Brainerd Area Amateur Radio Club, Inc.
"Fox Hunt and Summer Picnic" August 25, 2002
| The fox hunt
for a 146.52 MHz/0.8 watt hidden transmitter began at 10 AM from downtown
Brainerd. The team of June KCØNGL and Past Club President Mark
WØMH were the first place winners. It took them about 40
minutes to find the transmitter in Jaycees Park, which is in the 900 block
of Southeast 18th Street in Brainerd.
June is Mark's mother. She became a ham again recently after being out of ham radio for about 45 years. A lot has changed in that time
|The antenna June and Mark used was built as a club project about four years ago. It is a five element cubical quad. Mark attached a home built RF attenuator and a Yaesu VX-1 Two Meter Transceiver to the antenna. This was a self contained fox hunting device.|
|Placing 6th in the event was Orcy WØQT who used a four element Yagi antenna atop her car. She cut a hole in the roof of the car for this and other similar events. She is next to Paula WØHA's car which has the same Yagi antenna horizontally mounted antenna. In this case, her PT Cruiser's sun roof was perfect for getting antenna through the roof. The Yagi was also a club project a few years ago.|
| Third place
was taken by Greg NØLJY. He used four quarter wave whip antennas on
the roof of his car connected to a Doppler effect detector that indicates
direction. Unfortunately, the device failed part way through the fox
hunt. He resorted to using a hand held radio with omni-directional
antenna up close to his body to form a directional antenna. This
enabled him find the fox transmitter.
Greg was joined in the search by his father Skee KCØDCY who took 4 th place.
|The fox hunt crew. Back row left to right are Skee KCØDCY (4th place), His son Greg NØLJY (3rd place), Orcy WØQT (6th place), Steve WØTNT, June KCØNGL (sharing 1st place), Jim WAØAXB (2nd place), and Mark WØMH (sharing 1st place). In the front row, Paula WØHA (5th place), Terry KIØFW (Fox Hunt Chairperson), Club Secretary Shirley KCØDCW, and Club President Al WØRC.|
| The hungry
fox hunt crew was joined by club members for a picnic lunch and the
monthly club meeting. Here, Club Vice President Jim
Shubert, grills steak and chicken.
The weather was perfect and a fun time was had by all.
How the Fox Hunt was Won, by Mark WØMH: For the first time, Paula WØHA and I decided to hunt separately for the fox. This time, my mother June KCØNGL, wanted to be involved. You might remember that June was recently licensed after being off the air for 45 years.
June and I used a five element cubical quad antenna, which was built as a club project about four years ago. It has a high front to back ratio which makes it good for this kind of work. To the antenna, I mounted a Yaesu 2 meter transceiver and a home built RF attenuator. We found the fox signal was east of downtown Brainerd so we proceeded east on Washington street and stopped just south of the East Brainerd Mall. The signal was south of there so we drove around the Burlington Northern shops and stopped at 20th and Oak streets. The strongest signal seemed to be coming from the west so we went to a parking lot at 13th and Oak streets. The fox signal then seemed to be coming from southeast of us. I suspect there were plenty of signal reflections because when we got to 22nd Street and about five blocks south of Oak street, the signal was almost due west of us. From there, we drove to Jaycees park only to find two fox hunting parties had arrived before us and were busily scouting the park for the hidden transmitter.
The signal was strong in the park, but the attenuator worked to keep the signal to the receiver in range of the "S" meter until we were in the middle of the park. At that point, the fox signal was strong enough so the "S" meter was at full scale all the time. I disconnected the antenna from the radio and only a small signal strength remained. Reinstalling the antenna connector on the radio half way gave just enough RF coupling so that we could proceed. In essence, the BNC connector on the top of the radio was not pushed together far enough to have the center conductor connect. Instead, there was capacitive coupling between the center conductors. This allowed us to get closer to the fox using the directional characteristics of the cubical quad antenna to guide us. That got us to within 50 feet of the fox. Triangulating from three sides allowed me to know approximately where the transmitter was in an unimproved weedy area. Walking into the weeds, I finally found it.
Terry KIØFW had done a great job hiding the transmitter in an area where we could walk on three sides of it before searching in the brush to actually find it. Jim WAØAXB found it shortly afterward followed by Greg NØLJY, his father Skee KCØDCY, Paula WØHA, and Orcy WØQT. We all had a great time and look forward to the next fox Hunt.
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