VK3BLN June 2005 Foxhunt Report
Hunt 1 – Masochistic Adventure in the rear of David’s new office “OUCH”! If you didn’t yell it, you at least thought it if you were one of three hounds who braved the blackberries along a dark and narrow strip of mud behind the industrial estate north of Redland Drive Mitcham (48 J12). Gary would have come first – he was spotted not 20 metres away – but changed his mind, perhaps lacking the requisite penchant for prickly bushes and barbed wire, only to return many minutes later. Adam found the fox first, complaining loudly about thorns embedded in sensitive southern regions. With Adam constantly reminding us of the time, we heard Geoff bellowing instructions (from safely behind a fence) to fellow snifferer John, who had to contend with Adam’s countdown (“HURRY, 30 seconds left!”) before spotting coax cable and pulling the transmitter out from beneath a dirty wooden platform.
Hunt 2: In view of the hill climbing planned for later in the night, we decided, for a bit of a change, to set the second hunt down in the gully of a picturesque little park not far from the first hunt. A long, scenic, wooden bridge, ferns, native vegetation, frogs croaking their excitement at the night; what more could any hound ask for? Well, quite a lot it seemed. After crashing through the damp and muddy undergrowth, Adam from YDF team was first to arrive. After exchanging brief greetings with an excited Fitzel, he ran straight for the briefcase which we had set up conveniently (and obviously) on the little bridge, and yelled out ‘I’ve got range 9!’. He couldn’t quite understand my laughter as he frantically pawed at the briefcase; eventually, I took pity on him and assured him that no, David could not quite fit inside it… He kept circling the briefcase for quite a few minutes after my little hint, though, not able to understand why his sniffer was so excited in that location. Why all this trouble, you ask? Well, David’s apparently forgotten leaky coax was the key. Quite a long thing, securely attached to the underside of the bridge, it produced an interesting standing wave pattern with many range 9 locations! Adam eventually found the end of the coax and traced it down to where David was lying. Geoff from MX was next to arrive, experiencing a similar amount of fun in locating the transmitter. It took a bit of work to persuade him not to tug the coax out from under the bridge, though! Gary from TXO arrived last, and it took a bit of advice from Geoff and Adam to guide him along to David, who then leapt out at him with a rather loud ‘Boo!’, leading to much hilarity from those assembled.
Hunt 3: Hunt 3 took us to a new subdivision overlooking Lilydale Lake, Roads not marked in 2003 Melways , with a really good view of all approaches on the main road. The Fox settled in for a long wait, as the first two hunts of the night took 30 minutes each, but soon enough the Hounds were on the way. The only approach from Vermont South to Lilydale was Canterbury Road, long/straight with no chance for triangulation.so to make things a little interesting and break the monotony the Fox broke out the mouth organ and offered a few tunes. No-one complained; maybe it was better than Hunt 5’s phone ringtones…:-) To make things even more interesting the Fox kept cycling the transmitter power (later comment from the Beam Swinger (Geoff) on the MX Team, “Shit, I’ve lost the Signal”). Not having sat in the back of the MX Houndmobile for quite some time, and not being up with all the latest mods to the gear, Geoff was still coming to grips with operation of the equipment, obviously still thinking it was his operational technique and not the Fox cycling power. As the YDF team came in sight the Fox just happened to cycle the Power again, which saw them sail past and take off up the opposite hill. The Fox’s timing was impeccable (YDF comment later, “The signal was just starting to swing around when we lost it”). They came back and straight past again in the opposite direction. This was one of those classic moments that puts the pleasure in being the Fox. They had enough information now on where the Fox might be, just had to figure out how to get in. One more pass found the new subdivision and the Fox. YDF in first, next it was MX’s turn. Then the fun started. Gary’s team, could clearly be seen cruising back and forth along Canterbury road, much to the amusement of the gathered hounds (“No left, No Right, you’re getting close”, shouted the Hounds, but Gary’s team were not listening). Then they turned into Lilydale Lake, again!!! That was too much for the Fox, he started issuing commands via the radio, “Not there! Across the road!”. They eventually got in, much to the amusement of the assembled hounds.
Then it was time to let them off for the big hunt. Bruce had just rung in and wanted to play. Geoff asked if the Fox could possibly put a hunt close to where Bruce could be picked up. The Fox was firm, no way were we heading back that way, not even close (to Burwood?????). So it seems that MX team of two and Bruce were in contact through Hunt 4 and Bruce was to meet them later…
Hunt 4 – Better get a ladder, I think I’ve thrown my sniffer up. Samuel Adams, an old-world lager from a Boston microbrewery, complements licorice all-sorts – or so discovered John and Graham as they picnicked on a Hill-top water tank in Christmas Hills (274 D1), having pulled their ladder up after them. “How are they going to get up here?” “I don’t know, that’s their problem. (snigger)” A 5-element yagi perched upon a milk crate beamed an intense beacon south to Lilydale, making the long drive a surprise. Adam approached first, hoisting himself high enough to peer along the tank’s lid (hanging from his nose or sniffer?) shouting, “I can see you!” in an attempt to lure the shadowy figures adopting a low profile on a picnic blanket. When nothing stirred, Adam circled the tank once or twice more before getting a leg-up onto the top from a teammate. In second place came Geoff (thanks for returning our stepladder), closely followed by Gary.
