March Fox Rings a Bell

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The Foxhunt Chronicles

fox cartoonThe second foxhunt of the 2013 FWRC’s foxhunt season occurred on Sunday, the 3rd of March on a sunny but cold March afternoon. In  general good foxhunting weather albeit a little nippy.

The March hunters included the team of Jim & Annie Pliett, K9OMA & KA9YYI plus Carole & Al Burke, WB9’s RUS & SSE, the team of Charles Ward & Fred Gengnagle, KC9MUT & KC9EZP, the team of Linda & Steve Nardin, W9’s LAN & SAN plus their grandson Alex, and the team of Kim & Jim Machamer, KB9’s DOS & DOT,…. In all a total of eleven rabid hunters just chomping at the bit to find their elusive prey.

And serving as the prey for this contest were Bob Dean, KC9UHU & Dave Spence, KB9VTK who were holed-up at a baseball diamond at Harlan Community Park. They had erected a yagi driven by about 50 watts of rf for the high power fox signal, and hid a microcontroller controlled “microfox” within a brass bell located on the baseball diamond property as the actual fox. The microfox was programmed to automatically produce about 50 milliwatts of cw on the fox output frequency for one minute every five minutes. For this hunt the fox frequency was set to 146.31 MHz which is the input frequency for the FWRC’s 146.91/.31 repeater, and thus allowed area hams to listen in on the progress of the hunt via the 146.91/.31 machine.

The (high power) fox began transmitting promptly at 13:30 hours and all of the fox hunters, located in the Off-Track Betting Parlor parking lot at Washington Center and Lima Rd heard it from the get-go. As usual, the initial beam heading indicated “east” (curiously it’s almost never west or north or south….always east with the dreaded possibility that the fox is hiding out in New Haven). However, our team could tell from the signal strength readings on Jim’s sophisticated DF receiver (he worked in Electronic Warfare at Magnavox, so he knows about that stuff) that the fox was quite a distance away….”way far out there” as Jim explained it in technical terms. “Whew” we said, “maybe not New Haven after all”.

So everyone headed east on Washington Center Rd. somewhat in single file order. Evidently this created quite an image for folks driving along with us as we noticed quite a few people hanging out their car windows taking pictures with their cell phone cameras, and we understand that a few of the observers were asking if we were controlling RPV-drones. Oh, to have had a Nixon mask handy in this instance.

As it turned out, Kim & Jim Machamer were the first to arrive in Harlan and localize the fox. They were followed by Linda & Steve Nardin and Alex, then Charles and Fred, and finally Annie, Jim, Carole & Al in that order. Charles & Fred were first to physically locate the microfox 45 minutes after the start of the hunt followed by the Pliett/Burke team, the Nardin team and the Machamer team all within 47 minutes after the foxhunt start. Likewise the miles travelled by the hunters varied from 15.8 miles to 18.6 miles. So the time-to-find and mileage numbers were very close together for this contest.

KB9DOS/DOT 724.5 points
KC9MUT/KC9EZP 723.5 points
W9SAN/W9LAN/ALEX 705 points
KB9VTK/KC9UHU (fox) 741 points


So Kim & Jim Machamer will serve as the fox for the April hunt based upon the March results.

Likewise, year to date cumulative points are as follows:

WB9RUS 1352.5 points
WB9SSE 1352.5 points
K9OMA 1352.5 points
KA9YYI 1352.5 points
KC9MUT 1362.5 points
KC9EZP 1362.5 points
W9SAN 705 points
W9LAN 705 points
ALEX 705 points
KB9DOS 724.5 points
KB9DOT 724.5 points
WA7NXI 739 points
KB9VTK 1535.5 points
KC9UHU 1535.5 points


As you can deduce, the competition so far is close,…… and also, Bob and Dave would be well advised to check out their vehicle(s) for spiked tires or suspicious devices beneath their cars before the start of the April hunt.

Following the hunt everyone buzzed over to the Chapel-Ridge Steak-N-Shake for a hearty repast and a chance to swap lies.

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