Last night was the second 80 Meter QRP Fox hunt of the season. I did not fare as well as last week. I made it into Ed N9EP's log - twice. Again, the first time I worked Ed, he faded into the QSB. I worked him again some 9 minutes later and heard the confirmation of our exchange. My apologies to my fellow hounds for the dupe.
The other Fox was Tim KR0U in Colorado, who I successfully worked in the 40 Meter Hunt on Tuesday night. No joy this time. Tim was a whisper most of the night, occasionally coming up to a 339 or so when propagation permitted. I did hear him all night, but this was one time when persistence didn't pay off! I called and called right until the closing bell, but could not make myself heard. It's frustrating as all heck when the Fox is calling CQ and you answer him and he calls CQ again, right in your face.
"I can hear him, how can he possibly NOT hear me ?!?" is a question that I often ask myself and probably a lot of you out there ask that, too. Such is the life of a QRPer. There are a couple things that you have to keep in your mind (and remind yourself, if you're me!) when you enter into the QRP game.
1) Propagation is NOT reciprocal. Just because you can hear someone; doesn't always mean the return trip is guaranteed. I am not enough of a propagation expert to explain why this is, I only know it to be true from life experience.
2) Sometimes QRN at the other end can be the problem. I can't tell you how many times, as a hound, that I have read where Foxes, in posting their logs, have apologized for high levels of noise at their end. If the local noise floor is quiet, all things being equal, I might make it into their logs. But if my signal is only about S4 or S5 and their noise level is S6 or S7, I'm not going to make it, am I?
Sometimes, that's how QRP rolls. You throw the dice, you take your chances. If things don't work out, don't get your undies all into a knot. There will be other times.
Next weekend is the CQ WW DX contest. I'm not into contesting these big contests. I'm a fan of the QRP Sprints that call for a shorter effort. What I like about these contests - this one and ARRL DX is that they allow me to experiment. I like to get on the air after the initial feeding frenzy is over. I like to lower my power to only a Watt or two, or perhaps QRPp and see how many DX stations I can work with uber low power. Another thing I like to do is twiddle the dial, looking for countries I have never worked while running at QRP power levels. Maybe this year, I'll set up the magloop and see how many DX entities I can snare using only that antenna.
I'll come right out with an admission. 100% totally dedicated QRP'ers (for whom this is like a religion) will find this admission ugly. They'll probably want to tear my QRP-ARCI membership card into shreds for this, but here it is:
If I come across a country I that have never, ever worked before and it is an ATNO (All Time New One) - the dial on that KXPA100 is going right up to 90 Watts or so in order to try and add that country to my DXCC total. Call me a heretic - declare me anathema - I don't care. I'm still a tiny bit enough of a DXer to try and claim as many as I can before I leave for The Big Shack In The Sky. I know I'll never make Honor Roll. Admittedly, I'm not dedicated enough for that, but if an opportunity presents itself, I'll do everything I can to take advantage of it in order get a "new one" in the log book.
Have fun this weekend!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!