VK3CI July fox hunt report
For the July hunt we were pleasantly surprised to get 4 teams (MZ, BLN, FAST, FOX) despite a number of people being unavailable. The hounds gathered in Glen Waverley for a cold but fortunately dry night of hunting. All hunts were on 2m and single leg.
Fox team for the night was Ian (CI), Mark (BES), Suzanne (FSZI), Kostas and Pano.
Details of each hunt
#1: Pano and Ian were hidden in a bush at the northern end of a grassy laneway near Brandon Park. A few hounds tried to get in by simply saying it’s in the bush without seeing either us or the fox. All found us except MZ, with Darian first in.
#2: The fox was located at the north end of a long pathway that runs between shops/factories and a shipping container yard. The only way in was from the south but teams tried to get in from the east which was close to the fox (strong signal) and appeared to possibly offer access. Darian worked this out first and then Marta appeared a very short time later. Unfortunately MZ and FOX did not find this within the 10 minutes.
#3: Pano and Ian were standing under shallow alcoves just under Ferntree Gully Rd at the end of another grass lane. Teams trying to access us from FTG Rd would have been only 2m from us but unable to see us or access us due to the large drop. Thanks to Bruce for discovering this while cycling to StreetO. Only 2 teams found us within time – Darian first, followed by Marta a minute later.
#4: We were in a clump of trees near where the bike path goes under the Monash Freeway. We had expected teams to come to us along the bike path, either from the west or north. But the teams all approached us from the south and crossed the creek. Fortunately it had not rained for a while so there was not too much water to cross! MZ seemed to get their act together in this hunt – despite earlier DNF’s they were first to arrive. This improved performance however was short-lived.
#5: The fox was located under the metal steps of a portaloo located behind houses along the north side of the railway line near Carnegie station. Pano and Ian were hiding nearby, behind a large signalling control cabinet to watch for any hounds crossing the tracks from the south side. That’s where we spotted Darian. Fortunately he kept running until he found the pedestrian crossing about 50m past us. Pano jumped into the loo and sure enough Darian thought the fox was inside and was greeted by a smiling face but no fox. Didn’t take him long to find it however. A few minutes later BLN’s car appeared almost opposite us in a street on the south side. Marta jumped out, yelled something at the car, jumped back in and they drove off. Roger also approached on foot from the south side and kept running past and crossed at the correct place but arrived a minute after time was up. BLN finally arrived close behind (as expected they drove in). David complained the signal was weaker than expected, probably due to the Faraday shielding of the loo steps and trailer. If Marta had stayed out of the car and run where Roger and Darian went she would probably have got in within time. We felt generous so gave Roger and David 8 and 9 respectively rather than 10. BLN had been within a couple of minutes of the winner in the previous hunts – maybe the change was due to David and Marta’s baby testing out the touch screen rather than fox issues? – Never too young to start fox-hunting. This was the first test of CI’s fox controller which was quickly thrown together to turn an old IC22 into a fox – cycles PTT with a (sinusoidal) morse ident added every 2 minutes. From reports it seemed to work ok. Not bad for < $5 plus some junk box bits.
#6: Suzanne and Mark located the fox in Sir Zelman Cowan Park west of the Monash Freeway in a narrow area between the freeway fence and some cricket nets. It seems that the wire fences shielded the signal in some directions. MZ were first to drive into the closest car park to our location but decided the signal was too weak so unfortunately for them went away and tried to approach via the creek under the freeway. Ironically we had earlier thought of putting the fox there but thought the creek was a bad idea if there was heavy rain on the night. BLN, FOX and FAST all approached from a different direction and ran to us across one of the ovals, arriving in fairly quick succession – but apparently a few of them had thought the creek was the likely location of the fox and had already done a run down the Gardiners Creek drain.
#7: When Pano & Ian arrived at the planned spot near the start of Whitehorse Rd we thought it might cause a problem with residents so we investigated the park neartby. Fortunately a small drain was found in a hill that fitted the fox perfectly. All teams found it pretty easily, most via the nearby side street, within a couple of minutes of Darian who was (yet again) first. Mark and Suzanne were surprised to catch up with the hounds while driving east along Toorak road on the way to the supper location. Knowing that the fox location was near Burke/Whitehorse Road, we were amused that no-one had headed north by the time we saw them well east of Burke Road. We resisted the temptation to yell out “turn left” as we passed them. By the time we reached Warrigal Road, the last of the hounds headed north and we proceeded to supper.
The late start and need to wait a couple of times for teams to gather their runners and assemble for the next hunt meant we were a little further than hoped from the supper location when we renamed hunt 7 the supper hunt and abandoned the remaining planned locations.
BLN and MZ both won a hunt (impressive for MZ as it was only Ian and Roger), thus just preventing FAST getting a perfect score. Scores have been posted to the web site (note FOX is up next month), details below.
A big thanks to Olga and Pierre for braving the cold and organising a BBQ supper in Halliday Park for everyone – yummy!
And also thanks to Mark MD for loan of his baby monitor / fox and battery.