Jan 2020 Foxhunt

Congratulations to the VK3MZ team for a job well done in taking out the January hunts results were as follows.  Many thanks to Kristian and Megan for opening their home and providing supper.  Also thanks to Tom, Brendan and Greg for running the hunts.  The formating looks great on my scree lets see what happens to it through the list!!

73

Greg VK3VT for the VK3FOX team

HuntMZFASTOWCIBLN
1A034910
1B1|11|49|130|91|11
2A1|22|67|200|94|15
2B2|40|610|303|121|16
3A1|50|68|381|133|16
3B3|87|1310|480|131|17
40|81|149|571|143|20






Place12524

Vic ARDF Christmas Party

Thanks to all those who made to the Vic ARDF Christmas Party.

The weather turned out perfect, considering the scorcher only 1 day earlier.

The results from the two fun 2m events have been unearthed and are below. Thanks to Darian for working them out. A couple of the 2m FoxOrs had somehow ended up on low power (?), and unfortunately they were some of the more distant ones. One was in constant carrier mode, which was a bit confusing with so much other RF noise around.

2m Sprint Course (~1.5km) 4 TX (something went wrong with TX#4 on the day, but it seems to work fine now!)

Darian 22mins 4TX
Monica 39mins 4TX

2m FoxOr Course (~5km) 9 TX on different frequencies

Bryan 70mins 9TX
Darian 50mins 8TX
Adam 57Mins 8TX
Jack 56mins 6TX
Monica 53mins 4TX
Henk & Di 78mins 4TX
Suzanne 80mins 4TX

Ewen also presented us all with an intriguing ARDF word puzzle that was quite a challenge. No-one got all the words, with I believe the closest being Monica with 15 ARDF words. Other placings went to Mark, Bruce and Henk.

Nibblies and BBQ followed, then we viewed the Legend of Burnout Barry, featuring the well known Invermay Drive in Monbulk. Many also stayed for the feature, chosen by a popular vote of 2 Vs 1, of Jasper Jones.

 

 

Both AR relays teams place at Vic Relays

The AR club only entered two teams in the Mixed category (Short,Long,Medium) of the Victorian Orienteering Club Relays, but they placed 2nd and 3rd, so everyone competing got a certificate. Dry and warm autumn conditions at Eppalock.

Control point beside rock

view of the ARDF gazebo & Flag

section of the arena area

view from ARDF gazebo

The AR 2nd & 3rd placed relay teams

Jack’s CATI event at Westerfolds

Vic ARDF scoop at Street-O presentations

The small AR club had an impressively high placings hit rate at the Street-O Monday/Wednesday Summer series presentations on 3rd April.
We even had the 1st/2nd/3rd tri-fector in one of the Power Walking categories !

Congrats to Bruce, Suzanne, Mark, Dianne, Henk, Jenelle, Ewen and Ian (not in picture – he had to head off home earlier).

February 2019 fox hunt report


The February fox hunt was run by the VK3OW team. The hounds were VK3CI, VK3BLN, VK3FAST and VK3FOX.

The first event was a two legged hunt with the first leg being somewhat unusually on 80 meters with the second leg being on 2 meters. Both transmitters were in Plenty George Park Melway map 10 . 80m on a knoll at ref E7 and 2m in the bush at about J5. The two foxes were a 1.5 Km run or a 10 Km drive apart. The 80M fox gave, as it turned out, rather too cryptic comments suggesting the the hounds should bring a 2m sniffer when hunting the 80m fox. Or was it my rather rusty CW too difficult to read? The FOX team found both foxes within the time limit. The CI team found both foxes and although strictly over time for the 2m leg were given a point for actually finding the fox. Bruce in fact found the 80M fox first with Kristian 4 minutes later. Kristian was however first into the 2m fox, I suspect because the FOX team were better organised getting a 2m sniffer to Kristian. There appeared to be harsh words spoken in the CI team! The BLN team gave themselves somewhat of a penalty by starting from Doncaster or there abouts rather than Greeensborough. The hunts were run by VK3OW (80m) and VK3SLH (2m)

The next hunt was on 2m with the fox located in Cherry Street Grasslands, Melway map 20 A6. CI were first in followed by the FOX team sometime later. The BLN team arrived in good time but then tried to drive in and ended up getting their antenna tangled in a tree which slowed progress considerably. The hunt was run by VK3AI and VK3FVXN.

