The Fox Hunt
story and photos
by Paul Cassel VE3SY

The November 8th Fox Hunt was blessed with wonderful sunny fall weather.  While brisk, about 30 people joined organizer Terry VE3NSV at Angel's Diner for breakfast and to hear the rules for the mornings event.  As you can see from the photo, club members and visitors took up the whole back corner of the diner.

Visiting from Hamilton  was Reg Bagshaw VE3BQQ. Reg recently  organized a foxhunt in Hamilton which was won by Terry VE3NSV so we all felt Reg was back to retake the cup - wrong!  :-)

Having a good feed under our belt we moved to the parking lot where (l-r) Erich VA3XTO, Terry VE3NSV, David VE3DPR check out James VE3TNG's DF antenna that he built from the article featured in the foxhunt article on the web site.

Made of PVC pipe for support and and pieces of a 3/4 inch measuring tape for elements, James's' antenna proved to be very accurate when used in conjunction with the attenuator he also built from the same web site article .

Not to be outdone, the dynamic duo of Gord VE3EOS (l) and Don, VE3ESE (r) showed off their secret weapons. Gord is holding a modified FM broadcast antenna while Don holds a 2 element phased array with some form of noise bridge that provided an audio interference to the received signal from the fox giving the some indication of direction.  In the end though just good old foot work with a keen eye worked well for the pair.

The hunt got officially underway at 9:32am. Your club reporter did not participate and so had been tipped of earlier the location in Steckle Woods.  On my arrival in the parking lot, it became obvious we would be disturbing a couple out for - should we say - a morning romp between the sheets.  After our first team of Don and Gord arrived the couple decided to get in their separate cars and leave. (no photos:-)

So Don and Gord were the first team to show up at the general location in Steckle Woods off Bleams Road.  

After a few sample signal strength levels were taken, the gang felt it was safe to say that the Fox was not up in the trees.

Don and Gord had the Forest to themselves for about 30 minutes before the next two teams arrived.

The Ritzmann team of Erich and son David drove into the parking lot followed almost immediate by James VA3TNG accompanied by Marv VE2PK.  However as you will read below James was the first to locate the fox.

Meanwhile, back in the bush, Don and Gord  were closing in on the unsuspecting fox. Don had now removed all antennas and was working only with his HT and attenuator walking a back and forth pattern which did work out as he found the fox partially hidden with leaves chained to the base of a large Oak.

Meanwhile James was now heading towards the fox which was quickly recovered with leaves.  It turned out that the home brew yagi James had built was very accurate and after some experimenting figured out how to triangulate his headings and quickly located the fox.

Over the next hour the rest of the hunters arrived, some had city maps and used the driveway while others walked for close to half a kilometre through the bush from neighbouring roads.

Ken Dobson VA3DDB from the Brantford club was next followed by Reg Bagshaw VE3BQQ, Dave Lamb VA3EZT, Al McLaughlin VA3TCO and his son from Hamilton and then Dave VE3RBA from KWARC.

 

Official times and distances as follows:

Team Members

Elapsed Time

Distance

Don VE3ESE, Gord VE3EOS

58 min

 7 km

James VA3TNG

82 min

27 km

Erich VA3XTO, Dave VE3DPR

83 min

32 km

Ken VA3DDB

108 min

n/a

Reg VE3BQQ

 

n/a

Dave VE3EZT

 

n/a

AL VA3TCO

 

n/a

Dave VE3RBA

 

n/a

 

 

 

 

The FOX

The elusive Fox was built by Terry VE3NSV in a war surplus waterproof ammo tin.   Power by a sealed lead acid battery that was still producing 12.7 volts at the end of 3.5 hours of on air time.   The radio was a dual band Alinco running about 500 mw just strong enough to be heard on an HT from the parking lot at Angel's.

The ID and timer controller was a used CAT repeater controller provided by Tedd VE3TJD. It produced a CW ID and advertised the Fox Hunt at about 5 wpm followed by about 8 seconds of silence before it started over.

 

The AWARDS

Following the end of the hunt, Terry made sure it was close to a Tim Horton store where we all retired for some hot coffee, lunch, and time for Terry to make the awards.

For their lowest elapsed time and lowest mileage, 1st prize of two $25 dollar Radio Shack credit cards went to Don and Gord (on left)

Grand Prize for  his efforts at home brewing his antenna and attenuator went to James VA3TNG who won a VOM donated by Tedd VE3TJD of Laser Electronics in Baden..

Thanks must go out to Terry VE3NSV for his perseverance in keeping his event on track despite the bureaucracy that surfaced surrounding club insurance.  Club President Ben VE3ST - who was on hand for the hunt - said; "we all hope this can be resolved before the next event".

For those interested in the two home brew projects mentioned above please visit:

For the Attenuator 
http://members.aol.com/joek0ov/offatten.html  

For the Directional Antennas
http://home.att.net/~jleggio/projects/rdf/tape_bm.htm
 

Paul VE3SY

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