Report on VK3YQN April 2007 Foxhunt

We were originally scheduled to run the March hunt but this was cancelled due to lack of teams, despite moving the date forward a week to suit a number of teams.

The hunt started from the Pinewood Shopping Centre carpark in good weather.

Despite Bruce (TJN) racing out to the first hiding spot so we could commence shortly after the 8pm starting time, the VT team was running late and arrived at the start around 8:20 without their gear set up. They very quickly mounted everything and by soon after 8:25 we had 6 teams (YDF, BLN, VT, VR, TXO, HRL) ready to go.

For the first hunt Bruce was located in Norton’s park, which should be familiar to street orienteers.
The lower power used had a few teams overestimating the distance.
BLN was first to find him, followed within a minute by YDF and HRL.
Yes, Roger (HRL) had quickly formed a team only a couple of days before, comprising him and a couple of inexperienced friends and he borrowed some of Bruce’s gear on the way to the start location. His success in finding the first fox within a minute of the first team was excellent but unfortunately this success was not to last the entire evening.
TXO and VR arrived 4 minutes later. VT arrived too late and scored the maximum 10 points – this was caused by hasty gear assembly and not observing their “green to green” policy of antenna mounting – yes, you guessed it the yagi was put on backwards. Greg picked up on this eventually when the signal seemed to get weaker and weaker the “closer” they got to the fox.

The next hunt was two-legged with the first leg on 70cm. At the start Gary (TXO) reported that he didn’t have any 70cm gear (no receiver, beam or sniffer). Fortunately Bruce had brought a 70cm sniffer with him that Gary picked up from him at the first fox location so his team would be able to follow another hound into the area and then use Bruce’s sniffer to compete independently. Well, that was the theory – unfortunately Bruce’s 70cm sniffer was found to be faulty.

The first leg was located at the end of a road behind a very large, deep and dangerous quarry.
This excellent spot was discovered by Steve when sightseeing in March (when we were originally to be fox). The bush covered peak could only be accessed via a 500m long track bounded by high cyclone fences on both sides for the entire length of the track. The hunt start was a little delayed when Bruce discovered that since last month a boom gate had been installed at the start of the track (just for vehicles, pedestrians fine) so the fox had to walk in too. A piece of dodgy coax (possibly aggravated by the walk in), and a question mark battery meant that the 70cm wasn’t as good as it might have been. The HRL team was by far first in the area, and had even dropped off Roger with a sniffer as BLN called numerous times from various locations, and VR called from Mt Dandenong claiming everyone else was with them (oh really ?).
Despite the early presence of HRL, the YDF team found us shortly after (must have used that transmat beam on Mt Dandenong). BLN checked all sides of the quarry, but had problems hearing the fox. We were still some distance above the quarry though. TXO found the fox despite us lending them a non-functional sniffer (sorry guys! – another thing to fix, grrr).
4 of the 6 teams (YDF first, then HRL, VT, TXO) found Bruce, with BLN finding him 3 minutes after the time limit and VR giving up and going to have a coffee muttering something about the quarry being private land (except the fox wasn’t in there).

The second leg was on 2m located in bushland where Ian (YQN) and Peter were sitting at a picnic table at the top of a hill with lights in the distance visible through the full 360 degrees. First in was Adam (YDF) followed 2 minutes later by Doug (VT team) and then 7 minutes later Gary TXO and shortly afterwards Marta of the BLN team. HRL didn’t find it and the VR team were still off somewhere consuming caffeine.

The fox team had given up on having Steve with us for the night due to him being overseas but were surprised to find him turn up during hunt 2 having come straight from the airport to join us for the rest of the evening.
The hunt was scored on the time difference between the legs and was won by YDF followed closely by VT, then a fair margin to the other teams.

Hunt 3 was supposed to be another 70cm/2m 2-legged event but due to problems with the signal in the previous hunt (and also that dodgy sniffer) we decided to make it 2 x 2m. The VR team returned to the event after a bex and a good lie down.

The first leg was run by Bruce who was located up a tree atop a hill (revenge on Marta) in Wellington Chase park. First in was Adam for YDF who took only a few passes under the tree before looking up followed by VR within a minute of them (the caffeine obviously worked). Next to arrive was Gary (TXO) who spend agonising minutes passing back and forth under the fox, occasionally disappearing off into the forest. David for BLN team saw me as soon as he approached. Under the tree (again) was Gary, and behind David were 2 runners from other teams. Despite Bruce desperately trying to communicate to David quietly that he was in, he insisted on blowing his advantage by loudly demanding a reply. He got it, and all 4 teams got the same score, including Gary who’d spent an embarrassing 8 minutes searching below. All teams found this fox.

For the second leg Peter & Ian were located behind an industrial area. We had expected that some teams might try and find a way through to the rear down factory drive-ways or other suspect means (i.e. via private property) before they found where we had managed to drive in.
We didn’t however expect anyone to come in from the north which turned out to be quite amusing for Ian to watch from his hiding spot on top of a very large dirt mound as in order to get in that way hounds would have to cross a 3m or so wide creek.
Several teams tried this with VT runners in particular running up and down the edge of the creek for ages trying to find a way across (unsuccessfully).
The fox wasn’t particularly well hidden – just sitting on the ground. Despite this, it was amusing to watch from a distance as several runners each took a couple of minutes to find it, walked past it within 50cm several times, one even shining their torch onto it multiple times as they past it before finally finding it.
First in was John (BLN) followed by Tim (YDF team) then a gap to Geoff and Ian (VR team). Ian was the exception to all the other runners – he came up the mound, walked in a direct line towards the fox and found it instantly. Right on the 20 minute time limit was VT and HRL – Roger was exhausted and couldn’t run up the mound despite the looming time limit, having been dropped off over a kilometre away. The distance he’d run was evident by the fact that it took his team mates around 10 minutes to drive to the meeting spot after it was announced.
This hunt was scored as a mixture of the time into the first hunt and the differential time into the second fox. This resulted in the hunt being won by YDF, followed by VR, BLN, TXO, then VT and HRL.

The sudden unexpected presence of Steve was a bonus because he was able to run the supper hunt. To get it underway quickly, Bruce ran a fox from his car as he drove home and then Steve’s weaker signal took over once he was in position. Steve was hidden in a large cage full of tyres near an Australia Post processing centre. This quite good location was found by Bruce that evening on his way home from work. First in was YDF followed by 3 minutes later by BLN, VR, HRL and VT within seconds of one another, with TXO at the 10 minute mark.

Last time we were fox, the night progressed much faster than expected and we had to introduce another spontaneous hunt to fill in the time. This time we took no chances with running out of locations and that planning coupled with the late start & 70cm issues meant we ended up with 5 unused locations – almost enough for another entire evening. At least planning next time will be easier!

Supper was held at Bruce’s place in Ashwood.

Overall scores and placings were:


Congratulations to the YDF team – that was huge winning margin.