The next hunt was on 10m with the fox located in Price Park, Melway 20F11. The hunt started after a delay due to an air gap in the fox antenna system and the FAST team finally lived up to their name arriving quickly with BLN a minute later, followed by CI a minute after that with another minute gap to the FOX team. Hunt was run by VK3OW and VK3SLH. We were sitting at a picnic table in what we thought was a fairly plain view but all the hounds ran wide of us, finally spiralling in after running past.

The next hunt was on 2m with the fox located in Lenister Farm Melway 21J11 As we were runnning later than we wanted to be the fox was turned on while Stephen was still mobile. To ensure a good signal he “mounted’ the antenna in the sun roof. We had also planned to hide the transmitter but decided to leave it in the car. First in was the BLN team followed by the FOX team and then the FAST team who would have done better if Monica had seen the fox antenna on the roof of the car before running around it more than once. The CI team arrived a minute later.

The final hunt, on 2m, was located in Finns reserve Map 33D2 where VK’s 3AI, FVXN and FJTE were preparing supper. First in was the BLN team, followed by the CI team then FOX and FAST.

My thanks to the hounds for participating, and not lynching me for the 80M hunt. Also to Dianne, Jenelle and Henk for organising and preparing supper with a big thanks to Jenelle for the unexpected birthday cake.

Final results were CI the winners on 16 points, followed by the FOX team on 17 points, then The BLN team, 31 points, and the FAST team on 36 points.


Posted: 24 February 2019, Ewen Templeton

2m Sprint-TX test practice

2m Sprint-TX test practice

Today was a lovely sunny spring day here in Melbourne, a perfect opportunity to test the new set of 2m Sprint transmitters, following a Street orienteering (Cake-O) event in the far eastern suburb of Chirnside Park. This was also a brand new map, the first time a street-O has been run in Chirnside. The Start/Finish location was the beautiful and manicured Delemere Reserve.

Start / Finish Location

A number of ARDF regulars decided to make the trek to dabble in a bit of Sprint practice, as well as most also competing in the orienteering event prior (which wasn’t quite as hilly as I’d expected beforehand).

The results for the Sprint TX testing appears below too.


Rough Results

Competitors self-timed, as this was only an informal practice, but for the heck, here are the recorded results. You’ll note for both Jack and Jenelle I’ve only awarded 4 TXs. Perhaps Jenelle forgot to get TX#3 ? There’s no punch there anyway. In Jack’s case, he has the wrong punch mark for TX#5. Now I don’t know quite how he managed this, as there was only one punch at each TX. I can only assume he has punched at some random orienteering control, or perhaps at the grey practice FoxOr, instead (in the big tree just near the start) !?!

 

Name

#TXs

Time

Place

Kris Ruuska

5

10:14.00

1

Monica Lo Presti

5

30:30.00

2

Ewen Templeton

5

33:00.00

3

Jack Bramham

4

26:00.00

4

Jenelle Templeton

4

35:00.00

5

Uncle Rod

1+

?

6

 

TX #1 near footbridge

TX #2 in hedge square

TX #3 in the middle of the roundabout (shrubs are a bit bigger than pictured here). Jenelle missed this one.

TX #4 in a different little park well to the south

TX #5 near the tennis courts. Jack didn’t punch at this one.

 

 


Testing, Testing…

Another reason was to test the new sprint transmitters in the field for the first time.

Successes:

  • They all turned on at 2:30pm that afternoon, as programmed to 2 days before, and the transmit sequence was perfect, with no overlap between transmitters.
  • Battery voltage tests afterwards show all transmitter batteries had barely discharged at all, after running for a couple of hours (and 2 days sleeping). Even the Homing Beacon, which has the highest duty cycle, the LiIon cell was still above 4V. Lowest was 3.77V on the test FoxOr transmitter.

