September 1998 Foxhunt

 the results for  the september fox hunt.  

Team     hunt 1   hunt 2  hunt 3  hunt 4  hunt 5  hunt 6   hunt 7   total   place    

NKC         4           10          4           4           8          5          1           36         4    

PW          9            10          9           5           9          5          2           49         5  

BLN           0           10          9           1           0          0           1           21        2  

YQN          1             9          4            5          4           2          1           26        3  

WWW       1            10          3            1          8           2          1           26        3  

MZ            2             0           0            0          4           1          0            7         1  

JDO          10           10          9            7         10          8          1           55         6

July 1998 Foxhunt

Here are the results of the hunt held on Friday 17th July 98. I’m sorry
to the PW team but I did
not add their result correctly and they actually came equal 5th and OW
came in third.

73 Greg VK3VT

Callsign	Hunt 1	Hunt 2	Hunt 3 	Hunt 4	Hunt 5	Hunt 6	Hunt 7
Total/Place	Place

VK3VR	0	0	3	0	0	0	0	3----1
VK3BLN	4	4	1	1	1	5	8	24---2
VK3OW	5	9	2	6	1	1	7	31---3
VK3WWW	10	2	2	6	2	5	8	35---4
VK3PW	8	1	0	10	2	5	10	36---=5
VK3TKQ	5	9	7	10	2	2	1	36---=5
VK3YQN	7	10	10	3	1	5	6	42---6
VK3TXN	10	10	10	10	10	10	5	65---7

For those are keen to hunt, details of the hunt on Friday 17th July are as follows: Frequencies – 145.3MHz and 438.850MHz (to be confirmed) Start location – car park at the Doncaster Aquatic and Leisure Centre Melways 33 D9 Supper – Selsdon Court Greensborough Liaison frequency 146.675MHz Mobile numbers – Greg VK3VT – 0418535411 Doug VK3JDO – 0411586714 Chris VK3CHR – 0418229875 Now for an update on the police issue: There is a regulation concerning the overhang of loads beyond the side of the vehicle and this limits the overhang to 15 CM – most of us would exceed this. I have written to Vic Roads requesting an exemption for fox hunting – I will post any reply as soon as it arrives. I have also written to the fine people as there are some concerns with the details on the ticket. – they may withdraw or re-issue; this we can deal with when it is clear what will happen. As there may not be any illegal overhang on 438MHz we are running this band this month. Check your equipment with a plumb line – the side of the vehicle does not include mirrors etc At the worst we will all need to build systems that allow the antenna to be located over the roof of the vehicle and I am following up some hardware that may do this for around $150 (this is cheaper than the fine). There is also a regulation that relates to any load should be secured in a manner that is not likely to cause injury to persons or property and thus every one securing a load to their vehicle should ensure that it complies with this regulation. See you all on Friday 73

Greg VK3VT

June 1998 Foxhunt

Ten teams took part in the June 1998 foxhunt. The fox for the evening wasthe VK3VR/MZ/JMD team.

Results were as follows:

	1	VK3BLN	15
	2	VK3YQN	16
	3	VK3PW	18
	4	VK3OW	19
	5	VK3TKQ	26
	6	VK3VT	35
	7	VK3WWW	38
	8	VK3EM	44
	9	VK3HKC	47
	10	VK3HDX	60

Major Highlights
1. It is unfortunate that the evenings proceeedings were interrupted bythe local constabulary.
2. The WWW team were unlucky to score a 10 in the final hunt – although Jack (WWW) did make a valiant effort to find the fox on foot.

73 de,
Geoff (VK3VR)

April 1998 Foxhunt

Seven teams braved the chilly weather on Friday 17th April, to partake in a fast and furious night of multi-legged madness, hosted by the infamous PW-team. Three hunts were conducted, each consisting of four legs. A slip of paper was handed to each team on finding a transmitter, which provided the frequency for the next leg.

As an aside, Chris Edmonson VK3CE also made a surprise and unexpected appearance, snapping though rolls of film with gleeful abandon.

Starting in the carpark of the Syndal Railway Station, the first fox was hidden just north of the railway line, at end of Hunter Street, Melways 70 K1. This was, in fact, best accessed on foot by leaving the vehicles where they were to begin with!

Second leg of the first hunt was hidden in Melville Court, Melways 70 G3. Some teams expressed frustration when they thought the signal was emanating from somewhere inside Valley Reserve.

The third leg was hidden in a drain beside Regent Street, under Waverley Road, Melways 70 G4.

The transmitter on the fourth leg was behind Holmesglen TAFE, Melways 70 K3, best accessed from the reserve or bike track off Bunker Crescent. Overall for this first hunt was: VR with 0 points, WWW with 7 points, followed by YQN with 24 points. Teams returned to the Syndal Railway Station for a quick breather before the second hunt of the evening.

When was the last time anyone had a “10 minute drive-away” hunt? The Pw-team did not disappoint, as hounds raced after the fox vehicle, precisely ten minutes after its departure. This transmitter was hidden in a vacant lot in a new housing estate off Eley Road in East Burwood, Melways 61 G5.

A short drive down Middleborough Road led hounds to the next transmitter, hidden amongst factories in Ailsa Street, Box Hill South, Melways 61 F3.

Leg 3 pointed hounds towards Balwyn, where Beckett Park (Melways 46 G7) hosted the next transmitter on the Yarrbat Avenue Ridge.

A maze of overgrown, disused right-of-ways had hounds scattered in every direction when the next transmitter was hidden in a narrow alley behind houses in Canterbury, Melways 46 C12. Actual location of the transmitter was in the laneway between Milton and Dryden Streets, best entered off Matlock Street.

The meeting spot was announced and hounds congregated unceremoniously in a nearby carpark. First on Hunt 2 was OW with 1 point, followed closely by VR on 6 points and YQN on 22.

