Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Propagation is one of those "magical" things

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

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