VK3BLN Fox Hunt Report – June 2002
As usual, the BLN team was still developing equipment and software at 6:30pm on the night of the hunt. Not content to use stopwatches or raffle tickets, David XAJ was at Brian’s place creating a second “FoxScore” system. For those of you who are not regular Melbourne foxhunters, FoxScore is a black box with a 6.5mm hole and a red LED on the outside. The black box is hidden with the transmitter (fox). Each team receives two 6.5mm plugs containing a coded circuit at its tail that is unique to the team (size does matter – the plugs are equal in length and girth to ensure a satisfactory outcome). When the fox is found, the hunter simply inserts his plug into FoxScore’s hole. Once is usually enough, although some hounds who lacked technique required multiple attempts. Upon successful penetration, the tricky gadgetry within the box sucks in the hound’s identity, registers the time of insertion, and the red light glows warmly to acknowledge a successful mating and to advertise readiness for a subsequent coupling. A second hole in the black box is used to evacuate the valuable data after each hunt to the serial port of a laptop. The new “lil sister” system now enables two-legged hunts to be scored auto-magically. Rumors that FoxScore was inspired by Brian’s black canine bitch, “Roxanne”, are simply untrue (apologies to fans of Sting and The Police).
The first fox was laying in wait near the south end of Bellbird Lane, North Warrandyte (23 D5). The unmade streets in this area had recently been changed for new subdivisions. Even the latest maps are slightly inaccurate. Mark JMD entered first, arriving from the south – presumably from the other side of the creek from the old Danita Drive. YDF was second, with YQN a very close third followed by Ewen VK3OW. Many unnecessary kilometers were covered both on foot and by car.
Hunt 2 found the fox hidden along the southwest side of the creek near The Parkway (34 E2) by the old Templestowe electricity station. Many hounds would have approached from the wrong side of the creek. The creek is too wide and deep to be crossed and, without a map in hand, hounds may have had trouble locating the footbridge. VK3YDF won the hunt from 3JMD, with YQN appearing more than 14 minutes later.
Continuing the “water” theme, hunt 3 (the two-legged hunt) was staged along the disused Maroondah pipeline and aqueduct in Research. Leg 1 (22 K2) required entry from Bells Hill Road (a.k.a. Mount Pleasant Road) along a hidden track and through a gate. Even though the fox was placed along the narrow strip of public land that used to carry the pipeline, permission had been obtained from the neighboring farmer to mitigate untimely death by shotgun. All 4 hounds arrived within 3 minutes of each other, with JMD first followed by YQN, OW and YDF. David and Graham hid the leg 2 fox deep within a tunnel of the aqueduct (22 H1). The steep-sided, concrete-lined channel is hard to get into and harder to get out of. Once inside, the hounds had to contend with mud & blackberries. Most teams were struggling to hear the fox so Lily accommodated by emitting a few long bursts of signal from the Landcrab. VK3JMD was narrowly beaten by YQN (by less than 20 seconds). YDF arrived a few minutes later.
A week earlier it had been raining heavily. Andersons Creek, by Gold Memorial Road (35 E2), could not be crossed without wading through running water. The fourth fox was hidden along the steep north bank of this creek. It was hoped that hounds would either brave the water or enter from the north through 400 metres of difficult and steep bush land. Fortunately for the hounds, there had been little rain and the creek was easily traversed. Just 10 minutes after planting the transmitter, the roar of four-wheel drives was heard; all four teams arrived within minutes. Bruce YQN ran straight towards the creek, eyes up, and crashed straight into a low wooden sign. Ouch, bruised legs! Tripping over the sign, Bruce landed in the mud (head down, tail up) and mimicked a bicycle rack. Several hounds chose the most direct path across the creek and scrambled with athletic ability up a 50-degree embankment, clinging onto rocks and tree stumps with sniffers snagging on shrubs and torches dragging. Bruce YQN arrived first but could not get his connector out. (Is this a frequent problem, Bruce?) Worried by a rival hound hot on his heals, Bruce cleverly blocked the FoxScore socket with his free hand whilst he fumbled around inside his pants. Our records show that YQN plugged the hole only 3 seconds before JMD, followed by OW and YDF about 5 minutes later.
The supper hunt ended at The 100 Acres Flora and Fauna Reserve, Park Orchards (35 F10). The four bodies of water at the reserve are named “Yabbie Dam”, “Tadpole Dam”, “Brown Dam” and “Austin Dam”. Those of you who know David (XAJ) would be familiar with his affinity to Austin automobiles and may have been guided towards his namesake pond – but you would have been wrong. This time, JMD pipped YQN by less than 40 seconds, followed by OW then YDF.
Much appreciation was expressed to Laurel, Lily and Graham for providing supper. There was more food provided than just the 75 cheesy-poofs that had been promised to Roger for his insolence. We could not find flaw in the scoring system’s behavior. Thanks, Brian! Following all the wet and dirty situations in which FoxScore was placed, I hope that David and Graham remembered to wipe “Roxanne” clean.
Teams 4 JMD YQN YDF OW Raw times for each hunt (H:MM:SS) Hunt1 0:41:21 0:47:30 0:47:11 0:55:10 Hunt2 0:22:25 0:36:42 0:20:34 Hunt3 0:18:59 0:20:16 0:21:51 0:20:23 Hunt 3b cumulative 0:26:11 0:25:54 0:30:57 Hunt 3b leg 0:07:12 0:05:38 0:09:06 Hunt4 0:14:12 0:14:09 0:20:17 0:19:03 Hunt5 0:04:20 0:04:58 0:11:54 0:09:32 Results based on order "No-find" penalty 1 Hunt1 0 2 1 3 Hunt2 1 2 0 4 Hunt3 0 1 3 2 Hunt 3b leg 1 0 2 4 Hunt4 1 0 3 2 Hunt5 0 1 3 2 Total points 3 6 12 17 Placing 1 2 3 4 Results based on time (traditional scoring) Max Hunt1 10 0 7 6 10 Hunt2 10 2 10 0 10 Hunt3 10 0 2 3 2 Hunt 3b leg 10 2 0 4 10 Hunt4 10 1 0 7 5 Hunt5 10 0 1 8 6 Total points 60 5 20 28 43 Placing 1 2 3 4
John ‘BLN and team.