Another laneway between Russell and Loch Streets (Melways 45 K10) kicked off the third and final hunt for the evening. Teams were handed the next frequency and promptly located the next transmitter.

Leg 2 of hunt 3 was only a short drive away, secreted in Frog Hollow Reserve, Melways 60 B3. While teams enjoyed a brief sojourn here, the third transmitter was activated and two legs still remained!

Wattle Park hosted leg 3, where the transmitter was hidden in scrub behind the tennis courts. Well done to the teams who accessed this from the south side of Wattle Park, sprinting across the dewy undergrowth. Several teams did drive-up as intended.

The final transmitter for the evening could be found on the foot bridge over Canterbury Road, Melways 47 F12. While the author did not bear witness to the frenetic enthusiasm of some teams, apparently the bridge is only designed for pedestrians and could not hold multiple four-wheel drive vehicles at any given moment. (Well done for trying though guys.)

Overall for this hunt was VR with a healthy 1, WWW with a 6 and YQN on 18. Heading back for supper at the QTHR of Andrew VK3KIR, the scores were tallied and announced:

First for the evening was VR on 7 points, second was WWW on 38 points, third was OW on 52, fourth was YQN on 64, fifth was TKQ with 91, and a good effort by HKC on 104. Although the numbers appear high, they simply reflect the number of hunts.

Cheers & 73’s

February 1998 Foxhunt

Report on the February Foxhunt.

The February foxhunt was held in dry conditions with 9 teams starting at the traditional K-Mart Burwood car park. The fox for the evening was the VK3WWW team.

16 transmitters were used for the night which were effectively broken up into 4 hunts, each with pre-defined starting and finishing times.

The first hunt was a multi-leg hunt with 5 transmitters. To our astonishment, more than half of the teams were able to find all 5 transmitters. The first leg started at 8:10PM and was hidden behind the rear fence of the K-mart complex. Most teams found this transmitter within minutes of each other with VK3YQN first in line followed closely by VK3VR and VK3TKQ.

The second leg was behind Bells Restaurant in Wheelers Hill. Many teams found this one quite challenging. VK3YQN found this transmitter with about 5 minutes lead on VK3TVB, VK3YXO and VK3PW.

The third leg was hidden at the bottom end of Jells Park near Dandenong creek. Hounds arrived to find about 6 lengths of coax running in all directions. While some teams chased the most obvious piece of cable, others took a more careful approach. Some 5 teams had found this transmitter until a member of the VR team reefed the cable out of the transmitter, prematurely ending to the hunt. VK3YQN was once again well in front “ultra sniffing” out the right bit of coax while most others just chased at random.

The fourth leg was held on a walking track behind a dog kennel near Waverley Golf club. VK3TVB found this transmitter just 2 minutes ahead of VK3YXO, VK3BLN, VK3TKQ and VK3PW with VK3YQN only 3 minutes later.

The final leg of this hunt was in scrub behind Knox Model Aero club. VK3YQN returned to their lead finding the transmitter a couple of minutes before VK3PW, VK3TVB, VK3TKQ and VK3YXO. All within 6 minutes of the 9:35PM cutoff time.

Hunt 2 started 10 minutes later with the first leg behind the Italian Community Centre in Knoxfield. Teams were quick to arrive on the scene but were confronted with a creek and lots of blackberries. In true foxhunting style, while other people would have looked for an easier crossing, most teams took the most direct route crossing the creek, bashing through the blackberries and then battling through reeds almost 2 metres high before finding the transmitter. VK3BLN was first in on this leg just seconds ahead of VK3TKQ and VK3HKC with VK3YQN and VK3PW
following well ahead of the remaining teams.

The second leg was behind a mound of stones in a new subdivision in Rowville. This hunt was not the intended position and was started late due to repairs required to the damaged radio from the first hunt. VK3YQN found this transmitter first with VK3BLN just seconds behind. VK3TKQ and VK3PW headed the group of 6 remaining hounds to find this transmitter.

The third leg was behind a building in an industrial estate in Ferntree Gully. 5 teams found this transmitter with little difficulty after brushing through some scrub down the side of a building. VK3YQN found this transmitter 10 minutes in from of VK3BLN with VK3TKQ 5 minutes later 18 minutes ahead of VK3PW and VK3YXO.

The fourth leg was located in bushes near a fence just off Glenfern road in Lysterfield. VK3YQN was first in with VK3BLN the only other hound to find the transmitter 11 minutes later.

The final leg of this hunt was at the end of an unmarked lane near the old Readymix Quarry in Ferntree Gully. VK3YQN was the only hound to find this transmitter only 3 minutes before the cutoff time.

The Third hunt for the evening used 5 ARDF transmitters in a 6km square area in Ferntree Gully which each transmitted in sequence for one minute out of every five. For this 50 minute hunt, foxes were located at the end of a driveway off McIver street, On Little Jean street, Next to Eastern Energy Depot, off the end of Talaskia Road, and at the end of a lane off Burwood Highway. All transmitters were running on both 80 and 2 metres. Hunting these transmitters was made somewhat difficult by a pair of Hams that refused to stop talking on “their” frequency. Despite this,
most teams managed to find at least one transmitter with VK3TVB finding 4.

The super hunt for the evening followed immediately from the third hunt starting at exactly 12:10AM. The antenna was located in the end of a 10 metre run of garden hose which was coiled up on the ground. VK3YQN once again was first to find this transmitter with VK3BLN, VK3PW and VK3VT in the following minute well ahead of 4 other teams.

The scores for the evening were:

first:  VK3YQN found 12 Transmitters, 8 points,
second:  VK3BLN found 10 Transmitters, 20 points,
third:  VK3JMD found 12 Transmitters, 22 points,
fourth:  VK3PW found 10 Transmitters, 23 points,
fifth:  VK3TKQ found 10 Transmitters, 26 points,
sixth:  VK3VT found 6 Transmitters, 29 points,
seventh:  VK3HKC found 5 Transmitters, 39 points,
eighth:  VK3TXN found 2 Transmitters, 40 points.

