Spring Peepers Off Johnson Road
April 2014

I heard spring peepers for the first time this year. I hiked in an old field
off Johnson Road and worked Russia,  Panama and a couple of stations
in the Michigan QSO Party.

I hiked about a quarter of a mile on a trail from the road and turned south
skirting the edge of the field when I heard the peepers. I know where they
are! There's a vernal pool down a horse path through a large and prickly
raspberry patch. I look through the woods and onto the small pond. Every
time one of these tiny frogs sings, his body trembles enough to send
circular ripples into the pond. They are, of course, calling CQ. It is a
clear sign of spring and I am overjoyed.

I wandered through this overgrown field for a while. I was searching for a
warm spot out of the wind. It's only about 45F with a stiff breeze and a bit
chilly. I pass the telltale signs of a long winter... tiny holes in the grass where
mice and voles have sought cover while enduring the bitter cold.

I set up under a tall pine tree on a little hillside facing the sun.

I heave my wire over a branch and tune the KX3 on 20 meters. Stations are
strong, but they don't hear me well. I work UA2FL who is operating the
Mineira DX Contest from Russia. Then I work two stations in the Michigan
QSO party... N8KS and K8BZ.  I switch to 12 meters. HO100CANAL
is calling CQ and he answers right away. This is a special event station in
Panama celebrating the opening of the canal 100 years ago.

With this I pack up and head back to the car. I check for ticks (usually out
by now) but thankfully, I don't find any. Maybe the hard winter has reduced
their numbers.