The 40 Meter Fox hunt turned out to be radio "workout". The two Foxes for the night were Kevin W9CF in Arizona and Tom KV2X in New York.
I turned on the K3 about twenty minutes ahead of time, to hear the "D" beacon from Odessa, in the Ukraine, coming in at about 579/589. I figured right there and then, that barring some kind of propagation miracle, that KV2X was an impossibility - too close.
As it turned out, I was correct in my assumption, and I did not hear Tom all night. But Kevin W9CF was another matter. Kevin was audible, but the QSB was very bad. His signal was anywhere from ESP to 559. At peaks, he was very workable.
At about an hour into the hunt, the pack was thinning out and Kevin was calling CQ FOX with no takers. It was frustrating, and I was bouncing from antenna to antenna, trying to figure out what would work.
It wasn't until the "four minute to go" mark, that I was able to work Kevin. And I think what worked in the end was that I changed my code speed. All evening, I was attempting to work him at about 23 WPM, which was a match for his speed. When I slowed my speed to 20 WPM, it wasn't long until I was heard. By doing something to "stick out", I was able to garner Kevin's attention and get in his log.
This was a good lesson learned. I think I'll have to remember this one and pull it out from time to time in the DX pileups. It might not work there, but it can't hurt to try.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!