The 2014/2015 Fox hunting season came to an official close last evening - a very dismal close. All I was able to grab last night was skunk pelt as bot Foxes eluded me. 80 Meters was very noisy last night with QRN from springtime thunderstorms just filling the aether.
The two Foxes for the evening were Keith KB9WMJ in WI and Jim WA4ILO in GA. Jim was little more than a whisper all evening and I pretty much gave up any hope of working him early on. Keith in WI held out more hope. He started out low and built up strength throughout the evening. Towards the 3/4 mark of the hunt, he was a decent S7. My signal to him, on the other hand, must have been in the toilet, as I was not able to make myself heard. A+ for effort, F- for results.
The Foxes throughout the season deserve an A++++ for their efforts. Even though I missed a lot of the 40 Meter hunts due to teaching duties, it was a relatively good season for me with a batting average of higher than .500 for both 40 and 80 Meters. Any success on my part was do to their skill, fantastic ears and equipment more than my prowess, that's for sure!
Being a Fox in past years, my heart went out to both Keith and Jim last evening. It's very frustrating to be sending out CQ FOX continuously for 90 minutes and not being able to hear all the hounds calling. You're there to make QSOs, and it's annoying when you can't, whether it's due to crummy propagation or horrid band conditions.
But alas, this is why the 80 Meter hunts end in April. Although I suppose you could have 40 Meter hunts throughout the year - winter and long dark nights are the best friend of the 80 Meter hunts. The summer season will bring the hunts to 20 Meters. My average goes way down in the summer as the band is long and it seems that a majority of the Hams who volunteer to be Foxes live too close, by comparison. Many are the times in the summer when DX stations are much louder than the Fox being pursued.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!