I had an "empty spot" in the Midwest while working this event. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't work a "0" station. I heard "one" in Kansas (on 80 meters) and he tried his very best to pull me out of the swarm but couldn't get my last letter. We could never have exchanged the basics for the entire contact (and on 80 meters) I was amazed he could even hear me. It seems my signal either bounced just before or just after the Midwest. Changing bands back and forth just didn't work for me.
I worked everything else (9 out of 10)
I especially liked this event because a "straight key" puts everyone on an "even" playing field and the vast majority of stations were sending less than 15 wpm. It was a pleasure to exchange the "basics" with club stations. Everyone had VERY good fists with excellent spacing and always matched the others stations speed. I even heard contacts being made up on the "top" of the 40 meter band where it's common to hear new operators. These people were professionals!
My state contacts were: New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah, California, Montana, and Washington. I was especially happy to work the Washington and Montana stations. Washington was a little over 2,000 miles and Montana very near the 2,000 mile mark from here.
This "straight key" celebration has got me back into the habit of using my Bunnell key. I really don't enjoy working any station above 15 wpm. and it was SO pleasurable to work these guys that I will only use a "paddle" on the DX frequencies now. Although these exchanges were "standard" (name, qth and club number) there wasn't the rush onward to another "quick" station like some major contests.
I really like the "personality" that only comes with a "straight key".