Hunt 5: Just as YDF have a reputation for blackberries, BLN is trying hard to establish a reputation for hilltops. In this hunt, we believe that we succeeded. Skidding along a dirt road in Panton Hill, we screeched to a halt in a little dirt parking lot, and wandered up with batteries and radio in hand to the top of a reasonably tall hill. We took a track; quite nicely marked, it was, with many star pickets neatly positioned along its edges. The fourth hunt finished much earlier than we expected (a bit of hooning, perhaps?), so we were transmitting in no time at all – this is where David’s phone with it’s many ring tones was first brought into play . Gary from TXO was first to arrive, sniffing straight to where we were sitting. He chose to crash through the undergrowth rather than up our little track, though. It would have _been_ much easier otherwise, Gary! Quite a while later, Geoff puffed his way to the top of the hill, muttering what I’m sure were a few choice obscenities along the way. He was briefly distracted by a bouncing Fitz before making his way to where David was transmitting. There was a bit of complaining about broken down fences – what is it with these hounds and their complete disregard of tracks?? Interestingly, he mentioned that our signal was so strong that he had thought the fox was somewhere near the Memorial Tower. And in fact the next hunt was – lucky he didn’t spot Guy setting up during his travels in that direction! Shortly afterwards, Bruce arrived, complete with sniffer but lacking any light source. He’d been directed by us to the meeting point of this hunt, and was commanded to sniff his way to us if he wanted to join the hunt. At this point in the evening, time was pressing on, so we called off the hunt and moved the hounds to the meeting spot.
Hunt 6: This was to be somewhere up near the Tower at the Kangaroo Ground War Memorial. The Fox thought that was a little obvious, so the Foxmobile was parked as close to the tower as possible. Then the fox went along the fence 50m in the opposite direction to set up his lair (under a blanket and against a wire fence). The fox Tx was set vertically, hard up against the fence and again the power was cycled…many times!!! First to arrive was the YDF team, out of the Houndmobile and straight up the hill to the Tower. Two head torches went bobbing up the hill (huge smile on the face of the fox), then came the MX Team. Same problem, straight up the hill. By this time YDF was working their way down the hill and crossing fences??? Sniff, Sniff, Sniff. Then arrives Gary’s Team. Gary says, “I’ll just sniff this”, went straight to the fox and was gone straight away. The other teams hadn’t even noticed where he had been… Then came YDF, kicking the Fox in the Leg and finally Bruce (weren’t you at home a little while ago?) for the MX Team. Later, Geoff said the signal was coming from the tower on the hill; absolute fluke, the Fox had not expected that. Certainly helped confuse the Hounds. Gave Gary’s team a second first for the night, and a good boost for the team with the youngest Beam Swinger (Darian).
By this time it was 11:30pm and the Hounds were set off for the Supper Hunt. They knew the rough direction (Warranwood), but the Fox wasn’t ready yet….Dave said, “Don’t worry we’ll do it mobile”, Marta was heard to say, “Too hard ????, can’t reach!!”. Not sure what was happening in the last Foxmobile, but the Transmitter eventually got turned on too and the Hounds were well and truly on the way..
Hunt 7: By the time the 6th hunt finished, we were only partially on the way to the final position, so we quickly hooked up the radio and started transmitting ring tones again until we drove to the top of yet another hill. We were briefly off the air as we got out of the car and set the beam up to point toward the direction were we anticipated the hounds would come from. We settled ourselves in near to where we had parked, behind a convenient bush. We expected all the hounds to drive in along the same road that we had come from, and then wander straight down to where we were sitting. Imagine our surprise and delight when torches appeared from the top of another adjacent (very tall!) hill and began slowly stumbling over to us. They weren’t moving very fast when they finally arrived (I run up that hill most morning, guys, what’s your problem??), and all the teams seemed to move straight past us to a car parked not far from our bush. Must have been quite a decent reflection back there! Bruce (who’d defected to MX for the night) was first to arrive, shortly followed by Adam. TXO trundled up some time later. Final scores:
Hunt 1 Hunt 2 Hunt 3 Hunt 4 Hunt 5 Hunt 6 Hunt 7 TOTAL TXO 2 2 2 2 0 0 2 10 MZ 1 1 1 1 1 2 0 7 YDF 0 0 0 0 3 1 1 5
John, David, Marta, Guy, Graham, Fitzel and helpers
VK3BLN .-.-. …-.- . .