May fox hides at ball diamond

foxhunt cartoonThe May foxhunt occurred on Sunday the 5th of May, which turned out to be a beautiful spring day in Indiana, temperatures in the high 60’s and a blue sky. Wow!

There were three hunter teams for this one. The first consisted of Jim & Annie Pliett, K9OMA and KA9YYI, plus Carole and Al Burke, WB9’s RUS & SSE. The second team included Steve and Linda Nardin, W9’s SAN & LAN plus their grandson Alex (who was celebrating his 21st birthday). And the third team included Don Glick, K9LI and his wife Julie plus her dad Ed.

Charles Ward, KC9MUT and Phil Hooper, AB9IZ served as the fox for this hunt. They ensconced themselves near the ball diamonds at Rockhill Park in west central Ft. Wayne. They attached a magnet to the microfox and affixed it near the bottom of a steel fencepost that bordered a tree line in the park. It emitted about 40 milliwatts of cw for one minute every two and one half minutes on the 146.430 MHz fox frequency. For the high power fox they used a yagi up about 20’ and driven by Charles’s mobile transceiver with the yagi pointed at some high tension lines. As usual the high power fox transmitted for one minute every five minutes.

The path between the fox location and the foxhunters starting point in Corbin Park pretty much cut right across downtown Ft. Wayne which usually results in signal direction distortion because of reflections off the taller downtown buildings. This phenomenon we suspect is exacerbated by Charles’s pointing the yagi at the high tension lines which cause them to re-radiate too. Evil, ehhh?

All three hunting teams heard the high power fox straight-off when it began transmitting at 1:30pm local. We noticed that the signal was quite strong which usually indicates that the fox is close. The bearing was slightly south of due west so we decided to head west on Washington, and the Nardin’s did too. We didn’t notice which way Don Glick and crew headed out.

Our DF bearings pretty much directed up straight to Rockhill Park with one diversion into Swinney Park were we noticed the Nardin’s sniffing around too.

Eventually Steve, Linda and Alex localized the fox first and were already hunting on foot when we pulled into Rockhill Park. I think we arrived there around 2:00 pm which is pretty quick for your typical foxhunt. It wasn’t long before everyone was gathered around the fence where the microfox was located, getting in each other’s way. Then we noticed that there was quite a bit of poison ivy in the area. Yeaahhh!! Fortunately neither Jim nor I came down with the itchy-scratchys as a result of the situation. I don’t know how the Nardins faired.

I was listening and hunting looking at the third harmonic of the microfox using a handheld yagi built specifically for the third harmonic. And it told me without question that the microfox was located on or about that fence post, but I couldn’t see it. As it turned out, Alex was the first to visually locate the microfox so the Nardin team was first to find it, followed by our team, followed by Don Glick. Don got some erroneous bearing while in the downtown area, probably due to signal reflections caused by the tall buildings. Anyway, it delayed him getting to Rockhill Park.

Following the hunt we boogied over to the Steak-N-Shake at Illinois Rd. for some refueling. Sorry to say the service was less than stellar, which is a shame since the food at Steak-N-Shake as a rule is quite good.

Since Alex was first to find the microfox the Nardin crew will serve as the fox for the June hunt which will occur on Sunday 2 June. Carole and I will not be able to attend as that is the date of our middle granddaughter’s graduation party up in Auburn. But that should not dissuade you from joining into the fun of the hunt.

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

HunterMay PointsCumulative Points
WB9RUS15.5
WB9SSE19.5
K9OMA110.5
KA9YYI16.5
KC9MUT6.6717.34
AB9IZ6.6711.34
W9SAN310.67
W9LAN310.67
Alex46
K9LI25
Julie25
Ed22

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