January 1998 Foxhunt

Your fox, VK3YQN, for the Melbourne January foxhunt was (Yes-8):
Graham Alston, VK3KOA
Peter Christian
Nick Christie
Luke Gillet
Glenn Hudson
Roger Lewis, (no call)
Bruce Paterson, VK3TJN
Phil (I really must return Geoff’s books) Schneider

Here is the dreaded per-hunt instruction sheet again:

Lord YuQoN humbly requests the services of yon elite band of adventurers to assist him in his search for the Holy Nail.
First you must undertake a series of little tests to prove your worthiness for the gruelling task ahead.

Your first task is to make haste to contact as many of the Five Sheppards of the the Diddledum Moors as you can. The Sheppards may be found as they can be heard calling to their flocks on the psychic bands of 144.25 Megapercepts and 28.45 MegaPercepts. To each Sheppard ye must tell a riddle of letters and numbers, and in time ye will be rewarded. Beware, however, that that the Sheppards are whimsical guardians, and after a time are likely to disappear off chasing stars or something of that ilk.

Yes, there were 5 transmitters running similtaneously all on 144.25MHz, and a single transmitter on 28.45MHz co-located with one of the 2m ones. All were located fairly close to each other around Sunshine. Three of the 144.25MHz Tx’s were randomly intermittant.

The clock was started on all transmitters as soon as a team found any one of the transmitters, and the clock ended up running for 45 minutes. Each team was awarded a score out of 45 for _each_ transmitter, the 5 totalled up and divided by 5 to make the hunt score out of 45. Detailed scores are below, but teams were remarkably close in score on this one, with VK3WWW just scraping in ahead of VK3TKQ, followed by VK3VT 3rd. Jack, VK3WWW very nearly found the “unfound” 2m/10m fox also, but just ran out of time (it was an excellent fox hole).

Then the Lord Yuqon requires you catch the wild magic steed WindBurn. ‘Tis said WindBurn will run forever, lest you pierce her with your sword of light. So enthralled with the beams she will be that she will be rooted to the spot, and should you dare to approach, her innermost secrets can be found. Communicate Windburn’s secrets immediately to Lord Yuqon, lest ye fall from favour.

Peter rode his motorbike in and around the tricky one way streets
near Punt Road, Richmond. VK3VR was first to catch on and flashed
their lights at Peter, who then stopped and handed them a code word
which was communicated to Graham, VK3KOA driving around nearby. Second
was newcomer team VK3HKC (well done guys!), followed by VK3VT.

A furthur test is then to locate Lord Yuqon’s beloved pet parrot, Roget. Roget is an excellent mimic, but has no words of his own, so words must be given to him so that he may speak. To be safe from the cantankerous guardians of the mysterious sideways allocations, ( I guess you know what this is all about, Jack…). Roget will only listen and squawk on 145.3 MegaBeaks using
Feather Manifestation. When found you must present your Caul to the servant of Lord Yuqon.

This hunt was a bit of a test of team ingenuity. The fox was in fact VK3ROG, a simplex repeater. Teams had to talk to the fox in order to get it to transmit, and then DF only ROG, and not other teams trying to trigger it. As more teams got closer it became quite confusing, especially for those trying to sniff it. Apologies from the fox about the poor repeated audio quality, especially when the input signals were weak. This was due to the fact that the repeater was bound up right on top of the venerable Kyokuto Rig with antenna, and it tended to interfere a bit (…well OK, a lot). VK3VR was first on this one, but not before some choice words from Ian, VK3MZ to Geoff, VK3VR about him failing to see the fox about 3 minutes earlier when he shone his torch right at us lying on the pedestrian freeway overpass (Glen Iris), and then walked away.

The Five Sisters Unmerciful abode in the Valley of the Eye. Glen Iris of course !
Chariots or divining devices therein cannot be used in the Valley of the Eye, so worthy foot soldiers must attempt this task alone.
An ARDF hunt.
The Eye is always upon you, and will shrivel to ash those who commune in the Valley. ie. No Talking to each other
(I doubt if this one was obeyed, but what the heck).
The Five Sisters know each other so well they never feel the need for more than one to speak at a time, but to compensate they talk at a greater frequency than normal (145.3 MegaPhonemes). Each valient foot warrier must prostrate themselves before each Sister and surrender their map parchment for the Sister to mark with a sign.
Ye must beware to _never_ spend more than 1 hour in the Valley of the Eye, or ye will be surely sacrificed.
The Lord will reward only the foot soldier with the most signs from each band of adventurers. Even Lord Yuqon would not stoop to abandoning unsucessful soldiers to their fate in the Valley of the Eye, so he will light a beacon to guide them home (145.7 MegaLumens).

This sort of event seems to bring mixed reactions. There are those who loved it, and those who can’t stand it. I agree it does leave those without sniffers without much to do, and this is a valid reason for avoiding pedestrian ARDF hunts as part of a foxhunt evening. I can’t agree that the darkness is a problem, especially as the event was held on a Street Orienteering Map (kindly provided by the Bayside Kangaroos orienteering club) rather than in parkland.
The hunt was scored out of 20. Each ARDF Tx _not_ found by a competitor scores 4 points. Each minute taken by a competitor _after_ the first person back with the same number of Tx’s found
scores 1/2 a point, to a maximum of 3 points (ie. It’s always better to find more Tx’s than get back earlier, as long as you don’t exceed the 1 hour limit). The scores differ a little from those hastily
calculated on Friday night as we have decided to allow a 5 minute time bonus to all competitors due to some confusion at the Start (that, and the fact we couldn’t put up with any more whingeing). The ARDF hunt was won by Mark, VK3JMD for the VK3VR team. Second was Adam, VK3HDF for VK3WWW and third VK3TKQ. Well done also to VK3PW and VK3HKC who at least gave it a go, and proved you can do OK by walking.

