January 2000 Foxhunt

The monthly WIA 2m Fox Hunt for January was run by VK3s TVB/VR/MZ and JMD. The weather for the evening was mild – ideal for the sport. In spite of short-notice, the summer holidays and a new starting location, six teams turned up to take part. The new start location proved to be worthwhile. On top of a hill and relatively central for most hounds, this new location offered plenty of space and safe exits from the carpark for those taking part – certainly, better than the now congested K-Mart location that has been used in recent times.

The first hunt for the evening was a four-leg hunt on two metres; the hunt in any order, but finish by 9:30 format used offers hounds a choice as to which legs they hunt first and avoids the “we’ve got a convoy…” syndrome that often occurs on single leg or hunt-in-order hunts. Most hounds seem to have headed towards Ian (VK3MZ) for their first leg. Ian was in a back alleyway behind the cinema complex in Glen Waverley; running 25-30 watts he was probably the strongest signal at the start location. First in here was one of the hounds, with another coming a close second (it’s hard to make this stuff interesting when you don’t actually know who won the other legs). Ian watched in amazement as one of the newer hounds followed Paul (3PW) into the alley, but didn’t see him talking to Ian sitting in the car. When Paul headed off, he did too.

The second leg was run by Jack (3WWW) who was hiding in a walkway between some buildings in Tally Ho. First in here was in. In the meantime, the VK3PW team had chosen to hunt the other legs first; this gave them first into Geoff (3VR) who was tucked down a dead-end alleyway at the back of a park in Surrey Hills.

The final leg was Mark (3JMD) hiding in a well fenced off reserve; the VK3PW team was the first to find this leg as well. The second leg was a miniature transmitter concealed within a rock. Transmitting only 10 miliwatts, this device was planted at the opening of a tunnel in amongst some similar rocks. Unfortunately, the piece of rock that covered the opening in the rock fell off and Brian (3YNG) noticed a thin piece of red wire trailing out of the hole. Very carefully, he returned the rock to its place in the rock wall and shot up the slope to tell Ian who was standing nearby. As it turned out, most other teams did eventually find the device – although most took several minutes before finally getting down on their knees to pull the rock wall apart.

The third hunt for the evening was run by Jack (VK3WWW); it was in a park near his QTH.

The fourth hunt for the evening was a multi-leg, hunt in order using the now infamous JMD leg-scoring system. Geoff (VK3VR) was hidden deep in blackberries at the edge of a railway line on the first leg. To make things more interesting he had wrapped himself in black plastic and was lying on the ground. First into the area was Adam (3HDF). Adam did two loops of the area before finally deciding that it really was inside the blackberries. Nonetheless, first to actually find the fox was Paul (3PW) who walked into the area and trod on Geoff before realising that there was something underneath the plastic. Paul commented later “…as I lifted the plastic I thought that there could be a dead body underneath (sorry Paul, it must have been something I ate…). When I saw your foot, I got a bit of a start…but then you sat up and I knew who it was”.

The next leg took hounds to a dead-end street in Mont Albert; it was on this leg that the PW team were followed by a police motorbike. Fortunately, he was just curious and stopped to talk to Ian for a few minutes before moving on.

The 3rd leg was hidden at the edge of a creek behind some houses in Burwood. According to Jack and Glenn several hounds came down the slope towards the creek at hair-raising speed and almost came to grief. Fortunately, nobody was (badly) hurt.

The final leg was hidden in dead-end road behind a park in Blackburn South. As time was dragging on, hounds were instructed to make their way to supper with all possible haste.

After a damn fine supper, the score were announced. First was a VK3, second was another and third was too. (and when I get the scores, I’ll come back and update the appropriate bits of this email. Sorry about the lack of details – more to follow.

Regards, Geoff (VK3VR)