The 2019/2020 Winter QRP Fox Hunt season started last night - and I almost forgot!
I had a class that I was teaching that lasted a bit longer than anticipated. I got home around 8:30 and sat down on the couch to relax a for a few minutes. A few minutes turned into a lot of minutes. Around 9:15 PM, I realized that the season's first 40 Meter hunt was probably in full swing.
The foxes were Drew K9CW in Illinois and Kevin W9CF in Arizona. Twiddling the dial, I was able to soon pick up packs of hounds, so I had a decent idea of where the foxes were. All I could do was wait and see if the bands would change so I could actually hear the foxes!
It wasn't long before Drew popped out of the background where I happened to be listening and became audible. I sent my call and he answered me. I sent my exchange; but I never heard a "QSL" as the QSB kicked in. The next time I heard Drew, he was working another station. Did I successfully work him? Or was he looking for fills that I missed, resulting in a busted QSO?
Decisions, decisions! Do I work him again and possibly annoy him with a dupe: or do I cross my fingers and hope that I appear in his log?
I went to the other end of the band where I heard the other pack of hounds to listen for Kevin. Nothing. After several minutes of bending my ears, I decided to go back to Drew's frequency. He was louder this time, so I decided to try something a bit different. I lowered my power to 1 Watt and sent out my call again. This time, I heard the exchange from beginning to end - a fox pelt was in the log!
I never did hear Kevin, not even a whisper. I guess 40 Meters just couldn't handle the New Jersey to Arizona haul. This morning, when Drew posted his log, I saw that I had made it - actually both times! Even though I didn't hear his "QSL", he mentioned that two other stations besides myself had worked him twice, once at a lower power, so for the record he only reported the QSOs made with lower power.
The band was pretty quiet last night on both antennas. I heard Drew equally as well with the HF9V as the W3EDP. I worked him on the HF9V. Tomorrow night is the first 80 Meter hunt. In the past few years, I have fared much better on 80 Meters than 40 Meters. It will be interesting to see how this season pans out.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!