Some random thoughts before turning in.
Just when you think you have a handle on this propagation thing. The 80 Meter Fox Hunt was especially and surprisingly tough tonight. The Fox that I thought was going to be easy pickings was a lot tougher to nab than expected, Ray K9XE in Illinois.
Usually, Illinois is a cakewalk from NJ. Signals between the two states are usually decent and reliable. Not so tonight! I tried nabbing Ray for most of the first hour without success. At that point, I figured I'd better try the other Fox, John N4KV before time ran out. I didn't want to flip the big switch with no pelts in the bag. Luckily, I was able to work John in TN after only a few calls, so I was "going home" with at least one fur.
I then switched back to Ray's frequency to find that he had QSYed a bit up to try and end run some QRM, and he went simplex. After a few calls, I got a W2?J. So I put out my call a few times more. Finally, Ray got my call and sent my exchange. And as I was sending mine ...... wouldn't you just know it? A net barged on frequency without checking to see if anyone was there. Ray eventually copied my exchange despite the net QRM, but it took us about a good two or three minutes to get it done. Usually, a two way exchange occurs in well under a minute. In spite of it all, I brought two pelts home, but the one I thought would be easy was painful, while the one I expected to be trouble was far easier. So much for expectations and conventional wisdom.
The other thing going through my mind concerns this year's Skeeter Hunt. Yes, it's still seven months away, but the wheels are already turning. I am toying with the idea of changing the exchange this year. Up until now, I have gone with the conventional RST, S/P/C, Skeeter # or power output. I am thinking of ditching the RST and using the op's first name instead. I am also thinking of seeing if I can get plaques donated for the top CW and SSB finishers.
Oh well, time to hit the sack. I am looking at a potential 12+ hour work day tomorrow. Ugh!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!