Five teams met on a balmy Friday evening at Quambee Reserve for the January 2003 Melbourne foxhunt.
Hopefully, everyone would have noted the fine print on the instruction sheet: Bonus points were to be awarded for unbogging the fox’s vehicle. Alert teams would have noted the police car, armed with speed camera, that entered the car park and turned to perch itself on the entry on Oban Rd — only to reveal that one of its taillights would fail the roadworthy test!
The location for the first hunt was a raised wooden walkway adjacent to a small lake in McAlpine Reserve, Ringwood North (MAP 50A1). Signal appeared to radiate all along the walk-way but where was the fox? The gaffer special transmitter was hiding in the end of a rotten log, home to an ants nest only a few minutes before. To make life entertaining for the fox, and frustrating for hounds, the famous BLN leaky coax-antenna was deployed. The coax was installed underneath the walkway, connected to the fox via a length of normal non-radiating coax run under the ant log. Hounds venturing under the walkway had to content with spider webs and creepy crawlies above, and the soggy marsh underneath. Hounds choosing the walkway were simply baffled with a conflicting set of bearings.
Hunt two was staged on a fire escape at the east side of the Eastland shopping complex in Ringwood (49H8). Entry could be gained from the stairs on the northeast corner car park but we imagined hounds crashing through shoppers and cinema-goers. Surely, we thought, someone will call 1800 1234 00 and report “Terrorists with funny antennas”. No such luck, the hunt went without a hitch. Bruce was first in and all the rest soon after. The asphalt had just been newly sprayed with gray paint, and now sports a fancy array of footprints traversing the upper and lower decks.
At the meeting spot, departure was somewhat delayed by some panic stricken phone calls to Brian Ackerly from David (XAJ) because the scoring box was unable to download to our laptop. This was punctuated with phone calls to/from YQN asking if the hunt had started — they had chosen to park 30 metres away from the meeting spot (within eyesight) but were incommunicado because our comms rig seemed to lose audio at this stage.
The third hunt was a three-legged fox O-ring affair using Ackerly Laboratories multi-purpose phallic-O-tron low-power (or no-power) transmitters. Approximate locations of the transmitters are revealed to enable teams DF the weaker than normal signals all sharing the same frequency. The use of automatic scoring allowed the transmitters to be placed in locations that would not otherwise be feasible, as normally a person accompanies the fox. The nano-power output of the first two transmitters made these legs extra challenging. Geoff, ‘3VR discovered the first transmitter in a lane way between buildings located South off Molan St, Ringwood (MAP 49E10), apparently after eliminating all other laneways. After running to the end of the lane, searching for a way through or over the impassable fence, VR found the fox in a louver window halfway along the lane on the return journey. VK3KIR was also successful on this leg.
The second leg was hidden in a tree on an overgrown path running along the West side of the Ringwood Powernet terminal station (MAP 49D10). Entry was off Heatherdale Rd. Given the proliferation of blackberries, it seems fitting that the one team to locate this transmitter was YNG of lets-hide-the-fox-in-those-thar blackberries fame!
Lily, Graham and crew met the other half of the fox team on the third leg to provide some moral support. David was in a lather, John was looking at a loss, Alp was trying but did not know how, Graham looked calm and tried to settle David, Guy was also working up a lather… Lily (wandering what all the fuss was about) got out the old clipboard and pen and waited by the fox and checked the runners in manually. (David was relieved but was somewhat bemused to having to resort to the “old system”).
Just as the third leg was about to be planted, news reached the fox of the lack of radiating power of the preceding legs — so this transmitter was placed in a more conducive location, up a tree at the end of Argent Place (49E12). It is ironic that this was the one transmitter that decided it would radiate at full power. No excuses for this leg. 🙂
Hunt four was held in a new development near the southwest corner of Dorset Rd & Canterbury Rd (64K1).. The fox was hidden in the scrub, where there were blackberries… lots of them. Bryan would have appreciated it. Everything went without a hitch, except that we lost BQZ.
The fifth hunt was to be found hanging over the wrong side of a fence behind trees in Jacobus Walk, Ferntree Gully (64H12). After first being very pleased with the choice of location, the fox was a little concerned when VR and YDF managed to locate the transmitter all too easily. The fox was relieved when the next few teams all arrived at once and proceeded to squabble and fall over each other for what seemed like an eternity – phew! BQZ was eventually successful with a little moral support from the fox… “Warmer, cooler, really hot, could it could be vertically polarized!?”
Hunt six saw us on a bike track in Wantirna South (72B3). Entry was gained via a track off Cathies Lane via the road to the Refuse Disposal Center. After having three men scout out which was the best way in, we drove down the bike track and planted the fox against the fence line. This hunt went off without a hitch. Everyone clambered in armed with the scoring box keys, a mixture of confusion and relief to find out that we were now operating on manual… no key required. But we seemed to have lost BQZ again… brrrr-brrrr… brrrr-brrrr… Where??? You’re in Dandenong???? And so the hunt was ended. We proceeded to drive to the meeting spot, trying to retrace our tracks only to get THE-SUB (Go-anywhere Subaru) well and truly bogged, to the amusement of the hounds. THE-SUB also chose this moment to reveal a propensity for not engaging reverse. With plenty of willing helpers we were soon rolling again.
The final hunt was located in shrubbery in the middle of an otherwise sparsely vegetated Llewellyn Park in Wantirna South (72E3). Entry was from the south end of Cathies Lane East via a 4WD proving ground, the normal entrance being closed. Although this location was only a few hundred metres from the previous hunt, most hounds ventured as far as Stud Road, which is over a kilometer away! Teams arrived from all directions and converged almost at once on the fox.
Just in case your eyesight wasn’t up to reading the scoring fine print on the handout, here it is again… “Hunts will be scored on order with a 2-point penalty for not finding the fox. Multi-legged hunts are weighted with first worth triple the points of the last and the second worth double the points of the last. No correspondence will be entered in to. We are not responsible for anything. Councils are not sue-able, we as an entity or as individuals are not sue-able. John K recommends you take care. All hunts are taken at own risk. If you can’t hear it, it is not our fault. We were covered by HIH. If you break your gearbox it is your fault. Points may be awarded for un-bogging the fox and/or providing slabs of cold VB.”
Thanks once again to Bryan, ‘YNG and Ewen, ‘OW for lending us gear. Bryan lent us the Gaffer tape special, O-Ring transmitters and for made a valiant effort organising five auto-scoring boxes with minimal notice. Ewen, ‘OW also provided a backup fox just in case ….
JAN 03 Scores
|Hunt/Leg||1||2||3a||3b||3c||4||5||6||7||Bonus Points||Total||Plug number||People|
|VR||0||1||0||2||1||0||0||0||2||0||6||7||Geoff, John, Mark|
|KIR||4||3||0||2||3||2||2||1||1||0||18||3||Andrew, Dennis, Jarrod, Ron|
|YDF||2||4||3||0||0||1||3||2||3||0||18||9||Greg, Brian, Adam|
|Bonus Points||Awarded for unbogging fox/providing slabs of VB.|