Boy, if I thought last year’s QRP to the Field (QTTF) contest was rough, this year was even worse. Solar wackiness and high local noise levels teamed up and made for a miserable day.
My (far) better half and I spent our first camping trip of the year at nearby French Creek State Park here in southeastern Pennsylvania. We were in a campsite that we have used many times over the years. Radio-wise, I used my 29.5-foot vertical and 9:1 unun. Since we were having an unusually chilly and windy April day, I wimped out and operated from inside our little travel trailer.
In between some beginning-of-the-season maintenance tasks on the trailer, I planned to get on the radio for some QTTF fun. Sadly, there wasn’t much fun to be had. Reportedly, there was a G2-level geomagnetic storm on Friday with effects that appeared to last through the weekend. I haven’t seen the bands that bad in a while. To make matters worse, our little trailer had some larger RVs for neighbors this weekend and all of their electrical doo-dads were causing some horrendous noise levels on the bands. The 40M band was the worst with near-constant S9 noise levels.
My high noise levels and weak signals on the bands made for a frustrating day. My contacts were few and far between. A few times, I just had to walk away from the rig and do something else. At the end of the day, I had worked only 2 other QTTF stations and 2 International Marconi Day (IMD) special event stations.
My apologies to those who tried to work me and to those who suffered through my requests for repeats. I hope things go better next year.
72, Craig WB3GCK