On sprint day I arrived a little after 6 PM local time and set up the new antenna system in wind-free and snow-free conditions. I was done by 6:45 so I got on the air and tuned through the beacon subband. Virginia beacon WA1ZMS/B FM07 was 5x3 which is a pretty good initial indication that the untested omni would work. A test transmission was successful with no smoke or explosions, so I was off and running. A good first hour of average troposcatter was followed by upward swells of QSB in the second hour that allowed me to work W3BFC FM18 on the eastern shore of MD at 5x5 (and he was 5x6). The QSB died off in the third hour, but I was still able to work West Virginia station K8RYU EM99 at 356 miles. In the fourth hour I was still picking up new grids and worked Ohio station K8TQK EM89 for a best DX of 442 miles. That's a longer DX than last year's best DX when I was using a pair of 6-el Yagis from a higher hilltop with fewer obstructions. Not bad for an omni.
Using a high-performance omni from a quiet hilltop was an interesting new experience. It allowed me to hear a high number of stations still choosing the same run frequencies as other stations and stepping on them without knowing the other was there. I have heard that before with beams, but it is more pronounced with the omni. The way to reduce the chances of that happening is to encourage folks to use a frequency that ends in something other than the popular 5 or 0. With an omni, I am unable to work one of those stations without bothering the others, so I resorted to waiting to see what happens (wasting my time), tuning the band looking for other activity, or calling CQ nearby in hopes of catching one of them tuning the band. None of those methods is as effective as calling the stations on their frequencies, and I missed easy contacts as a result. In the future, perhaps it's better for me to use an omni to call CQ in the frenzied first hour only, then switch to a beam for the rest of the event.
Not a single snowflake fell until I woke up the next morning at home and the ground was covered again (April 10th). There was snow on the ground each of the next two mornings, too...somebody please tell earth to start revolving around the sun again.
BAND QSOs UNIQUE GRIDS --------------------- 144 46 23 -- Claimed score = 1058 --
MD UTC CALLSIGN GRID SIG ------------------------- PH 2301 KA2LIM/R FN11 PH 2304 W2BDN FN22 PH 2315 N3RN FN11 PH 2317 VE3DS FN03 PH 2317 VE3SMA FN03 PH 2322 KD2LGX FN13 PH 2328 W2KV FN20 PH 2330 N2NT FN20 PH 2334 K1IIG FN31 PH 2336 KR1ST FN21 PH 2336 KA3FQS FN20 PH 2338 W2UAD FN13 PH 2340 N2RLA FN22 PH 2347 W1VD FN31 PH 2349 AC2BL FN23 PH 2350 VA3ELE/R EN93 PH 2355 K1TEO FN31 PH 0006 K1RZ FM19 5x9 PH 0012 W3BFC FM18 5x6 PH 0014 NG3W FN01 PH 0021 AF1T FN43 PH 0024 K1PXE FN31 PH 0033 N3RG FM29 PH 0034 W9KXI FN12 PH 0039 W8ZN FM19 PH 0046 VA3ELE/R FN03 PH 0048 K1OR FN42 PH 0103 N3NGE FN20 PH 0104 KA1ZE/3 FN01 PH 0116 VE3YCU FN02 PH 0121 KB3WL FN02 PH 0122 KA2LIM/R FN12 PH 0141 AA2TT FN30 PH 0142 WV2C FN30 CW 0147 K8RYU EM99 PH 0149 K3MD FN10 CW 0157 K1TR FN42 CW 0159 K1ZE FN31 CW 0212 AA2UK FM29 CW 0221 K3AJ FM19 CW 0223 W2GIO FN31 PH 0228 VA3NW FN04 CW 0237 K8TQK EM89 PH 0239 VA3ELE/R FN02 CW 0244 WA3EOQ FM09 PH 0259 N2OA FN03