Armed with the knowledge and tools now gained, adventurers must
embark on the most challenging task of all. To search the Burnt Forests for the Holy Nail.

Cancelled due to lack of time. (It was only a supper hunt anyway).

Supper was held at my place in Ashwood, where results similar but not
identical to these were eventually read out (the ARDF really takes
a while to work out the scores too!):

1st VK3VR on 37 points,
2nd VK3WW on 54 points,
3rd VK3TKQ on 59 points,
4th VK3BLN and VK3VT on 69 points,
6th VK3HKC on 70 points
7th VK3PW on 79 points 
             all out of 85 points.

DETAILS for those interested

Detailed scores:

Team        Sheppards          Mobile    Roger     ARDF    Total   Place
VK3BLN  {45,33,13,45,45}=36     5         8         20      69      4
VK3PW   {45,45,45,45,45}=45     10        9         15      79      7
VK3TKQ  {11,32,34,45,45}=33     10        10        6       59      3
VK3VR   {45,44,32,45,18}=37     0         0         0       37      1
VK3VT   {45,45,38,45,3} =35     4         10        20      69      4    
VK3WWW  {26,45,45,45,0} =32     10        8         4       54      2
VK3HKC  {45,45,45,45,8} =38     3         10        19      70      6

The full ARDF scores on an individual rather than best of team basis

Team    Number    Minutes    Score/20
VK3PW    1         31         16
VK3PW    0         65         20
VK3PW    2         65         15
VK3VR    5         64         0
VK3VR    3         60         8
VK3VR    3         76         20 (overtime)
VK3WWW   2         53         12
VK3HDF   4         59         4
VK3TKQ   4         63         6
VK3TKQ   2         53         12
VK3HKC   1         65         19
VK3OW    3         67         20 (sorry!)
VK3BLN   3         79         20
VK3VT    0         5          20 (just didn't try)

The various fox locations were:

KIR cts fox (1W): Off New Street 41F11
WWW cts fox (500mW): Railway siding off McDonald Rd 41A7
YNG random mode 4 ?: Willow Tree off Paramount Rd 41E6
WIA Fast random (3W): Opposite Bike track 41F6
290R/10m 1.5s pulse (2.5W,40W): Beside new works 41D6

Somewhere in block bounded Swan, Burnley, Punt & Bridge Rds, Richmond.

SE Freeway overpass, Glen Iris 59J7

Townsville 1997 Region 3 ARDF Championships Report

An Unofficial Rambling Account of the 2nd IARU Region 3 ARDF Championships

This account is being written for a number of different audiences (foxhunters, orienteers, observers), so please ignore all the bits you
know already. It’s also LONG !

Last week Australia held it’s first international ARDF event, the 2nd ever IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) Region 3 (Asia-Pacific) championship. The event was very sucessfully hosted by the Townsville Amateur Radio Club, the driving force being Wally Watkins, VK4DO.

Day 1 (Monday) was arrival day, and quite a lot of arriving happened. For some reason I have still yet to establish the Australians (Us) and the New Zealanders were accomodated in the West Halls of the James Cook University just outside Townsville and everyone else (and meals) were in the Central Area. Maybe Wally thought we needed the exercise.
Went shopping and laid in essential alcohol supplies (which of course are strictly banned on campus… Nah..Surely that only applies to the students ? ).
Got to meet the New Zealand contingent of competitors and referrees whilst waiting for an elusive bus.

Day 2 (Tuesday). Official Opening Ceremony. Lots of film wasted by many parties (Hint: Never lend your camera to someone else to take photos…)
Most of your film has gone before you know it !). The Japanese lived up to their reputation and took enough photos to line a house. One little Japanese had a video camera permanently attached to his eye. We’re sure he won’t know where he’s been till he gets home and has a chance to look at the hours of video tape.
Present were USA (ARRL) (Hi Kev!), Bulgaria (BFRA), China (CRSA), Korea (KARL), New Zealand (NZART), Japan (JARL), Poland (PZK) and Australia (WIA), as well as some observers/officials from Thailand and Malaysia.

Afternoon was for practice. A couple of Radio Transmitters were setup around the university grounds and we had to find them. These RDF championships consisted of two events. One is held using transmitters operating in the Amatuer 2m band (145.300 MHz) and the other on 80m (3.58 MHz). The sorts antennas and receivers needed to these two events look quite different.
The 2m antennas are either 2 or 3 element Yagi antennas (they look a bit like TV antennas). The 80m antennas are ferrite rods or DF-loops with sense antennas. I won’t go into technicalities here, but the idea is to to work out which direction the transmitter you are trying to find is in, and then head in that direction (either directly of in-directly depending on the
terrain) till you find the transmitter. Near the transmitter is a orienteering Red/White flag and a punch.

There are 5 transmitters (controls) with punches. Depending of your category (Junior, Senior, Old Timer, Woman) you need to find 4 or 5 of these transmitters.
There is also a 6th transmitter on a slightly different frequency at the finish to help guide you back.

The 5 transmitters are all on the same frequency, so they can’t all be on at the same time otherwise no-one would be able to work out what’s going on.
What happens is each transmitter transmits for 1 minute, then turns off in time for the next transmitter and so on. This means each transmitter is only on for 1 minute out of 5 minutes…so you have to remember bearings taken earlier to work out where to go. Drawing lines on the map using a compass is one way to do this. Each transmitter identifies itself using Morse code. Don’t let this worry you however. I don’t know Morse Code either, but all you have to do is count the short pips at the end to know which transmitter you are listening to.

The map you get is pretty much a standard orienteering map with Start and Finish marked on it. The controls are not marked !

