For those of us that enjoy CW as well as QRP operating, the Winter QRP Fox Hunt nights make for an exciting combination of both interests.
The QRP Fox Hunt is an operating event during which low power (QRP) stations or "Hounds", attempt to make contact with specific QRP stations designated as "The Fox".
Spanning a twenty week period from November to April, each week sees two Fox Hunt events ... one on Tuesday evening and another on Thursday evening. The Tuesday night event sees the Hounds go hunting on 40m, while on Thursdays, the move to 80m, for an even greater challenge.
For each evening, there are two assigned 'Fox stations', usually one in the east and one in the west. The object of the hunt is for the hounds (you and I) to find and work the fox ... both foxes if you can, as bagging both is the ultimate goal. This all sounds pretty easy except for the fact that all foxes and all hounds are limited to 5W output or less, and therein lies the fun! If you have never heard a pileup of QRP stations, it is worth tuning in just to listen ... a multi-station cacophony of QRP signals, all around 559 or weaker ... it's not your typical kilowatt-laden ear crushing pileup!
The 40m foxes will be found between 7030 and 7050, while the ones on 80m will be between 3550 and 3570 kHz. Most foxes make a habit of working split, usually listening 'up 1', so once you find the pileup, the fox is easier to locate.
The hunts begin at 0200Z and run until 0329Z ... early evening here on the west coast and mid-evening out east.
Complete rules and a 'Fox Hunt Primer' may be found on the QRP Fox Hunt home page here. For discussion of the individual events and soapbox comments, join the QFox ioGroup site here or join the chat in Facebook's QFox QRP Foxhunt Group.
If you're in search of some challenging week-night operating fun, you may just find what you are looking for with the bi-weekly QRP Fox Hunts. Working both foxes is not as easy as it might sound and is an excellent test for your antenna system and of your CW operating skills. Come and join the fun this coming Tuesday ... no special hunting permits required!