With the success of the October Fox Hunt and the excitement of doing it again fresh in our minds, John Playford (WD8LQT) organized a 2nd effort. This hunt was much more ambitious; rather than a foot-hunt within the boundaries of a local park, the fox would be hidden somewhere within the borders of the Carrollton Greenbelt trail, an area of about 20 square miles!
For those who aren't sure what a "Fox Hunt" is, it is basically a game of hide-and-seek with a hidden transmitter. Someone hides it and it's the job of the hunters to locate it as quickly as possible. A new twist in this hunt was we were also completing for the shortest distance traveled as well.
A special thanks to KI4FMV, Kenneth Playford, who hid the fox for us so his father, John Playford (WD8LQT) could participate. John has usually been the fox-hider, which disqualified him from participating in previous hunts.
The group met for breakfast at the Courthouse Cafe' in Carrollton around 9 for breakfast and a short briefing, taking off on the hunt shortly after 10 AM. All the participants knew was the frequency the transmitter was on and that it was somewhere within the Carrollton Greenbelt trail, a 17 mile loop trail that encompasses a good portion of the city of Carrollton.
Club members Jason Kitchens (KV4TE), John Playford (WD8LQT), Kevin Playford (KI4FMV), Brian Hill (KM4UCV), and Wayne Hitch (KM4BYH) and his wife, Wayne's son Matt (KM4CUA), and WX4BK participated along with two members of the Paulding Amateur Radio Club, Bill Houston (WD4LUQ) and Martha Houston (KB4RPQ) who brought their Doppler Direction Finding system along.
Several of the members brought home-built "Tape Measure" Yagi antennas, where the active components are segments of metal tape measurers attached to a frame (usually PVC). Another team used a home-made Doppler system which "points" the operator towards the radio signal.
Some members immediately hit the road to begin searching for the signal while others made their way to the top of a nearby parking garage in an attempt to pick up the signal and get an initial bearing. Oddly, the signal seemed to be coming from two different directions, North and North-East. Although unplanned, one team went to the North side of the trail while the other went west in an effort to get a second bearing.
In the end, all groups ended up around Hobbs Farm Park. The team consisting of WD8LQT, KM4UCV, and WX4BK found the fox first, with the Houstons not far behind. The last two teams, Team Hitch and Team Kitchens were closing on the fox when the radio transmitter suddenly stopped broadcasting. The battery had depleted as both of the other teams were within 1/4 mile of it.
It was an educational experience, as the signal seemed to come from different directions depending upon location. The fox was hidden up against a fence, with an adjacent fence roughly two meters away. We believe the two fences acted as reflectors, causing unusual signal deflection, making the hunt all that much more interesting!
The group is already looking forward to a future antenna building event, focusing on building fox-hunting antennas for future hunts.
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