I use a 3 element Yagi with a TJN/XAJ Ultra Sniffer for 2m. For 80m , (taking a more unusual approach), I have a 10m version of the Ultra-Sniffer fed by a 80m to 10m converter attached to an 80m loop and sense antenna.
Just like your AM radio, a ferrite rod (or loop) alone can’t tell you which of two directions the radio transmitter is (“bi-directional”), so the sense antenna is another antenna which can be used to resolve this ambiguity.
All my gear seemed to work OK during the practice and I was able to quickly locate the four various transmitters.
One of the Australians (Jack VK3WWW) noticed that one of the transmitters seemed to decrease in power after about an hour. This was to prove a significant observation that would have an effect the following day during the 2m competition.

After throwing boomerangs around the oval for about an hour (the VK3’s had all recently purchased these from Roger at the Mt. Gambier foxhunt champs and we were keen to try them out) we had dinner, followed by a Jury meeting for the upcoming event.

Somewhere about this time the Kazakhstan (KARC) Contingent turned up. They had mistakenly booked flights to Brisbane only, thinking that Townsville was merely a suburb of Brisbane. They hopped into a Taxi after waiting in vain for some sort of ARDF official to approach them. They could speak little English, and consequently they were driven by Taxi to Townsville ! The driver
must have taken pity on them I suspect, because the trip cost them A$600. This isn’t bad considering it’s over 1300kms ! The team consisted of 3 boys (Junior category) and their teacher (Old Timer) from the Kazakhstan Higher Radio Engineering and Radio Sports School. With a name like that what hope did us poor foxhunters have ?

Had a quiet (illegal) drink with the New Zealanders to pass the evening.

Day 3 Wednesday. Competition Day ! Had get up at the non-existant time of 5.45am in order to be ready for breakfast. We were taken by bus to the secret location for the event somewhere near Mt. Louisa. Suddenly the bus stopped in the middle of the road. The location was so secret even the bus driver hadn’t been told ! Ah. There it was…next to those forbidding looking hills (mountains ?). It was getting quite warm too. About 24 DegreesC.

We were all herded into the Start quarantine area. We had to place our equipment in another area to be picked up just before start. Something had gone wrong with one of the transmitters so there was a bit (well an hour actually) delay whilst the organisers sorted that one. Sat around getting nervous. I’ve never done a real one of these before (only our practice hunts with 3 transmitters) ! What was it going to be like ?

The competitors started to head out. Pre-determined groups are released at 5 minute intervals, so it took over 2 hours between when the 1st and Last groups were released. I went off in group 8 (luckily reasonably early…it was getting hotter as the day wore on).

I pick up my sniffer (antenna & receiver), get a number pinned on and get given a map. I have about 9 minutes to study this before I start. I decide pretty much which way I’m going to head first off…before I’ve heard a single transmitter. When you start you have to run down the “start corridor” before you are allowed to turn on your receiver. Hmm. Tx 1 seems back near the finish so I’ll leave that to last. Tx 2 and 3 seem both roughly ahead so I keep going as per original plan. Phew! Both Tx4 and Tx5 look like they’re also on my “return” journey from a big loop. I keep heading
for Tx3. About 15 mins in I come accidentally across some officials. Unless I’m horribly mistaken there must be a transmitter nearby ! I know it isn’t Tx3, so it must be Tx2. I wait around a bit for the transmitters to cycle round to Tx2 (noting the bearings of the others for future reference). I find Tx2 which was rather well hidden. I thought these flags weren’t meant to be placed in hollows ?

Onto Tx3, passing Kevin Kelly N6QAB (ARRL) who was taking it easy by this stage. Found Tx3 when it wasn’t transmitting just by following my original bearing. This is working out quite well. Tx4 was a little harder, but I also found this one whilst it was off. Wow, only 35 mins for the 1st three checkpoints. As you can no doubt guess disaster is about to strike. I figure Tx5 is the other side of the “mountain” so up I go (on what turns out to be an unfortunate tangent). Tx5 didn’t come on till after I had gone over a ridge and this was to be my undoing. I got a “dud” bearing due to being on the wrong side of a hill from the transmitter and headed downhill at what turned out to be right angles to Tx5. I kept getting odd bearings until I was well down in the valley. It then became obvious. Tx5 was right up the top, even higher than the ridge I had crossed sometime (and many meters up) before. I was starting to regret I hadn’t had a drink at Tx4. It was about halfway up the hill (again) that I discovered I had lost my punch card. After a few fruitless minutes of unrepeatable dialog with various deities (lucky non-one else seemed to be nearby!) I figured I
had almost no chance of finding the card again and thought I might as well find the final 2 transmitters anyway, even though I knew I was disqualified.

Staggered into Tx5 (it was, as previously guessed, right up the top), only to be told that I should keep going as there was a chance I wouldn’t be disqualified. Lucky I mentioned my ticket loss to the officials, and also lucky I decided to punch my map. So with a little more enthuiasm (after all I had plenty of time left) I coutoured around to Tx1 (hidden behind a rock just below another peak. I switched my sniffer over to the return beacon and started heading down (clambering would better describe the slope). I could hear the beacon OK but it did seem to be very very weak. Was I furthur away than I thought ? I came into the finish corridor with relief. That transmitter was still damm weak though, and I was within meters of it !
It turns out it was defective, and it was the same one Jack had noticed seemed to get weaker on the practice day.
I had taken 105 mins. Most of an hour was between 4 and 5. Surprisingly this mediocre result was sufficient to give me 8th place, the best WIA result. Obviously many others had had more problems than I did.

The jury meeting that evening decided to forgive my (and a Japanese competitor’s) lost ticket as they had evidence of all controls visited by the officials hidden at each TX site.

I will post the official results later, but the best time for the 2m event, senior (all Tx) category was by a Chinese bloke, Li Rp, who managed 50 minutes.

