Sunday, October 6, 2013. The sun sorta came up, the birds stay in bed, and the skies opened up with rain, rain, rain. But none-the-less, a stalwart crew of foxhunters assembled in the Off-Track Betting Parlor at Lima and Washington Center roads for the October foxhunt. This enthusiastic (if damp) crew consisted of the team of Linda and Steve Nardin, W9’s LAN and SAN, the team of Annie and Jim Pliett, KA9YYI and K9OMA plus Carole and Al Burke, WB9’s RUS and SSE, and single hunter Robert Dean, KC9UHU.
While the foxhunters were contemplating the wet slogging ahead, the foxes, Charles Ward, KC9MUT and Fred Gengnagel, KC9EZP, luxuriated under a nice, dry, warm tent fly out in the piney-woods of Matea Park near Cedar Creek off Hursh Rd. (A photo of this bourgeoisie encampment taken surreptitiously by an RPV cleverly engaged by the Pliett-Burke team is possibly included in the Ham news version of this article, or on the club web page). During the fly-by the RPV’s microphone picked up audio, reportedly from Charles, stating “We doon need no stinking umbrellas,….hee, hee, hee”. They were utilizing a yagi fed by about 150 watts for the high power signal, and a camouflaged microfox radiating about 150 miliwatts of cw, and cleverly secreted in a tree, as the actual fox.
Promptly at 13:30 the fox began squawking on the 146.76 machines input.
The initial bearings indicated east, so off everybody went. Initially we spotted Steve and Linda in trail, but eventually everyone got separated, and we didn’t see anybody again until we localized the fox.
For this hunt, Jim installed a four antenna Doppler-DF system on the van’s roof in addition to the roof mounted yagi. This additional technology was a response to the Pickle-Fork direction of arrival system that Charles and Fred had utilized during the September hunt. Our analysis of the ABM treaty revealed that the Pickle-Fork system was, in fact, allowable. Thus, we countered with the Doppler system. However, we found that in general the Doppler system readings were unreliable. Perhaps some tweaking is in order, or perhaps Charles and Fred were doing something hinky with their antennas, you just never know about those guys.
We sort-of localized the fox near Cedar Creek just off Hursh Rd. on the grounds of Matea Park. We meet Robert, KC9UHU in a small parking lot, part of the Park complex, and received a very strong signal from the microfox. So we started hiking down one of the Park trails, tracking the microfox’s signals.
Now, it was raining, I mean REALLY raining as we slogged through the undergrowth. It got so bad I ran across an obviously nervous frog carrying an aqualung. I mean, Jim and I were just soaked, and we were wearing rain-gear.
Finally we reached Cedar Creek and determined that the fox had to be across the creek. At that point, Charles and Fred’s life expectancy would have been nil had we found them alone.
So we walked back out of the forest, and got even wetter, crossed the creek by tromping about a half-mile down Hursh Rd., got even wetter, and re-entered the forest. Then we marched about another mile through the undergrowth, got off the trail, and got even wetter yet, until we started hearing the fox third harmonic. (By the way, in this process we also ran across Jimmy Hoffa and Ho-Chi-Min, and they were wet and honked-off too). We were so wet, my cell phone quite working, and I met a guy by the name of Noah who said “screw this, I’m moving to Saudi Arabia”.
Jim and I knew that the micro-fox was in a large downed tree, but it took us about ten minutes to find the thing, so well was it camouflaged. We found it ninety one minutes into the hunt.
When we got back to the trail we ran across Steve and Robert who headed off-trail in the direction we came from and eventually found the micro-fox one hundred and fourteen minutes into the hunt.
Following the hunt, everyone wandered over to Culver’s for a warming meal and a little re-hash of the hunt. We decided that for the November hunt, we would use 146.16 MHz as the fox frequency again.
Based upon time and mileage readings, the scores for this month’s contest were as follows:
|K9OMA, KA9YYI, WB9RUS, WB9SSE
|KC9MUT, KC9EZP (Fox)
And thus the team of K9OMA/KA9YYI/WB9RUS/WB9SSE will serve as the fox for the November hunt.
Year-to-date cumulative points are:
Don’t forget, following the conclusion of the November hunt (which will occur on the 10th of November, not the 3rd), the annual end-of-the foxhunt season bonfire party will be hosted by Jim & Annie Pliett out at their QTH. Everyone, not just foxhunters are invited. Annie & Carole will provide white and red chili plus other goodies, but everyone attending should also bring something to snack on and something to sit on. Mark it on your calendar.