July fox hides along orphaned roadway

foxhunt cartoon

The weather was rather threatening looking in the early afternoon of July 12th as we drove to the southwest side of Allen County Indiana to set up our Fox station. Black clouds darkened the sky as we pulled into a short remnant of Lafayette Center Road. This short chunk of roadway was orphaned when Interstate 469 was connected to Interstate 69. The Roanoke Baptist Church was located just south of this little road. The Fox team of Steve, W9SAN, Linda, W9LAN, and their grandson Alex set up shop for a transmitting signal at the end of this short piece of road.

At 1:30 pm EDT, the Foxes started transmitting for 1 minute on the air with 4 minutes of silence. Our first transmission was at a 5 watt level, and was difficult for some of the teams to copy, so we increased power to 25 watts for the next several transmissions, before reducing to 10 watts and then down to 5 watts. There were three teams participating in the hunt: the Burke/Pliett team of Al and Jim, WB9SSE & K9OMA, (followed closely by their wives Carole, WB9RUS, and Anne, KA9YYI); the team of Don, K9LI, and his wife, and finally the team of Charles, KC9MUT, and Bill, K9WEH. Joining Bill and Charles was newbie Brent Hrabski, who is interested in Amateur Radio and found out about the event from our website. He showed up at the starting location and was quickly inducted into Charles’ Ram pickup to ride along!

When the Fox team arrived at their hiding place, the first order of business was to hide the 50 milliwatt micro Fox transmitter. Using a McDonald’s paper bag, Alex placed the unit through a wire fence in a location that was free from the dreaded poison ivy, and in a location where the wire would spread the signal. There was also a piece of dead wood that conveniently served as a decoy. Around the otherwise empty site were electrical boxes that could potentially hold decoy pipes. We parked the van where it was almost impossible to see from the interstate and almost hidden from nearby through roads. The teams really had to trust their instruments on this one!!

Linda wanted to fill some of the air time as Fox with interesting trivia! So she Googled today’s date and found a lot of interesting but useless facts about paper bag manufacturing, the Rolling Stones’ first concert, the Eisenhower Interstate Highway system, British King Charles and a lot more! Steve and Alex just resorted to insane on air noises and discussions. All the while this was happening, we had a nervous eye to the sky, as black clouds moved overhead. Later, we learned of a funnel cloud just to the south of us! We really thought our Fox Hunt would turn into a SKYWARN event!!

After about an hour, we finally saw the Burke/Pliett minivan turn down our road. They were followed by their wives. Jim and Al immediately got to work trying to find the micro fox. After about 15 minutes of going in different directions, they zeroed in on the area of the micro fox and after several more minutes finally found the little guy. Next on the scene were Charles, Bill and Brent. Again they seemed to be going all the wrong directions, but eventually found the fox. Don and his wife Julie showed up last, but their equipment seemed to be working better, and found the fox in about 5 minutes.

The July and cumulative Year-to-date scores as a result of this month’s contest are shown below.

HunterJuly scoreYear-to-date score

We split up much more than usual for our after-hunt pow wow, and most of us went to the Zesto’s at the Village of Coventry. We got our food and sat around outside in a socially distant fashion. The hunt was a lot of fun and we look forward to August 2nd and a new challenge from Jim and Al, the next foxes!

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