Another good day!

Two for two Thursday, let’s call it!

Second day back to lunchtime QRP operating, and another good day.  The higher bands were alive again. This time I worked Russia R2014ME (I had worked R2014E yesterday), Belarus EW8O and Mexico XE2I.  And …. for the heck of it, I wanted to see if I could break the monstrous pileup that was foisting itself upon W1AW/5 in New Mexico. 15 Meters was hot and the band was long. The amount of European stations calling W1AW/5 was huge and LOUD!  Would it be possible for a QRP station, powered at 5 Watts to break that melee?

Not only was is possible, but it happened.  I made it into the log.  But it took some listening and some figuring. The W1AW/5 station set up a pattern. He was working split, and was announcing “U”, which of course meant that he was listening up.  But he was listening “in an race track pattern” as it were. By carefully listening for a while, I was able to determine a pattern:

1) W1AW/5 works a station
2) W1AW/5 moves the listening frequency up a few Hertz
3) W1AW/5 works the next station
4) W1AW/5 moves the listening frequency up a few Hertz
5) W1AW/5 works the next station

But he did this only to a point. Once he reached a point known only to him, he reversed the procedure.  He would work a station and then listen a few Hertz DOWN from the last station he worked. He kept doing this until he reached a “lower UP frequency” that he determined and then started the whole business over again.  

If I didn’t make myself clear (sometimes I have a problem doing that), what he was doing was changing his listening frequency in a circular pattern, even though he was always listening “UP”.  For example – W1AW/5 was on, let’s say 21.030 MHZ – he was working stations between 21.031 and 21.034 MHz.  And he was ping-ponging between the two. He would start listening up at 21.031 Hz and would keep moving his listening frequency until he hit 21.034 and then work back down to 21.031 and then back up to 21.034 and so on and so on and so on.

After determining what he was doing, I adjusted my transmit frequency to “get in his way”. After about three or four minutes of trying, I was able to make myself heard. Now I suppose that if I didn’t listen as much as I did, I might have made it into the log anyway, just by sheer dumb luck. But by determining what he was doing, I shortened the time (considerably, I think) that it took to get into his log. And during these lunchtime QRP sessions, time is a precious commodity, so saving time is a very good thing.

As I’ve stated before, I’m not going out of my way to take the pains to work all 50 W1AW stations.  However, today I sensed a challenge that I felt like taking on.  It’s good practice for the Fox hunts and those pesky DXpedition pileups.

Speaking of the QRP Fox hunts, I am one of the two 80 Meter Foxes tonight. This is my last stint of the 2013/2014 season.  It’s been fun and I hope to hand out a lot of pelts tonight.  As a Hound, this has been a particularly exhilarating season!  According to the last tally – I have worked 25 out of 32 Foxes on 40 Meters (78%). On 80 Meters, I have worked 24 out of 30 Foxes (80%).  This has been my best season – ever! The season ends in just a few weeks, and I hope to continue with a strong finish. Wait a second, I probably just went and jinxed myself!  Then again, I guess I can’t really jinx myself as I owe all my success to the extraordinary ears and antennas of the Foxes.

One last note.  If you get a chance, take a gander at the February 2014 edition of CQ magazine, if you can get your hands on one.  There’s an article on my lunchtime QRP sessions that was written and submitted by yours truly. Rich W2VU felt it was worth including – hopefully by accepting my article, he’s not scraping the bottom of the barrel too hard!

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

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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