along with my annual predictions for amateur radio in the New Year.