There is an IARU contest on this weekend and the thought occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to try to make some SSB contacts with the Wonder Loop and FT-817ND. It started well enough on 20m when S53M came right back to my call and completed the contact without difficulty. A few minutes later DJ1AA was in the log - I had to repeat the exchange a few times and make sure he logged my call as ILO not LLO, but he got it in the end. But after that, nothing. One station copied me as G4LLO and gave up after failing to get the year of my license. Another heard that a G4 was calling, but that was all.
I think conditions must have been extremely poor. I cannot recall a contest where no stations were above S9 on the FT-817 meter.
I then decided to try my K2 to get a bit of extra power - 10W instead of 5W. But it was as if I was not there. I started to wonder if something had gone wrong with the Wonder Loop so I took the feeder from my multi-band dipole and plugged it into the K2's other antenna socket. But there was very little difference in signal strengths between the two.
While tuning around 40m I heard DJ2OD calling CQ on CW, so I plugged my Russian straight key into the K2 and called him on the Wonder Loop using 5 watts. He came straight back to my call, gave me a 579 report and we completed a QSO. No hassle, no frustration!