WIA corner:
Another noteworthy WIA result was Sue VK3LSL. She found 3 of her 4 required transmitters in 115 mins giving her 6th place and along with Sally (9th) a WIA 3rd team placement. Sue had not found any of the transmitters at our last practice hunt, so husband Mark’s (VK3JMD) training on their drive up to Townsville must have worked. She even beat Mark’s own result of 3 transmitters and 127 mins (Senior category).
Jack VK3WWW (Old Timer category) managed 16th with 4/4 Tx in 136 mins, just under the time limit of 140 min. This was sufficient for a 3rd team placement along with Ian (3/4 122 min). (well all he had to do was get in on time and beat the New Zealanders).

Day 4 (Thursday) Day Off.
Most went to Billabong wildlife sancutury. The VK3s and as it turned out the Americans decided to have a look at Magnetic Island. We respectively Mountain biked, scootered and Mini-Moked around the (rather small) island enjoying the sun, beaches & views before returning of the ferry in time to attend the Townsville Mayorial reception laid on for the ARDF. After more than sufficient alcohol and nibblies we returned for a hasty Jury meeting and an unofficial ARRL Vs WIA ordinary mobile foxhunt.

Kevin was keen to show us the capabilities of the DF Junior, so we patched together a Yagi & broomstick based system for Mark’s car to give him some competition. Our receiver was an ultra-sniffer with an extra external preamp. Jack was beamswinger, Mark driver & myself navigator (off a tourist map) and runner.
Kevin was joined by New Zealander, Andrew ZL2UKF as a navigator. Jeff Aust also put in a 1 person team attempt.

Results: WIA: approx 30 mins, 17 km
ARRL: Never actually got there, but close enough at 130 mins, ?? km

Hmmm. I’ve yet to be convinced about dopplers……
Many thanks the Bob Mann for the roof bar, and John VK4OB for being the fox at very short notice.

Day 5 80m Competition.
Another early morning. No bus arrives, but Wally then appears and informs us that we’re going to walk to the Start ! This event was held near the University on an orienteering map from the Thuringowa Orienteering Club.

I won’t give a blow by blow account of this one, sufficient to say that the hills seemed even higher than the last event, but all the WIA competitors did a lot better. I only made one slight error in climbing up to a peak that was higher than necessary, but managed the course in 80 mins for 5 Txs, just beating all of the Korean team (which I’m quite pleased about so you’re going to hear about it if you want to or not). This gave me 6th place.
Again the Chinese romped it in 1st, 2nd, 3rd with the best time an amazing 40 mins. This is under 8 mins per leg !

WIA corner again:
Mark managed 9th 106 mins 5/5, Sue 5th 102 mins 3/4 and Jack 8th 92 mins 4/4 in their respective categories.
Other WIA members well below this. Bit of a VK3 (Victorian) coup huh ?

After a cool swim in the University pool after lunch another Jury meeting cleared up remaining details.

The closing dinner was held that evening, lots of medals were awarded (well I didn’t get any) and gifts swapped. Bob Mann (president of the Townsville Amateur club) gave us truly dreadful renditions of various old songs. The Thailand representative, always full of beans and self-appointed social dynamo got us all up to dance.

Thanks from me and all the VK3’s to Wally, the Townsville Amateur Radio Club and all the competitors and referees who attended. Korea in 1999 ??? Who knows.

Bruce, VK3TJN

September 1997 Foxhunt

The fox for the evening was Chris VK3CHR, Tom, Doug VK3JDO, Dave Vk3JMB and Greg VK3VT. Seven teams of hounds braved the weather and were rewarded with little rain and some fun hunting.

The first spot was found by the VT team on last months hunt and was beside the Calder freeway. The fox from last month was suitably amused as they were nowhere near this location when hiding their transmitter! A number of hounds on this event were nowhere near this area either, as there was little indication of the correct direction to head from the start. Still after a couple of mobile phone calls (the two metre liaison frequency was tried) suitable hints were given and the hounds were on the way. One team ignored the explicit directions given over the phone (due to lack of trust in the fox) and missed getting a good score. Would you trust the fox that much? Due to the time taken in locating this fox it was decided to run the clock for 15 minutes and this proved decisive in the final results.
(Sorry Ian, Geoff, Mark and John)

Second spot was near the Tullamarine freeway and the hounds should have been closely spaced but this was not quite the case, the winners turned up the right street while others had a run across the park.

Third spot was found by Doug 3JDO and was a lane at the rear of some factories in Hawthorn, only three teams found this spot and two only just, you can never tell how good a spot will be until the hounds try to find it.

For the fourth spot Chris found a dead end street near the Ivanhoe Grammar school which was an easy run from Hawthorn.

The final spot of the evening was found by Doug 3JDO on a mountain bike ride an was in a fauna park along the bank of the Plenty river. Several hound came across the river and were very chilly at the end of the evening

Supper was held at the home of Chris 3CHR and after the scores were read and the stories swapped the hounds headed for home and sleep.

TEAM	Hunt1	Hunt 2	Hunt 3	Hunt 4	Hunt 5	Total	Place
YQN	0	10	9	5	0	24	Equal 1st
WWW	5	2	10	2	5	24	Equal 1st
TVB	15	0	0	0	10	25	2nd
TKQ	10	9	10	3	8	40	3rd
YXO	12	3	9	8	9	41	4th
PW	12	3	10	10	10	45	5th
BLN	15	9	10	3	10	47	6th
TUG	15	10	10	10	9	54	7th

73 Greg VK3VT

August 1997 Foxhunt

Action-packed, controversial and ruthless… three words which leap to mind when talking about the infamous ‘PW’ team and their August foxhunt. Melbourne turned on a crystal-clear evening for the monthly hunt on Friday 15th August. Seven teams assembled at the Lygon St. / VicRoads carpark, and the evening’s festivities commenced shortly after 8.00 pm.

