April fox leads hunters to state line

Fort Wayne Radio Club April 2016 fox (hidden transmitter) hunt

On Saturday, April 2nd, the weather decided to go absolutely crazy! We had very cold temperatures for April, the wind was hurricane force, and the snow was horizontal! It was totally out of character for the time of year, so when Sunday the 3rd rolled around, we were happy that the sun was shining brightly. The temps were a little on the chilly side and the wind was still rather strong, but the Fox Hunters that gathered that day were thankful for the great improvement.

At the start of the Hunt, four teams had gathered: Charles, Fred, Robert, and Phil in one vehicle, Jason and his daughter Kylie, the team of Al, Carole, Anne, and Jim, rounded out by Kim and Jim with our first ride-along of the season, new ham Chris, KD9FNM, aboard for his first Fox Hunt. At 1:30 pm, the Fox went on the air. Two of the four teams had difficulty hearing the Fox on the input of the 146.76 machine, which prompted a furious anti-Murphy response by the Fox to try a better antenna, which turned out to be broken. So the Fox went back to the on-glass antenna on a rather low to the ground Mini Cooper but running at 50 watts output. In the process, I had completely tore apart the boot on the Cooper and had to reassemble in the field.

By now, all teams had picked up the scent of the Fox! It seems that on the way home from the Toledo Hamfest, Linda had spotted a strange little red shed on Gustin Road near the state line. Gustin is a road that was cut in half when the new US24 route was put in. We don’t know the purpose of the shed, but it proved the perfect size for hiding a Mini Cooper, so we hid the micro fox nearby and waited for the hunters to arrive. In looking for a micro fox hiding place, I found two dead animals and briefly pondered hiding the fox under a real dead one, but decided that was too icky and then placed the micro fox at the end of some nice steel guard rails, just under the long grass. “Hiding in plain sight” is the usual phrase with doing this. It would prove to be a worthy hiding place!

After about 45 minutes, we noticed Kim and Jim’s van going down old 24. It didn’t take them a minute to realize they had over shot the fox, turned around in a fast turn you usually only see on the Dukes of Hazzard, and came screaming down dirt Gustin Road, only seeing the Cooper after passing the shed. They were followed in about a minute later by the Charles-Fred-Robert-Hooper team. Then Jason and Kylie showed up. The last to arrive was the Pliett-Burke team, who were the first to leave the start point.

With all the teams on the ground, the furious hunt for the micro fox began. The intensity of the hunting surprised my Foxy spouse and I! For a minute we thought we were at a Republican debate!! The steel guard rail spread the signal wide, but quickly everyone was literally walking on top of the Fox. Robert decided to record the mayhem via a Drone overflying the hunt site. People going by on new US24 thought they were watching a scene from the new “X-Files” show. Antennas were flying around, people were trying to disassemble the guard rails, Charles was given a rock from the riff-raff by Fred and started banging on fence posts, Jason found some hidden barbed wire the hard way. Linda was snapping pictures of the drone, which was taking video of her. We need to put more safety warnings on these Fox Hunts!!

It seemed like a long time, but eventually, the fox, which was hiding in plain sight, just under a very thin layer of grass, got accidentally kicked by Jason, who found it first, followed by Jim Pliett, then Kim, and then the remaining teams. Al said he never actually found it. Anne and Carole wisely stayed in their van, safe from the insanity around them.

With the electronic fox found (but missing its bottom due to the intense stomping it received) we decided on New Haven’s Rack and Helens for some after Hunt food and tall tales. It was a great way to end a sunny afternoon of transmitter hunting in Allen County. Congrats to all that braved the challenge to keep our RF finding skills sharp. Be sure to check out Robert’s drone video on You Tube!

See you at the next hunt on May the 1st, where Jason will serve as the fox. And remember the ride along option to learn about hunting. Chris did, had a ball, and will be back to try again next month!

Results for this hunt and year-to-date are as follows:

Hunter April points Year-to-date points
WB9RUS 3 6
WB9SSE 3 6
KA9YYI 3 6
K9OMA 3 6
KC9MUT 1 8
KC9EZP 1 8
W9SAN 6.75 19.55
W9LAN 6.75 20.55
Alex 0 7.8
KB9DOS 2 7
KB9DOT 2 7
K9NDU 0 5
KC9UHU 1 6
KC9ZGN 0 0
AB9IZ 1 5
KC9UOQ 5 17.6
KK4QXC 0 11.6
KD9FNM 2 2

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