The 30 percent chance of rain never materialized, so we were enjoying terrific roving wx. We set off for FN21 knowing that the TV broadcast interference would be back on 222 without the preamp being protected by a bandpass filter. We were still able to make quite a few contacts on that band, just not a lot of DX when the QRN is S9+10dB. Overall it was a surprisingly productive grid activation for being our shortest. Our best DX from here was Virginia station KO4YC FM17 at 229 miles on 2m. By the end of this second grid activation, we had worked K0BAK/R ten times for the day. Thanks for the much-needed boost to the QSO total, Pete. We tore down and headed for home, noting thunderstorms to the west around midnight (which were surely hitting at the right time for us if they had to hit at all this weekend). New England rovers were not as fortunate Sunday as this same system headed in their direction.
The second day we tried a clockwise rotation around central NY (starting in FN12) which we hadn't done before. The idea was to keep FN23 activated longer by arriving there closer to the time NF2RS/R was leaving instead of being there in parallel like in the past. That goal was somewhat accomplished, but we eventually decided that we like the old way better due to traveling conditions linked to time of day. We did discover a shorter route which we can use in future roves when leaving FN23 for the next grid, so the experimentation was productive in that regard, too. We checked out one part of our hilltop and saw that numerous trees had been removed which may help us in the future on the upper bands toward the east. But we opted to use the other part of the hilltop where there is a roadside pulloff with even fewer obstructions (and less 2m desense as experience has shown). Unfortunately, it also has more power line noise on 6m which may have cost us some distant grids, but we did manage to work well-equipped Maryland station K1RZ FM19 on a 296-mile path on all 4 bands.
We steered the rover vehicle south toward FN22 to finish the contest. This would be our best hilltop based on the combination of privacy, good elevation, low number of signal obstructions, no power line noise, and no desense. We were finally able to work the new grids to the east that we can normally work from the previous site (which was actually further east). We began noticing that we hadn't worked anyone beyond 300 miles in this contest. The east/west paths were hit especially hard as is more often the case in January than September. Overall the tropo was absent this time, and we had no help from sporadic-E or aurora. Activity levels seemed down a bit, too, except that there were more rovers in our log than usual (15 percent of our QSOs were with rovers). The most-worked rover was NF2RS/R at 12 QSOs, followed by K0BAK/R at 10 QSOs. We are looking forward to January 2017 when the van should be completely ready for a full rover effort on the bottom 4 bands with a bit more power than the old days. Update: N2SLN/R takes first place. Click on the results database here: http://www.arrl.org/results-database?vhf_class=RU&long_form=1&sort0=vhf_score+desc&event_id=84823
Band QSOs QSO pts. Mults. ------------------------------------------------ 50 86 86 18 144 80 80 21 222 54 108 16 432 61 122 16 ------------------------------------------------ TOTALS 281 396 71 +5 grids activated 76 --- Claimed score = 30,096 ---