The first hunt – controversial – consisted of three legs and was scored on the third leg. A 150 mW transmitter on the Elizabeth St. roundabout (Melways 2B F4) had the teams promptly under way, with most finding this without too much difficulty. One wonders, however, if it might have been quicker to walk to this hunt rather than drive…

The second leg at “Kensington Banks” (Melways 42 H2) was in a maze of little side streets in the new housing estate off Smithfield Rd. First in here was WWW, then TVB followed by TUG some minutes later.

Action-packed: leg three, “The Three Testicles”, had hounds scattered in every direction trying to land safely beneath the Western Ring Road / Geelong Road interchange (Melways 40 E12). First in again was WWW, 4 minutes later was TVB, and equal third on this hunt went to YQN & TUG. The fox was chirping happily from beneath the complicated freeway crossovers; cars approached, skirted then deflected as the various on-ramps and off-ramps proved chaotic for navigators and drivers.

The second hunt was comprised of five legs, starting from the carpark at McDonalds on the Western Ring Road (Melways 40 B7). Going against the grain of all traditional foxhunting tactics, the FREEWAY proved too much of a psychological obstacle for some. The first leg was beneath the WRR & Ballarat Rd intersection (Melways 25 K8), followed closely by the second leg beside the WRR & Furlong Rd intersection (Melways 26 E6). Two teams found the second transmitter first and were sent back with their tails between their legs to find the first transmitter at Ballarat Rd.

The third leg – ruthless – was beneath the freeway bridge over the Maribyrnong River (Melways 26 J2). Sadly, the fox had a dickey linear amplifier, (the only technical hitch for the evening,) but several teams still found this leg in good time.

To continue in a ring-road fashion, leg four (also known as “The Footbridge” – Melways 6 D12) had some hounds scratching their heads. Two teams had realised by this time that the secret was to STAY ON THE FREEWAY and drop runners as soon as possible.

The fifth leg and meeting place was a transmitter on the south-east corner of High Street & Keon Pde (Melways 8 J12) opposite the railway station. With a 30 minute time limit from the first team, only two teams arrived at this leg: WWW and TVB. Other hounds had ventured off into the undesirable urbanism of Gladstone Park. The meeting place was announced, rude words were uttered by many and Hunt number 3 was underway.

First leg of the last hunt was in the middle of the freeway (Melways 10F10) hosted by Andrew, Dennis and friends. Most teams did well here, dropping runners at appropriate times.

The second leg took hounds to Fitzsimmons Lane (Melways 21 G12) on the south side of the Yarra River. Of all the teams left, four were able to find the offending transmitter: TVB, VT, WWW & YQN in this order.

The last leg brought hounds to the magnificent supper prepared at the QTHR of Richard VK3YLZ. Scores for the night were WWW on 9 points, TVB on 31 points, YQN & TUG both on 55 points, TKQ & VT on 60 points, with HXP on 61 – who incidentally pulled out owing to equipment difficulties.

June 1997 Foxhunt

The June 2-metre foxhunt was held in cool but clear conditions. The fox for the month was Jack, VK3WWW. 7 teams assembled for an 8PM start at the K-mart Burwood carpark.

There were 3 hunts for the evening. The first two hunts were split into 3 legs each with foxes running on both 2 and 10 metres.

The first fox for the evening caught the 8:10PM Burwood tram to the Burwood Campus of Deakin university. One of the hounds who worked out what was going on boarded the tram at the same stop that the fox got off. The fox then went for a walk through the university campus. Both VK3PW and VK3TVB found this fox first at 8:32PM followed by VK3BLN and VK3TKQ some 3-4 minutes later.

The second leg of this hunt took the hounds to the rear of the Wheelers hill hotel car park. A newly erected wall at the rear of the car park with no openings forced many hounds to try to find alternative routes. VK3YQN found this fox at 8:59PM followed by VK3PW just 2 minutes later. 4 minutes on, VK3TVB arrived to take third place.

The last leg of this hunt took the hounds to the rear of Kingsley Business park in Rowville. This hunt proved particularly troublesome for most hunters. This transmitter was giving short bursts of carrier which are often hard to find. The transmitter was hidden in a clearing in amongst some very prickly bushes. VK3YQN were first on the scene and very quickly burrowed through the bushes and by 9:14PM had found the 10-metre fox. Many other teams arrived soon after and spent considerable time trying to find an opening in the bushes. One hound burrowed his way
straight past the fox and out the other side. No other teams found the transmitter in the 15-minute time limit even though some were there for almost 10 minutes.

The second hunt for the evening took the hounds to the Knox Arboretum in Boronia where the fox was hidden in the playground. VK3YQN was first to find this fox at 9:58PM followed by VK3TVB 7 minutes later. VK3PW (who started the hunt late after enjoying a cup of coffee or two) and VK3TKQ both took 3rd place a minute later.

The second leg of this hunt took the hounds to a 4-wheel drive track in Ferntree Gully. VK3YQN maintained their lead finding the fox at 10:11PM followed by VK3BLN and VK3TVB just 5 minutes later.

The final leg of this hunt was hidden in amongst bush beside an unmarked 4 wheel drive track in Upwey. This was a real test of skill, especially for the 2-metre hunters. Since the 10-metre signal was intermittent and the 2-metre signal continuous, all hounds decided to hunt on 2-metres. The fox was attached to a 3-element beam antenna mounted on top of a motor rotating continuously at about 30RPM. Mark VK3JMD found this fox at 10:38PM. Some 10 minutes later, about 4 hounds ran down the rather steep and slippery track. Concentrating on the track rather than the signal meant that they all ran straight past the fox. No other teams made the 15-minute time limit.

The final fox for the night was near a disused pumping station in Vermont. VK3YQN found this fox with nearly all other teams finding the fox 5 minutes later, followed by VK3TUG.

