Congrats to the our intrepid hunters of the #2 JSCARC Fox Hunt, held Sat Dec 3, 2022.
- KC3MRT (Marty his XYL)
- WG5WN (Chris and his family- XYL Christy, sons Eli, Sam)
- KA5CVH (Mike)
On 146.640 W5RRR repeater, I announced the early activation of the fox at 8:00AM, and KC3MRT responded that he was springloaded to start!
Marty and Chris both had help from their families, which reminds me that someone needs to drive while the other needs to take bearings. Hopefully, we’ll make this a much wider family affair as we continue our fox hunts into 2023. Of course, Mike didn’t need any help, since he’s the clubs and likely regional fox hunting expert. I see he used a fancy ($) sniffer to whiff out the fox.
The hidden fox was located in a large tree at the Pecan Park in La Porte, Texas. Because I was also participating in the club’s Parks On The Air (POTA) activation in San Jacinto Battleground park, I had to find a practical location which let me quickly setup a fox and also get to the POTA park in the morning. Pecan Park was chosen just for that reason; it was somewhat mid-way between the POTA park and also from the Clear Lake area, where most of the members reside. The trouble (for me) was also concern that the signal had enough range for a multi-wide fox hunt. I’m learning as I go, but was pleasantly surprised that I could clearly received the fox beacon while at the POTA site, approx 7 miles north. Unfortunately, from the POTA site, I had lousy range with my HT into the W5RRR repeater, so couldn’t offer much support if anyone called in for information or hints.
To maximize the signal strength, I hoisted an Ed Fong 2m J-Pole up about 30′ into the tree, using a fishing pole to get it into the upper branches. Unfortunately, my fishing pole broke in half as I was pulling the line though the stubborn leaves… but the antenna was already in place so no impact to ops. The beacon is a BaoFeng UV-5R operating at 1W. I considered operating at high power (5W), but tested in the day before into a dummy load, and it only lasted 2.5 hrs, which was not enough for our advertised 8:30AM-12:00PM event. The UV-5R was using the BL-5L 7.4V 3800mah extended battery. In the future, I’ll consider decreasing the beacon transmit period, an external LiPo battery, and any suggestions from others.
At the base of the tree, the award winners found a manilla folder with an Achievement Certificate signed by yours truly, and a bag of candy for a sweet reward. There was a nasty ant colony at the tree base, so I hung the candy bag with fishing line from a lower branch (no ants were found in the bag).
Chris, AG5WN, shared some very interesting insight into his adventure, using both an Arrow 2m portable antenna, his Pringles attenuator, and an HT. (thanks Chris)
Signal reports all from HT:
- First picked up the signal at Space Center Blvd. and Crenshaw. Bounced around a 3 and very broken but we were driving and antenna in the vehicle.
- Stopped at Memorial Baptist at Fairmont and Manordale. Signal was a 5 on HT with Pringles can.
- First Baptist was a strong signal at 7 with HT and Pringles can. Had a full scale with HT and Yagi.
- Stop at Kipper Mease Park yielded a 1 with HT and Pringles can but full scale with HT and Yagi.
- Holly Bay park yielded a 5 on HT with Pringles can and full scale with HT and yagi.
- We honed in to the San Jac campus area but were semi stuck with full scale in all configurations and difficulty getting a bearing. No attenuator so we spent a decent amount of time going out of there area and trying to hone in to a triangulated spot with increasingly smaller area.
Across the whole hunt, we suffered difficulty on bearings due to signal reflecting of off buildings/structures. I have two antennas coming with an attenuator so we’re hopeful to have more structured direction finding on the next hunt.
The next Fox Hunt will be in January 2023. Stay tuned
73 Dave W5OC