The Foxhunt Chronicles
The tenth and last foxhunt of the 2012 season occurred on Sunday, the 4th of November, 2012. The hunt took place on a brisk Sunday afternoon, partly sunny, with a slight breeze. In general a beautiful day to hunt.
Four teams were involved in the hunt. They consisted of the team of Jim Pliett & Al Burke, K9OMA & WB9SSE, the team of Steve & Linda Nardin, W9SAN & W9LAN, and their grandson Alex, the team of Kim & Jim Machamer, KB9’s DOS & DOT, and the team of Mark Berke, WA7NXI and his son Nathan.
Charles Ward, KC9MUT provided the services of the fox and was hiding in a nature preserve behind the Maple Creek Middle School complex off Union Chapel Rd. He used a dismounted battery powered mobile rig to implement the high power fox, pumping about 30 watts into a yagi. The actual (low power) fox was implemented as a micro-fox hidden in a tree branch that was leaning up against a tree, about shoulder height, deep within the nature preserve. The micro-fox output (on the order of milli-watts) consisted of an id in Morse code for one minute every five minutes. For the first time the fox (both high and low power versions) output on 147.855 MHz instead of 146.430 MHz. The 147.855 MHz signal happens to be the input frequency of the 147.255/.855 repeater and thus Charles taunting voice fox transmissions were repeated of the 147.255 machine for the edification and entertainment of area hams.
The initial high power fox transmission commenced promptly at 13:30 hours and was heard by all of the hunting teams and so everyone took off in a cloud of dust to the North North-East.
The Pliett/Burke team pretty much followed the DF bearings taken with our yagi and queued by our Doppler-DF system to navigate to the Middle Creek Middle School complex and quickly found Charles’ truck and then Charles himself back in the piney woods. Very shortly afterwards Mark & Nathan were upon the scene followed by Kim & Jim Machamer and then Steve & Linda Nardin and grandson Alex. As it turned out, Mark & Nathan found the micro-fox about 43 minutes into the hunt followed by Jim & Kim at 46 minutes, Jim & Al at 47 minutes and then Steve, Linda and Alex at 70 minutes into the hunt. I remember looking at the branch that had the micro-fox hidden in it, and which was leaning up against a tree several times, and said to myself “Gee, what an odd way for a branch to land”. Duhhh.
Following the hunt, everyone was invited over to Jim and Annie Pliett’s QTH for the annual end-of-foxhunt-season bon-fire and chow-down. Hot dogs, regular and white chili, chips, cheese and crackers and other goodies were featured, and no one went away hungry.
As usual, Jim assembled a rather large pile of wood for the bonfire which he attempted to ignite using his unique brand of pyrotechnic techniques. But despite a successful dry-run rehearsal the day before, the ether powered “Flame of Death” cannon he had assembled didn’t ignite the bon-fire as expected, so Jim was forced to use a blow-torch. However, once the bon-fire got going, it really got going, to the extent that Annie & Jim had to do her fireperson imitation because of a neighboring tree that caught fire. A few pictures from the event are included in this missive.
Based upon time and mileage reported by the hunters, scores were tabulated for this month’s hunt below along with the cumulative points for the year.
As can be seen, Mark Berke, WA7NXI and his son Nathan were the winners of this hunt while Charles Ward, KC9MUT, scored the most cumulative points for the year. Thus Mark is tentatively the fox for the first hunt of next year which we are currently planning for February, and Charles will be the proud owner of the travelling Foxhunt trophy which will be awarded at the Christmas Banquet.
Hope to see you (foxhunting) next year.