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Old November 9th 19, 07:06 AM posted to,
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Default [W2LJ] Every now and then

W2LJ QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Every now and then

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 12:53 PM PST

something happens that just makes your day!

I got an e-mail from Andre WI9AJR asking me to check out Page 83 of
December QST. Well, as a Lifemember and part of a captive audience, it
seems like just about every Ham I know gets their QST before I do! So I
did the next best thing - I checked out the online digital edition and this
is what I saw:

Two Skeeter Hunters, Andre WI9AJR and his son Etienne WI9EJR both passed
their Extra exam upgrade on the same day. Father and son Extras !!! How
cool is that? The fact that Etienne is wearing a NJQRP Skeeter Hunt t-shirt
is just icing on the cake.
Way to go guys! Congratulations and I look forward to hearing you in the
2020 Hunt next August!
In the same edition, were the 2019 Field Day results. As I expected, NJ2SP
wasn't quite up to snuff this year - but still, we had a respectable score.

A few of us came down with some kind of stomach thing and we were
definitely not up to our "A Game". 2020 will be different - just wait until
next year!
72 de Larry W2LJQRP - When you care to send the very least!

So how did the 80 Meter QRP Fox hunt go?

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 05:32 AM PST

Quite well, actually. In fact, better than the 40 Meter hunt.

I had fears though. For 80 Meters my W3EDP is my antenna of choice.
However, there is SOMETHING in the neighborhood that is giving me S9 QRN on
80 Meters with the W3EDP, right around the QRP frequencies (as luck would
have it). I can hear much better with the HF9V, but I think I can be heard
better when I transmit using the W3EDP.

Last night, it didn't seem to matter, though. I was lucky enough to QSO
with both foxes, even though conditions weren't the best from the
beginning. Twiddling the dial, I came across the "upper fox" first.

Before I go any further, let me explain that terminology to those of you
who have never taken part in a QRP Fox hunt. The 80 Meter fox hunt playing
field is from 3.550 MHz to 3.570 MHz, with the "half point marker" being
3.560 MHz, the QRP watering hole. One fox hides in the upper half, and one
in the lower half. It's the same for the 40 Meter hunts. The "woods" are
from 7.030 MHz to 7.050 MHz with 7.040 MHz being the "half point marker".
One fox is the "upper fox" and one fox is the "lower fox" - or that's the
way it's supposed to work. Sometimes they trick us up, or due to a
DXpedition or some other thing, they may hide in the same half.

As I was saying, I was twiddling the dial and came across the "upper fox"
which was Drew K9CW. He was fairly weak; and for IL to NJ on 80 Meters, I
expected him to be a bit louder. I stuck with it though, and after numerous
calls I finally made contact at 0226 UTC.

With over an hour left in the hunt, it was time to go look for Jim N0UR,
who should be the lower fox. He WAS the lower fox, but was barely audible.
That was surprising, because Jim is a lot like Todd N9NE. Whenever I hear
either of them, I usually have to lower the AF Gain or they will both
routinely send the ear buds rocketing out of my head. Jim started coming up
and I worked him at 0235 UTC, but dang it! QSB kicked in just as I handed
it back to Jim for the end of the QSO. Did he hear me? Did he ask for
fills? Do I cross my fingers and hope I made it into the log? What's a
hound to do?

I decided to sit there and listen for a while. As I heard other friends
work Jim, eventually the string of hounds started to peter out. Around 0300
UTC or so, Jim started calling "CQ Fox" over and over and over again with
no takers. Feeling pretty sure that I wasn't going to deny anyone else a
QSO, I decided to go for an insurance contact. This time at 0305 UTC, I
was able to hear Jim from start to finish!

Both foxes posted their logs to the q-fox e-mail reflector this morning,
and I was able to confirm I was in both their logs. The funny thing about
last night is the way it ended. For most of the night, I really had to
strain my ears to hear both Drew and Jim. It was pure delight when
a "tuner-upper" came up on Jim's frequency while I had my AGC turned off!
But for the last ten minutes or so from about 0320 to 0330 UTC, BOTH Jim
and Drew came up to solid 599s. They both would have been easy pickings in
the last ten minutes, but who knew the bands would change that way?

The best advice that I can give to anyone contemplating on joining in on
the QRP Fox hunt fun is to work them as early as you can. If you're not
sure you made it into the log, try again a second time only if the fox is
lonely and is calling CQ with no takers. Sometimes there are hounds calling
right up until the very end of a hunt and it's not cool to deprive someone
of what may be their only chance just for your insurance QSO. That's when
you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

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