Fox Hunts

The Bunbury Radio Club recently held its first Fox Hunt in many years on June 13, 2015 and others are planned. No, this is not the sort that the English gentry partake in, involving bloodthirsty hounds etc. but the gentler radio kind.

The Fox stands a far greater likelihood of survival this way! 🙂

Please keep an eye on the website in the Coming Events section for the next Fox Hunt so you don’t miss out. Here is a write-up from Brian VK6TGQ of the event on June 13.

After the completion of the formal business at our monthly meeting, Club President Neil (VK6FNKS) went and hid the Fox.

Two teams, each consisting of a driver and a radio operator met up in the car park at the Big Swamp Bird Park in Bunbury.  Start time was 4 pm. Both Teams were equipped with 3 element “tape measure” yagis and handheld radios.  Start time was 4 pm.

Brian (VK6TGQ) and Shaun (VK6PAL) began by driving short distances and checking the signal strength frequently. Within about 30 minutes, they were very close to the Fox, but could not pin point its exact location.

Doug (VK6DEW) and Darren (VK6GWN) took a different approach, driving slightly longer distances in order to triangulate the location of the Fox.  They arrived at the same location about 10 minutes after Brian and Shaun.

A great deal of searching, without the use of radios followed, one team even asking local residents if they had seen anyone hide a small radio earlier in the afternoon!

Darren was first to spot the ¼ wave whip in a tree near the road.  Brian was then able to then follow the coax down the bank, and recover the Fox.

Total time to find the Fox was 60 minutes, and although there was a difference in the kilometres driven by the two teams (5.8 km and 3.7 km), it seemed fair to call it a draw.

This was a very enjoyable activity.  I think teams of 2 worked well, although 3 would probably also work.  Once you get close to the Fox, the more sets of eyes you have the better.  The Fox was quiet for 2 to 3 minutes between transmissions.  We will look at shortening this a little bit.

Two things I learnt:

  1. 40dB of attenuation is not enough when you are close to the Fox and
  2. You are probably better off with a “sniffer” once you get to the point where 40 dB of attenuation is not enough.