The west end relocated repeatedly the remainder of the afternoon and contacts were EASY! The west end crew REALLY had their act together and often only needed 30-35 minutes to take down, travel 10+ miles, and set up again ready to go. AND, I note that every time I worked them, it took less than 3 minutes to work 4 operators!!! Good show! No fiddle factor required! Our goal was to be like them during our operations on Sunday.
Finally, at their last location at the Thompson Rest area, which is also several hundred feat above the water, signals were VERY weak and we only had one completion. I wonder if they would have heard my last transmission if I had remembered to key the relay in the heat of battle :-)
While it looked grim during the morning that the trip to Michigan's UP would be a bust, the mood improved a great deal by finally making some nice contacts. I note that the path lengths were 240, 262, 276, and 291 km with a couple even longer than that.
So we packed up and hit the road towards Manistique. We came south out of the Keweenaw and got some burgers in L'Anse. We blitzed through the night via Marquette and arrived in Manistique at 1230am. We got about 5.5 hours of sleep and then were up ready to go at it again. We got a breakfast at a cafe and then drove about 50 miles east to Naubinway (EN76gc) where we set up at an excellent location at the village marina. There is a good parking area and you can set up right next to the car.
Our goal was to work K2YAZ and a contingent of Michigan Microwavers consisting of NE8I, WW8M, WB8TGY, KB8VAO, WA8VPD, and W8HTB. We were on the air about 8:45am Eastern. The Michigan operators were setting up at their first location on the beach in EN64xv. After we got on each other, the contacts were easy. Basically, there were 7 ops on the Lower Peninsula end (LP) and three ops (us) on the UP end. Bob, K2YAZ was an excellent coordinator while acting as relay between WB9SPT and us who was setting up in Northern Illinois. We did hear Neil, but it was via rain scatter and not terribly strong. He is running 10watts while we were running between 500mw and 2w. This time and effort was frustrating because we spent an hour just trying to work WB9SPT. Had we completed, it would have been a seriously long distance qso. Thanks to both Neil and Bob for giving it a good shot.
Our next spot was the Gould city park (EN75dx). It is on the water, but you have to carry your equipment 100 yards right to the water to make sure you have a good angle towards Milwaukee and the LP. We completed easily with all 7 ops. I got a little low on fuel and had to take valuable time to find a gas station during our transit to our next spot. In retrospect, I should have filled up