Room for improvement:

  • Some had difficulty DFing and IDing the transmitters at the same time. This may be because the CW is achieved by turning the final off and on, but the exciter stays on during the whole 12s. This means in practice, in whoopee mode, the sniffers alternate between a high and low tone, rather than being a definite OFF between the CW pulses, and this is harder for the brain to figure out. Another test version of firmware from Byon turns on and off the entire transmitter, but this suffers from a slow PLL re-lock time, making the pulse ‘soft’ and too short (the lock time was nearly as long as a dit). Perhaps a new special version that pre-turns on the PLL before each final stage pulse could help. Alternatively, something kludgey that shorts the exciter output during the OFF might improve things.
  • There is currently no modulation on the transmitters. Only FM modulation is available, and this seems to spread the power available over a wider frequency band, reducing the range of the transmitters significantly (liatening on whoopee, the exciter alone produces a higher whoopee tone than the modulated FM with final on, effectively inverting the morse, making it very hard to read!). Jack had problems with the Nick Roethe 2m sniffer, as it only engages whoopee when close-in, and with no modulation not much could be heard on AM. No easy solution to this one.
  • Perhaps the dits could be a bit longer. This can be manipulated somewhat in the MicroFox programming, but any changes would then need to be re-cal’d on all transmitters so the on-time window is correct for an integral number of morse words.
  • The Homing Beacon seemed to be down on power at the end. The battery was not the cause of this. Needs investigation. Is the PA getting warm ?
  • Feedback on anything else ?

 

Sprint Training

With the forecast wind and hail, 9 brave souls attempted the ARDF Sprint training held in and around Deakin Uni. A couple also did some of the Enduro controls, which was an orienteering event starting from the same spot.

The format of the event was a Five-in-Five 2m event, which in theory is possible to complete in about 6.5 minutes, followed immediately by an 80m Sprint ARDF event. Five-in-Five uses classic 5 minute cycle (1 minute each) ARDF transmitters spaced close enough that it should be possible, walking, to get to each transmitter as it comes on first time (for you). Only Jack WWW managed to get the transmitters in under 10 minutes (2 cycles). Good effort, Jack !  He admits he had a bit of luck, with earlier competitors just leaving transmitters as he approached, helping to lead him in. The time limit for this part of the event was set to 30 minutes. The transmitters were all in parkland, just off a track. In you look at the splits, below, you’ll also see Jack was the only one to do the transmitters in order, with everyone else going from #1 to #5, and then to others. Perhaps some just happened across #5 by accident ?

Mark, Suzanne & Rodney elected to only do the Five-in-Five course, with Mark the winner amongst those. Suzanne suffered some late penalties (problems with #1), but still beat out Rodney for second place. Looking at the splits at control 6 (236), Jack was clearly the fastest at this part of the event, followed with an impressive 11 minutes by Jenelle.

An ARDF sprint event has a 1 minute complete cycle, with each transmitter only on for 12s each. This was set in an area with both complex buildings, the university, and parkland around Gardiners Creek. TX #5 and #4 were in amongst the buildings and this proved too much for Jack and Peter, but not so Kris and Jennelle, who both managed those with ease. Monica liked #5 so much she punched it twice (see splits below) !  Clearly after being so flustered by those two tricky TX’s, Jack and Peter both also forgot to punch the Finish Beacon (which you are required to do at international events).

And TX #1 in the uni accommodation area ? Well, it had to be there didn’t it 🙂  Can’t make it too easy !  Generally competitors had to plan and DF carefully in this event, as it could be easy to end up the wrong side of the creek. Competitors doing both events had an un-timed (up to a 10min limit) transition leg between 2m and 80m, to get their 80m gear in order. I’m happy to say the software handled this perfectly, and I didn’t have to adjust the times it published at all.

Yep, we got that hail, and the heavy rain, but luckily both were only for short bursts, being perfect running conditions otherwise. Monica says the hail even helped her spot TX#5, as she sought shelter under cover. Besides, it’s good practice and testing for your gear, as sometimes weather can be quite unpredictable at international events. Torrential downpours are not uncommon. Thanks to Ewen for the new 80m Sprint TXs. Proto TX#1 for the 2m set has now been completed (and works), so soon we’ll have a 6-TX set on both bands.

Thank you to everyone who helped pick up the transmitters afterwards, just before the rain came (again). Apologies to Monica for not giving her a key on her first attempt.

