Now that Field Day is behind us I thought I would take to the air waves over my Independence Day vacation. I had a 4 day week end and decided (with permission of my XYL who would rather have gone on a trip somewhere) to spend the time Colony hunting since Field Day was a disappointment. Field Day. I usually do Field Day with one or both local radio clubs. This year I planned operating QRP portable on batteries. At the last minute I decided to help at the club and loan my jump kits. I have one for VHF which we use for a talk-in station and an HF kit that I use for portable operation.
Well, last minute planning turned to last minute frustration as my trusty IC-735 failed to work on SSB. CW was fine, but no SSB. I swapped out the HM-12 with my David Clark H10-76 headset that I converted to an Acousticom 5730-CA Electret microphone. Still no SSB. So the IC-735 became a CW only station. All was not lost since our club did get on the local news and the IC-735 jump kit was shown quite prevalently.
The search for the 13 Colonies. Independence Day was quite an active day on 20 and 40 meters. I managed to get 10 of the special event stations and made 12 other QSOs that evening with 7 of those being DX contacts.
Friday netted the final 3 Colonies for a clean sweep, but WM3PEN was still elusive. I worked mostly 20 and 40 meters and both had more QSB on Friday than on Thursday with QRN increasing steadily into the night even on 80 meters. All in all though Friday was quite a good day for the little time spent. 17 more DX contacts and 13 more countries added to my DX roster.
Saturday was quiet. Best part of Saturday was that even stations with only an S1 or less were completely readable and I was able to work them. Being on the air only a short time in the morning and again Saturday evening I added only 5 more QSOs to the log.
Sunday...Well the bands are very quiet with severe QSB, WM3PEN is still elusive.
The week end went from being able to have a QSO with someone operating QRP in Michigan to barely being able to hear anyone from Pennsylvania. Even the Venezuelan stations are quiet.