Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Between a rock and a hard place

That's where I found myself tonight, as one of the two Foxes in the 40 Meter QRP Fox Hunt. As a Fox, you try to find a relatively clear frequency, where you can work the Hounds rather easily. And that's precisely what I thought I did tonight. I found a frequency, called "QRL?", and hearing no response in the negative, I began working Hounds. For the first few minutes, things were going great. Then I found myself giving the Fox exchange to stations who weren't coming back to me.

After that sinking-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach "uh oh" feeling quickly passed by, I snuck a peak at the Cluster, to realize that I was being encroached by one of the W1AW/X pileups! A lot of those stations had no interest in me, and probably couldn't even hear me, for that matter.

So I quickly QSYed to calmer waters and decided to operate simplex instead of split. Even though there was a lot of QRM and the band was treating me to a lot of QSB, a very quick after-the-event count shows that I handed out close to 60 pelts.

A post-hunt e-mail from Todd N9NE informed me that I had managed to position myself right in between W1AW/8 and W1AW/4. I'm glad I didn't know that! Some things you're better off not knowing, and I think that is one of them.

My ears hurt a little bit from trying to pull out some weaker call signs from among the loud QRM, but I am pretty satisfied by my effort. I wanted to work at least 60 stations going in, and I made that a goal for myself. Looks like I just made it.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

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