Supper was held in Vermont where the following scores were announced:

1: VK3YQN 	15 points  
2: VK3TVB 	26 points
3: VK3BLN  	47 points
4: VK3PW   	51 points
5: VK3TKQ  	59 points
6: VK3TUG 	66 points
7: VK3TXG 	85 points 

TXG – (A commendable effort since they persisted despite numerous equipment problems.)

March 1997 Foxhunt

A coolish evening greeted the 7 hounds who turned up to VK3YQN’s March foxhunt. Start was in Lytton Street in the city as the fox was heading West this evening.

The first hunt was a two legged affair, the first leg a very tricky to approach wasteground behind a chemicals factory in Altona. Both 10m and 2m was run for this hunt. The second leg was the set to be the traditional long bastard of a YQN sniffer hunt, and this one was no exception. Judging by the comments on the liason frequency we were very successful in making this a challenging hunt. Hunters were given credit for both their absolute and relative times on the second leg, so a reasonable score for the sniffer hunt was still possible even if a team did poorly on the first leg. Jack, VK3WWW was the definite winner of the first leg, later followed by VK3PW (using a new runner), David for VK3BLN and Geoff, this night hunting as VK3TVB. For some reason David thought his score might be dangerously low, so he spent a couple of minutes chatting to his team on the liason frequency a few metres from the 1st leg fox before checking in just to make sure they didn’t do _too_ well. Looking at the final scores shows this cost them a place ! Questioned later he stated he hadn’t bothered to read the Fox information sheet provided at the start. Only two teams made it in to the sniffer leg before the timeout ( but judging from the howls of protest when it was turned off, a couple more were quite close… Bad Luck VK3BLN & VK3TKQ ). VK3PW did the best absolute and relative times for this leg, piping VK3TVB by 1 minute. No sign of VK3WWW…..time to build that new sniffer Jack ! Both successful teams were found hotly accusing each other of cheating by using vehicular transportation. Both accusations turned out to be unfounded.

The second hunt was a fairly straight forward but long hunt to a railway crossing out beyond Werribee. The fox apologises for the drop in signal towards the end of the hunt. A suspect fox battery may be the reason the power of the fox dropped so much it was no longer able to trigger the linear amplifier. First was again VK3PW. VK3TKQ and VK3BLN took the minor placings.

The third hunt brought hounds back to a yet to be developed grassland near Hoppers Crossing. Again 10m as well as 2m was run. Ewen, VK3OW was the first to negotiate the reed choked marshy creek, followed by Geoff for VK3TVB with VK3PW and VK3WWW equal third. VK3TKQ and VK3″NBC” were in fact the only teams to come in the “dry” route, but unfortunately it took longer. At least we got Geoff wet as usual.

The supper hunt was a John Munsey KB3GK special. Possibly gum trees don’t load up as well as pines trees, or maybe we can blame the long dry spell we’ve had recently. The many decoy antennas and coax worked perfectly, mis-leading David VK3BLN and Adam for VK3WWW into thinking they had found the fox many times. Suggestion David: Only call out your callsign when you have actually _found_ the fox (and use the team callsign rather than your own). Jack VK3WWW and David VK3BLN then somewhat violently uncovered the real fox followed by VK3TKQ, VK3PW and VK3OW in a group. Since the fox had now been destroyed by the victors the rest had to find a handheld. VK3TVB was unable to participate in this hunt since they had to search for a lost handheld.

An earlier than usual supper (to allow for the long way Hopper’s Crossing is from anywhere) was held at nearby Roger’s where the following placings were announced:

1st VK3PW, 2nd VK3OW and equal third VK3BLN & VK3TKQ.

Full scores are below.

Team Hunt: 1A 1B(abs) 1B(rel) 2 3 4 Total Place
VK3PW  | 3 0 0 0 3 1 | 7 | 1 
VK3WWW | 0 5 5 8 3 0 | 21 | 2 
VK3OW  | 10 5 5 8 0 1 | 29 | 3 
VK3BLN | 5 5 5 4 10 1 | 30 | =4 
VK3TKQ | 10 5 5 3 6 1 | 30 | =4 
VK3TVB | 6 4 1 9 2 (10)| 32 | 6 
VK3NBC | 10 5 5 10 6 5 | 41 | 7 

NB: VK3TVB did not participate in the final hunt. They could not have done better than 3rd however.

Results of the July 2009 2m Fox Hunt

The July hunt was run by the VK3FOX team and saw hunts conducted around the Northern suburbs.  Fences and rivers featured in the hunts with hounds often finding themselves on the wrong side of one of these obstacles.  Seven hunts were planned but due to problems in locating runners and foxes this was reduced to just four. For the first and third hunts 28.450MHz was provided as an alternate band. On the first hunt this led the YQN team on a merry chase with them ending up in Eltham while the fox was in Bundoora (some 180 degree ambiguity?) OW on the other hand used their 10 metre gear to good effect winning the hunt outright.

The Second hunt was in Plenty beside the Plenty Gorge.  As expected most teams found themselves on West of the river while the fox was on the East. Most drove around but Bruce from the YQN team crossed the river (more than once due to its meandering course!) and clambered up the side of the gorge to arrive in second place.

Regulation style hunts were held on hunts three and four. Three was in Eltham and Four in Mont Park.

Supper was at the home of Greg VK3VT and after a supper of soup, sandwiches, sausage rolls, party pies, quiches, chocolate biscuits and cake the following  results were announced. Time of arrival after first hound scoring was used.

TeamHunt1Hunt 2Hunt 3Hunt4Placing

Congratulation to the TXO team for an excellent effort. As you can see from the scores OW was leading till the last hunt and YQN just managed to bump FAST into 5th spot.  Fox for August is to be announced. Greg has the VK3 fox.

Greg VK3VT from the VK3FOX team