the Minnesota crew's next four stops, signals were VERY weak with only one completion.  I think both sides did a good job of putting RF in the right direction, but the sigs just weren't getting through.  I think the decisions to "give up and move on" were just right.  LJC and SHF noted that throughout the morning they saw a haze right above the water out near the horizon.

Near noon on our end, the Minnesota crew seemed delayed longer than normal before returning to the air.  When they did return, they said that they had gotten off the beach and gone to a location several hundred feet above the water at a place called "Palisades".  They were louder on 2m and "Boom" there they were--loud on 10 GHz!  Either it was the altitude change or the haze layer seemed to disappear about this time.  Four ops on the west end completed easily with LJC and SHF.  I thought my equipment was operating just fine but the other side of the lake was not hearing me.  LJC stuck an rf sniffer in front of my dish and sniffed "nothing".  It was time for us to move--I'd work on this problem at the next location.

We drove 17 miles west to Great Sand Bay west of Eagle Harbor, MI (EN57vk).  A very nice location with a nice parking area and parking barriers with which to prop up our tripods in the wind which had grown even more ferocious--even down on the water.  Although we neglected to take pictures on Brockway, we did get some pictures of this location with the crashing waves in the background. 

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

. WBLJC and KSHF listen for contacts in the howl of the wind.


We got set up and again, contacts were easily completed with four on the west end and two on the east end.  I continued to troubleshoot my problem.  It seems that the relay power coming out of the xverter (which is supposed to spike high and then maintain 12v) was staying on 12v even after un-key.  So the relay was not releasing.  The solution was to snip the wires and rig up smaller batteries as a 24v supply for the relay and then hand-key the relay with alligator clips.  Bingo!  I was "on the air".

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