The evening started off in the best possible manner. I stumbled upon Drew K9CW's loud signal from Indiana right off the bat. Realizing that this loud signal was indeed one of the Foxes, I quickly called him and worked him at 0202 UTC. Two minutes in, I think that's the earliest I've ever worked a Fox in all the years I've been doing this. Drew had a fantastic signal - an actual 579 and if you look at all the blue and green dots on the map above, you'll see he handed out a lot of pelts.
John AJ1DM in Rhode Island was a whole different story. If you look at the red and green dots on the map, you'll see he handed out a lot of pelts as well. But if you look at the map carefully, you'll see there are no red dots from Ottawa to Washington DC, save for a solitary green dot in New York, a Hound who was able to work both John and Drew. It's hard to see in the photo above as he's right behind that blue dot in northwest New York State. John's RF was literally flying right over our heads destined for other distant Hounds, away from the Northeastern states.
I could tell where John was by listening for the pack chasing him, and then going down 1 kHz. After the hunt was over, I plugged him into RBN to see if I was correct in guessing where he was. It turned out that I wasn't chasing phantoms - my detective work proved fruitful, and I had the right frequency all along. Sometimes when signals are so weak you can fool yourself into hearing something that's not really there. Happily, that wasn't the case this time.
I was able to hear him only by using the KX3's APF function, and only then at ESP levels. I knew he was there, but that was about it, save for one single time when his signal rose out of the background well enough to throw out my call. He promptly returned to the dust of the noise floor, and at about 0300 UTC or so, he completely vanished and I was no longer able to hear his ESP level signal. Determined, I hung around to the bitter end, hoping that John might somehow re-appear (loudly) - but no joy.
So I guess one out of two isn't bad. The HF9V was the weapon of choice last night and served me well in being able to retire for the night with at least one Fox pelt.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!