On an usually warm first Sunday of November, the Fort Wayne Radio Club held its final Fox Hunt of the 2016 season. The foxes, Linda, W9LAN, Steve, W9SAN, and their grandson, Alex, had chosen an Acres Land Trust location on Chapman Road in northern Allen County. This location includes the main office of the Acres organization. Pulling our Honda fox vehicle into the small parking lot, we assigned Alex the job of hiding the micro fox, which he located behind an old garage in a dead Elm tree, sliding it behind some the bark on the tree at about 5 feet above the ground. This height would prove to be just enough to allow the micro fox signal to be heard before hunters could localize the site.
At 1:30 pm, after turning all of our clocks back an hour to go back on Standard Time, the fox began transmitting. Since initial reception reports were weak, we increased power to 25 watts, swung the antenna in the direction we imagined the start point to be, and continued. Most were hearing us with enough strength to get a decent bearing and the hunt was on! Included in the hunt were 5 teams; the Burke-Pliett team of 4, the Charles-Fred team of 2, Jason plus daughter Kylie and Deborah, Jim and Kim, and a new team consisting of Brenda and Jim, KD9GDX & KD9GDY, hunting on their own for the first time after several ride along hunts. We kept transmitting every 5 minutes despite several interruptions by curious passersby’s, curious bees, and Alex’s new found bird calling skills.
Little did we know the drama that the hunters were enduring!
Burkes and Plietts were nearly taken out of the hunt by a motorist that decided to change 3 lanes with no warning. The new Plumbers team decided to hunt from a ditch! Jim and Kim got lost in a housing addition with the micro fox blasting at them (that tree location proved good for propagation!).
It was nearly an hour gone by when Charles and Fred wheeled their truck into the lot in front of us. We quickly learned that the hunters had split up almost at the start and each was on their own.
As the hunters arrived, they began to search for the Fox. (we need a good name for the Fox, any suggestions??) Fred quickly covered himself in sticky weeds, Kylie took a nose dive into the mud, and others started rearranging the woods at the site.
Soon, most everyone was there, and eventually found the Fox hiding in the bark of the dead tree. Then we noticed the poison ivy on the tree! Carefully, the bark was removed and fox found. Charles was the first to discover it. Then Jason, then the Pliett-Burke team, then the newest hunters, Jim and Brenda. Kim and Jim were last to the location, and found the fox in short order.
After trash talking each other for a bit, the decision was made to retreat to the Culver’s on DuPont Road near I-69, where we shared tall tales of the year’s hunting. Good times!
If you want to become part of the Fox Hunting scene, why not start out like Jim and Brenda, do some ride alongs, borrow one of our antennas, and give it a try! You can even help out from your home station if you have a directional antenna!
Now that the scores are tabulated, see below:
We know that the winner for 2016, is W9LAN!
Congrats to all the hunters this year. It is fun and we learn a lot about tracking down signals. Plan on joining us next year!