Here’s the map, with TX locations shown. I’ve used A->E for the 80m TX, and 1->5 for 2m TX. BB was the location of both 2m and 80m beacons.


Here’s the full results:

Name Callsign Course #TX Score Late Penalty Time Place   1 Time 2 Time 3 Time 4 Time 5 Time 6 Time
Mark VK3BES FiveInFive 6 51 0 22:24:00 1 231 11:17:00 232 12:15:00 235 14:17:00 234 19:42:00 233 21:45:00 236 22:49:00
Suzanne VK3FSZI FiveInFive 6 24 27 38:39:00 2 231 17:40:00 232 18:57:00 233 23:24:00 234 32:43:00 235 36:17:00 236 39:06:00
Rodney VK3FRLS FiveInFive 13 20 0 20:53:00 3 231 01:28:00 235 02:44:00
1 Time 2 Time 3 Time 4 Time 5 Time 6 Time 7 Time 8 Time 9 Time
10
Time 11 Time 12 Time 13 Time 14 Time
Kristian VK3FDAC FullSprint 13 102 0 39:11:00 1 231 01:16:00 235 03:39:00 234 05:07:00 232 12:18:00 233 13:25:00 236 14:06:00 37 15:45:00 33 19:24:00 31 24:25:00 32 28:49:00 34 33:23:00 35 40:13:00 36 41:18:00
Jenelle VK3FJTE FullSprint 13 102 0 47:25:00 2 231 01:21:00 235 03:13:00 233 06:17:00 232 07:12:00 234 09:18:00 236 10:53:00 37 14:40:00 34 27:46:00 35 31:46:00 32 37:11:00 33 45:30:00 31 48:15:00 36 51:38:00
Ewen VK3OW FullSprint 13 102 0 69:51:00 3 231 01:17:00 235 05:46:00 233 11:08:00 232 11:49:00 234 14:23:00 236 15:59:00 37 17:48:00 33 20:37:00 31 25:19:00 32 30:53:00 34 40:53:00 35 69:21:00 36 71:57:00
Monica VK3FFAB FullSprint 13 102 0 74:25:00 4 231 01:20:00 235 10:35:00 232 12:12:00 233 14:03:00 234 14:36:00 236 15:50:00 37 22:50:00 35 27:48:00 32 35:04:00 34 43:50:00 33 68:04:00 31 76:13:00 36 79:52:00 35 27:51:00
Jack VK3WWW FullSprint 13 81 0 43:09:00 5 231 01:26:00 232 02:46:00 233 03:52:00 234 04:42:00 235 05:32:00 236 07:44:00 37 09:53:00 31 16:05:00 32 21:10:00 33 43:52:00
Peter Val FullSprint 13 81 0 74:24:00 6 231 12:01:00 235 13:39:00 232 17:16:00 233 18:44:00 234 19:49:00 236 21:23:00 37 23:57:00 33 47:57:00 31 52:24:00 32 60:16:00

 

 

Results for Gresswell Hill WOD Event

World OrienteeringDay RadiO Event

Map: “Gresswell Hill”, MacLeod

Course Setting & Event Management: Bruce (VK3 TJN) & Dianne (VK3 FVXN)


Competitor

Start

Finish

Elapsed

#Tx

Kristian VK3FDAC

14.52

15.25

33

6

Monica VK3FFAB

14.48

15.53

65

6

Hamish VK3DMC

14.59

16.07

68

5

Peter VK3ADY

14.42

15.51

90

4

Mark VK3BES

15.1

15.49

39

3

Jack VK3WWW

14.19

15.07

48

3

Jenelle VK3FJTE

14.05

14.58

53

3

Stuart McWilliam

15.07

16.04

57

2

Henk VK3AI

15.21

15.38

17

1

Rodney VK3FRLS

14.48

15.19

31

1

(equipment issues)

Greg Tamblyn

14.58

15.3

32

1

(injured)

 

January 2018 Foxhunt

Catherine and Marta put in a Marathon effort.
Here’re the scores:

Hunt 1Hunt 2Hunt 3Hunt 4AHunt 4BScorePosition
Fox1020252
CI0301041
MZ4112193
OW23434164

(one point penalty for not getting in). We generally left the fox going for quite a while.

dB

STEAMing ARDF

From Monica Lo Presti –  a teacher at Dromana College,

Dromana College offers a STEAM enhancement class for Year 7 and 8 students before school once a week. This term, students began to look at some of the basics of electronics, and even built their own crystal radio from a kit. As part of this program, one of the teachers in charge asked me if I could run a session based on my experiences with amateur radio and ARDF. As a result, on Tuesday 8th August I was able to speak to the students about what Ham radio is, and the activities that those with and without an amateur licence can participate in.

