September 1999 Foxhunt

“You Bastards!”, “How am I supposed top get through this!”, “If we go four abreast, eventually we’ll stand on him!”, “Anyone got any Napalm?”, “There must be an easier way out of here!”, “We’ll get you back for this….” …. Some of comments from cheerful participants on the September 1999 foxhunt.

The hunt was held in dry conditions in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The fox for the evening was the VK3HDF team. A challenging evening was planned with a few surprises. The hunt started just after 8PM at Knox City shopping centre.

The fox was Adam VK3HDF who was riding a pushbike along the bike track from Ferntree Gully. A mix of strange bearings sent some teams headed even towards Mt Dandenong. Greg, VK3VT was first to find Adam as he was riding alongside a street. Greg tooted some morse code on his car horn to raise the fox’s attention. Sorry Greg, Adam didn’t quite understand what you said… Paul, VK3PW later found Adam at the top of a multi-story car park in Knox City to take second place.

The first leg of the second hunt was in a rather overgrown lane behind some factories in Wantirna. The VK3TVB team arrived well ahead of the others. Less than 3 metres from the fox, Geoff, VK3VR took a look at the blackberries and decided there had to be an easier way in. Mark, VK3JMD aborted soon after even after shining his torch in the foxes face. 10 minutes later, the VK3PW team bashed their way through to first place, with VK3YQN and VK3VR (back for his second attempt) following just minutes later.

The next leg was in a rather swampy area near a new housing estate in Rowville. VK3YQN came in first minutes ahead of VK3TVB. VK3BLN effectively ended up in second place on leg time.

The third hunt proved to be the most challenging for the evening. This hunt had 4 legs. The first leg was near the joining of two creeks in Knoxfield. Bruce, VK3TJN crossed one of the creeks to find this transmitter minutes ahead of VK3VR. Most other teams did not arrive until nearly 15 minutes later as they chose a very difficult way in and had to battle some soggy mush, thick undergrowth and blackberries.

The second leg was only a few hundred metres away in another significantly overgrown lane behind factories. VK3VR found this transmitter nearly 15 minutes ahead of VK3TJN “oh no! Arrgh! I came in the wrong way!” There were indeed two ways in. While most teams picked the easier entrance, In true foxhunting style Bruce, VK3TJN elected to try the “impassable” route. A T-shirt is definitely not the recommended armor for this operation. Arriving around 15 minutes later VK3PW and VK3VT effectively tied for second place on leg time followed closely by VK3BLN.

Barely a couple of kilometres away, the third leg was hidden in amongst reeds. Once again, there was an easy way in – even to drive there! – but some new streets, not even marked on the latest edition of the Melways helped add to the confusion. Once again, the most direct path required negotiating a creek and some blackberries. VK3VR found this transmitter well ahead of VK3YQN. No other teams found this transmitter in time.

The last leg was behind a group of factories near the Model Aero club in Scoresby. VK3VR was the only team to find this transmitter in time and actually found this transmitter a good 5 minutes before anyone else had even found the transmitter for the previous leg.

The last hunt was behind some factories in Kilsyth. The first leg was at the back of an open paddock near a large brick wall. The fox was just hanging in a tree and not particularly hidden. Even so, some teams had some difficulty finding the transmitter once they were within a few metres of it. VK3YQN arrived nearly 15 minutes ahead of any other team to take first place on this hunt.

The second leg was less than 100 metres away and was down a rather narrow gap in between two factories. VK3YQN found this transmitter first, although Paul VK3PW did significantly better to take first place on leg time.

Supper was held in Ferntree Gully at the QTH of Steve, VK3YLE where the scores were announced. VK3TVB took out first place with VK3YQN and VK3PW taking out the minor placings.

Most of the hiding spots were chosen by Adam, VK3HDF who also did most of the planning for the night.

The emphasis on this hunt was to give some of the less advanced teams a chance to successfully find something for the night rather than hearing “the hunt is over” for nearly every hunt. For this reason, each leg of the multi-leg hunts was run for the entire duration of the hunt, or until nearly all teams were through. This was necessary as many of the hunts were also designed to provide a significant challenge to the better teams. I.e an attempt was made to try to please everybody.

A primary goal was to keep the night moving and minimise waiting times. The scoring method was designed mainly to do this rather than give the better teams blitzing scores. A 15 minute scoring limit and final clock were used on all multi-leg hunts to try to keep it all simple.

It turns out that, as expected, there has already been some controversy over some of the hunts. Some have indicated that the last two hunts should be null and void. Firstly, one particular team did not start from the meeting spot. I was actually quite surprised that their vehicle was first seen barely minutes from when I had parked mine! Secondly, some teams were told that the hunt would conclude at about 12:10 while others continued hunting the second leg which was being run using a 15 minute rule. (This leg had started before midnight) There has also been call to
null and void the 4th leg of hunt 3 as a complaint over the scoring method. It is interesting to note that if this and the last hunt are omitted from the scores, the order of the placings does not change.

Arrival times:
     h1   h2-1 h2-2 h3-1  h3-2  h3-3  h3-4  h4-1  h4-2
tvb:      9:24 9:46 10:28 10:41 10:56 11:10 12:12
yqn:      9:23 9:40 10:25 10:55 11:15       11:54 12:13
pw:  8:47 9:22 9:50 10:47 11:08             12:10 12:17
vt:  8:38 9:28      10:57 11:18              n/a  12:17
bln:      9:34 9:52 10:54 11:17
txa:      9:27 9:55 10:41 11:08
bli:      9:24      10:41 11:13             12:14

Leg clock times:
     h1   h2-1 h2-2 h3-1  h3-2   h3-3  h3-4  h4-1  h4-2
tvb:      0:02 0:22  0:03  0:13  0:15  0:14  0:18
yqn:      0:01 0:17  0:00  0:30  0:20        0:00  0:19
pw:  0:09 0:00 0:28  0:22  0:21              0:16  0:07
vt:  0:00 0:06       0:32  0:21               --    --
bln:      0:12 0:18  0:29  0:23
txa:      0:05 0:28  0:16  0:27
bli:      0:02       0:16  0:32              0:20

Overall scores:
     h1 h2 -- h3 -- -- -- h4 --
tvb: 10  2  5  3  0  0  0 15 15 =  50, 1st
yqn: 10  1  0  0 15  5 15  0 12 =  58, 2nd
pw:   9  0 11 15  8 15 15 15  0 =  88, 3rd
vt:   0  6 15 15  8 15 15 15 15 = 104, 4th
bln: 10 12  1 15 10 15 15 15 15 = 108, 5th
txa: 10  5 11 15 14 15 15 15 15 = 115, 6th
bli: 10  2 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 = 117, 7th
hkc: 10 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 = 130, 8th