Report on the VK3WWW December 1998 foxhunt.
Placings have altered somewhat due to me misreading VK3PW’s score card (yes, Richard, I fell for it!) By the odometer readings, it looks like there’s a lot of new cars around!
Place Callsign Txs Start OD End OD Total Km 1 VK3BLN 2 111619 111675 56 2 VK3PW 2 12958 13032 74 3 VK3TKQ 2 12603 12680 77 4 VK3EM 2 44776 44854 78 5 YQN/HKC 2 202039 202122 83 6 VK3VT 1 19505 19582 77 7 VK3VR 2? 12161 DNF -- Who found what: VK3BLN 7, 9 VK3PW 9, 19 VK3TKQ 9, 19 VK3EM 7, 9 VK3YQN/HKC 7, 9 VK3VT 14 Locations: Tx# Freq: Location: 1 144.000 15J12 - Top of cliff near proposed toxic waste dump, Niddrie. 5 145.285 41C5 - behind Olex cables, Brooklyn. 7 145.300 44K1 - top of hill, Yarra bend park. 9 145.325 56D1 - under Westgate bridge. 12 145.350 53J6 - behind Hoechst Chemicals, Altona Nth. 14 144.250 27B8 - near Maribyrnong river, Braybrook. 16 146.000 17K9 - park behind Pentridge Prison. 19 145.700 43A6 - Railway bridge, off Dynon Rd, Footscray.
Transmitters were spread out to give plenty of route choice and to challenge even the best navigators. Transmitters 1, 7, and 19 were at elevated locations and should have been easily heard with a bit of altitude. Most other transmitters should have been able to be heard from these locations. From 500m away from the transmitter in Footscray, at ground level I could here transmitters 1, 7, 9, 12 and 19 easily on a sniffer. I drove a few Km west to Maidstone and was then able to hear Tx’s 5 and 14. Despite these transmitters being in low locations, one
team managed to find Tx14. From here they should have also been able to get Tx5 which was just over 3.5km away. I was never able to hear anything from Tx16 even from about 3km away. The problem turned out to be a faulty coax plug. A hint for future foxes: It is worth carrying a sniffer to check the operation of a fox. A handheld is next to useless.
It was interesting to see than nearly everyone visited transmitter #9. For some this was also their first transmitter. It must have been difficult to get any decent bearings of other transmitters from down there. I was actually expecting this to be most people’s last choice.
The optimal distance to visit all transmitters (path: Start,7,16,1,14,5,12,9,19,supper) works out to be about 91km. At an average speed of around 60km/h with 10 minutes runner time per
transmitter brings this up to about 2.75 hours. Therefore it would have been near impossible to visit all transmitters in the time limit. We just wanted to see what people would do.
This hunt was a bit of an experiment and was put together rather quickly due to an otherwise heavy workload by the organisers. Orienteering punches were used because we didn’t have enough people to look after transmitters. Half of the transmitters were deployed late in the afternoon with timer circuit. This was its first test. My apologies for the use of the frequencies 144.000 and 145.285MHz. On final test I had two crystals which refused to oscillate and it was the best I could do in the time available.
Thanks to Jack Bramham, Stephen Howard, Adam Scammell, Stephen Giles and Glen Downie for helping deploy and look after transmitters.
Thanks also to Steve Wood for doing the start and my brother Ramon for doing the supper.