After running through the basics, and showing a short video from one of the Mount Gambier foxhunting championships, students were shown a fox-or transmitter, and how to use a sniffer to find it. I set up a course of five transmitters that were hidden around the school that students then worked in pairs to find. There were varying levels of success with most groups finding at least two transmitters, while some were able to find all five. Some groups also struggled as an unknown source was transmitting a signal in one corner of the course.

Overall students had lots of positive feedback for the morning. Many commented on how much fun they had, along with enjoying the practical nature of the event and excitement of finding the transmitters.

Monica

Tikalara Park ARDF Event

Sunday 16th July 2017

It was a cold morning with frost on the ground but the sun was shining and there was no rain about. Ian VK3MZ, Doug VK3JDO and Greg VK3VT had the transmitters out and ready at 10:30 and a steady stream of  participants arrived to try their hand at the 2M full ARDF course or the 80M “Half Sprint”.  Ian VK3MZ had been busy re-programming the 80M transmitters for Sprint use so this was the first Sprint event we have tried.  While there are still a few issues with the keying most participants were able to identify which transmitter they were hearing. In a Sprint event each transmitter is on for just 12 seconds rather than the usual  60 seconds of a normal ARDF event.  The transmitters are  closer together and the overall elapsed time is expected to be within about 60 minutes.

The temperature remained rather low, in the low teens, the whole day but as can be seen from the results a total of twelve participants turned out and had a go at one or both of the courses.  My sincere thanks to Ian and Doug for  helping organise the event and setting up the gear and to Dianne for the excellent scones. Also to those that helped pack up.

Many thanks to the Yarra Valley Orienteering club for the use of their map.

2M ARDF Results

NameCallsignTimeTXs
KristianVK3FDAC0:395
BruceVK3TJN0:565
Hamish1:015
MonicaVK3FFAB2:005
JenelleVK3FJTE1:154
Jack VK3WWW1:154
DianneVK3FVXN1:302
SuzanneVK3FSZI1:151
PeterVK3ADY1:451

80M Sprint Results

NameCallsignTimeTXs
KristianVK3FDAC0:28:425
BruceVK3TJN0:30:005
EwenVK3OW0:51:215
DarianVK3FAST0:51:405
Peter MaloneyVK3CPM1:27:225
Jack VK3WWW0:48:363

73
Greg VK3VT      

April 2017 Foxhunt

Here’re the results – below. Scoring is order based, with an extra bonus point for not finding the fox. The first two hunts were single legged. As we went along we decided, to keep the night moving, to make the remaining two legged.The scoring for the second legs words exactly as the first; order based using elapsed time from the first leg.
We kept the fox running longer to allow teams to get; up to ~1/2 hour on the second leg.
GWS team, nice work. You didn’t hold us up! From bitter experience, when we started (>30 years ago), there’s nothing worse than not finding the transmitter all night, making it difficult to improve. One thing it took us ages to solve, is we could never get a good DF as drove close (<~100m) to the transmitter; the signal would leak into the receiver with the attenuator maxed out (70-80dB).
CheersXAJ/dB

Hunt 1Hunt 2Hunt 3AHunt 3BHunt 4AHunt 4BHunt 5AHunt 5BScorePosition
Fox20234310152
Fast1110000141
GWS55545566416
CI42023222173
MZ03412143184
OW34351534285

VK3CI July 2016 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, thus just preventing FAST getting a perfect score. Scores have been posted to the web site (note FOX is up next month), details below.


HuntBLNFASTFOXMZ
130310
2101010
31024
41150
590108
601110
71022
Total1623344
Place2134

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.

Melboure July fox hunt 2016

        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.

HuntBLNFASTFOXMZ
130310
2101010
31024
41150
590108
601110
71022
Total1623344
Place2134

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.