As the hunt began, my gut instinct was to listen for N1IX first. I mean, go figure, right? New Jersey to New Hampshire --- 80 Meters --- in the Winter and at night. No brainer, right?
Right! But even though Dave N1IX was a relatively easy catch, he wasn't as loud as I thought he would be. I was expecting 599 or better. He ended up being 569/579 at best. But I did get his pelt in my bag, so it was off to hunt for Alabama Dave.
I found him, rather easily, also. However, his signal swung wildly. He was either 559 at best, or was completely in the mud. I ended up having to turn the K3's AGC off so I could hear him decently. The static crashes did wonders for my bleeding ears!
Even though I was able to hear Dave AB9CA throughout, it seemed he just wasn't hearing me. I kept switching between the HF9V, the W3EDP and the EDZ, but no matter which antenna, nothing seemed to be working. I was considering lighting a signal flare, but that would not have been Kosher.
And Dave must have been having receiving problems also. He went back to several stations, only to have them fade away on him, and forcing him to send them a "nil". And he was also changing his listening frequency often, probably to get away from local QRM and QRN on his end. In all, it made for an interesting time.
But luck was on my side, and with about 15 minutes left in the hunt, Dave finally picked me out of the muck. Conditions were bad enough that I had to repeat my half of the exchange for him once. But in the end, I got a "TU", so all's well that ends well.
QRP - patience and perseverance DO pay off!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!