Today I did a 5 park Rove at K-1916 Skyway Fishing Pier, K-3635 Madira Bickel Mound, K-3663 Terra Ceia Preserve, K-3613 Cockroach Bay Preserve, and K3627 James Van Fleet Trail. The rove netted 298 total contacts on 40, 30, 20, and 17 meters. 166 contacts were SSB and 132 were CW. Countries worked were Canada, Belize, Germany, Finland, Portugal, France Belarus, Ukraine, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, and the Slovak Republic.
My rig was my trustworthy Kenwood TS-480SAT powered by two 20Ah Bioenno lithium phosphate batteries. The antenna for today’s activations was a 213′ stainless steel telescoping whip into a Chameleon Hybrid Mini which was on a Tram tri-magnet mount. The mag mount was placed in the center of the roof of my Toyota Camry. My key was an American Morse Bushwacker single lever paddle.
Propagation varied with each activation. 40 meters was open most of the day, although the noise level was extremely high. 20 and 17 had lots of QSB which mostly affected the European stations. There were quite a few DX stations I heard faintly but was unable to make out their call signs. As usual 30 meters was reliable for CW but it was hard to hear a 599 signal.
My problem continues to be picking out CW call signs in heavy pileups. I can tell DX stations are losing patience because they move on and never return. I use the RIT control to vary pitch to pick out stations but it does not always work. I find that DX stations are less inclined to stop sending when I call for a specific prefix. For instance, I heard an IK1 station but did not get the rest of the call on the first go round. I sent “IK1I IMI” but other stations kept sending their call on top of the IK1 station. It gets frustrating. One tactic I use to some success is simply stop sending. Eventually one station will send its call while the rest of the pile up is listening. It does not work every time but it helps. Oh, I eventually did work that IK1 station.
At Madira Bickel Mound I encountered the ire of local residents. This park is located in an upscale community. It has a small parking lot. There is no place else you can activate from except this parking lot. A local resident was walking her dog and did not take kindly to seeing my antenna. She made her displeasure known verbally and non-verbally. I simply smiled and kept on operating. I ended the activation early so as not be become obnoxious. There is a fine line between using your right to operate and being a good ambassador of the hobby. In this case I had to thread the needle.