It's a two day drive to the coast, and there was a "strong geomagnetic storm" brewing on the bands . To make matters worse, there were a few thunderstorms in the area (lightening and wires don't work well together) and I had a "poor" location to to place a dipole antenna.
During the next week, I was only able to operate once, for a few hours, when I strung the 30 meter dipole from the top balcony railing of a rental home and into a small pine tree. (I hate pine trees because of the sap that seems to cover everything they touch). The antenna was "sloped" significantly towards the South.
But I was able to work two stations in Florida. (N4ZMP and WA2PAY). One was in Pensacola and the other in Saint Augustine.
I usually take my Isotrons but didn't bring them because of the expectations of working more stations on 30 meters with the new dipole. Looking backward now, for portable operations and simplicity, the Isotrons are VERY hard to beat.
I had a good time while at the Outer Banks of North Carolina but it wasn't a good year for radio. It was great to be around family and we enjoyed the long walks along the shore in the morning and evening hours. We also rode our bikes into the little town of Duck several times.
On our first day here, we watched a "humpback whale" for nearly 20 minutes as it slapped its tail and fins on the water. I never expected to see that on the east coast.
For radio next year, it will be back to the Isotrons.