One of the things that intrigues me the most (and frustrates me the most) about Amateur Radio is the mystical qualities of propagation. Over the weekend in the DX Contest, I worked a good chunk of the world with 5 Watts. Latvia, Turkmenistan, Croatia, Kaliningrad, all of these were not a problem.
Tonight, on the 80 Meter Foxhunt, I barely worked Dave AB9CA in Alabama! I called for over an hour and finally made a successful exchange with him at 0310 UTC . Yes, there was QSB; but for the most part, Dave was pretty loud into New Jersey. I was wracking my brains trying to figure out why Dave wasn't hearing me. Usually we have no problem - tonight was a struggle to say the least. Switching between the wire and the vertical had no effect. Finally, I began to vary my transmit frequency a bit more and must have stumbled my way into his passband.
After that, I listened for the other Fox in Arizona, W7KXB; but he was just a whisper. And with only about ten minutes left in the hunt, I knew my chances to work him were "slim and none; and slim left town". And "slim" did indeed, leave town - I was not successful.
But I suppose that is why they are called "Fox hunts" and not "shooting Foxes in a barrel"; but it does make you shake your head when you're hearing a guy fine, but are not being heard fine in return. Who said propagation was reciprocal, anyway?
72 de Larry W2LJ