Fox (transmitter) Hunt
↓ For some past Fox Hunt reviews - Scroll down ↓
Next Fox Hunt on _______at __ PM -
starting at ________________. The Fox (hidden
transmitter) will be within a 5 mile radius of the
starting location, listen on usual freq of 147.42 simplex.
Be there a little early for show and tell, and to get ready.
Even if you are not ready to hunt yet - stop by to learn about
Radio Direction Finding, or ride with one of the usual hunters. *
The hunts are usually limited to about 1.5 hours, and it's all about
fun, training and actually using many physical aspects of ham radio.
Use Delta 146.82 for the initial check-in or " I'm on the way ", also monitor 146.82
during the hunt (unless the group decides otherwise) for assistance and possible
corroborations to hunt down the pesky Fox. During the hunt, the focus is on the
usual Fox transmission frequency of 147.42 simplex - If you need and can't get
assistance on 146.82, then try on 147.42 in between the Fox transmissions.
* Program these common repeaters: 146.82, 146.88, 146.85, 147.36, and these simplex freqs 147.42, 146.46, 442.26 in your radios before leaving home.
The 440 frequency 442.26 is a perfect harmonics of the 2 meter Fox frequency, this may help you find or get close to the fox once you get within 100 ft ?. In-line-attenuators are helpful (even manditory) to reduce the signal and help to triangulate or directly home-in on the area where the fox is hiding. Within a city block, the fox's 1 to 5 watt signal may be so strong, you might not have any directivity. At this point you may get lucky and stumble upon the Fox, or will need to rely on more advanced, or even more crude means of direction finding such as body shielding or placing your HT in a tin can. Don't matter what you use or how you do it - it's a kick to find the fox.
Some HTs have built-in limited attenuators, look at your manual or menu to see if yours is capable. Phil has been successfully utilizing the old trick of tuning off frequency to attenuate the fox signal - so from his success I am going to program memories for above 147.425, 147.430, 147.435, 147.430 and lower 147.415 ... With these memory channels ready to click-to - maybe I won't forget to use this trick. Will report later if above and lower are both needed and how far is needed till you completely loose the fox signal.
During the 6-1-13
Training Exercise Dwayne XUL introduced the use of GPS units into our events.
I for one, didn't know how to enter a Lat/Long instead of an address, or how to
go into the "walk-to mode" to find a specific point by walking. This is a good occasional
training component that could help find someone in a storm shelter, or in a wooded or
remote area. Hopefully the local foxes will find clever ways to incorporate GPS
coordinates into our hunts.
Also using apps on your smart phones can aid in transmitter finding. You may forget your compass, but you phone's compass app could be as or more accurate, and there are GPS apps we need to learn about and utilize. It's not easy to always have the correct printed map when you don't know "where" in the first place - your phone map button can help. Jeff GY found an app call Fox Hunt which does mapping and triangulation to help find a specific point (where the fox is hidding).
After a few hunts, and if you want to setup to be the fox - most of the current foxes use the Byonics PicCon Fox Controller. I wrote an abbreviated instruction sheet for programming the PicCon, which includes a cheat-sheet to keep in your fox box.
If you enjoy a challenge - then you may enjoy fox
If you want to be added to Memphis Fox Hunter's Mailing List
send a email to Dwayne, David, or to me at email@example.com
- Fox Hunt (ARDF)
Dwayne XUL was the Fox
Turned out to be a good event which started at Hwy 70 & Germantown Rd. Six hunters in three cars, two cars ran together, almost to the fox, & compared ideas & beam headings - which is always educational. Dwayne found a good woodsy hiding spot in the busiest part of Bartlett. All three cars got within a few hundred yards - but then is when it gets difficult. From Freeman Park, I shot a line over him, went a 1/8 mile & got a heading back towards Freeman Park. After wasting too much time driving & looking, "uncle" & he told where he was hiding. From hindsight, I should have parked in the area where I knew he was & started walking. I had enough attenuation and would not have been that much distance to walk. You Learn something from each hunt. Many times the rush to find the fox causes you to overlook the tricks that it takes to get the job done.
- Fox Hunt (ARDF)
Jeff GY was the Fox
One of the hottest day of the summer, but still had a fox and five hunters & we all enjoyed the hunt, even though Jeff didn't make it easy for us. From the starting point at Bass Pro, some headed North and I went North East toward the Mall. At 64 & I-40 my headings were then back west down 64, overshot and went to Bartlett - now my heading is a little North of East & off I go. By then there was three vehicles roaming around the Brother-Appling Industrial Park. He had to be there someplace the signal was too strong. I went a little North to the Performing Arts Center and shot back South almost over Jeff - but still didn't know where. After exhausting the industrial park, obviously we all expanded our search and found Jeff a couple of hundred yards from where we were, but on the other side of a stream/wooded area on the backside of subdivision. Besides being a good hiding spot, his antenna was next to a tree, not far from a large metal fence and all the nearby metal building really gave us a tough time. But it's always good to get out and have a hunt.
6/1/2013 - Direction Finding Exercise
Organized by Dwayne N5XUL, Picture credit to Lee R ZQX
Dwayne usually does a training exercise yearly, that is not a competitive hunt - it's where you split into groups and learn how to work as a group and to help other learn as well. This year he set up a beam, a vertical, and had some GPS coordinates (flags) to track down as well. Using GPS units is something new he introduced for this practice - entering Lat/Longs and practicing "walk to's" are probably things we should learn more about and stay refreshed on.
The Fox was found
5/4/2013 - Foxhunt
Review by Ray AA4UK (who was also the Fox)
I enjoy fox hunting mainly because it is a challenge and a good outside/get-together activity. Plus it exercises some of your radio-skills and building abilities in the amateur radio field. To hunt for the fox(needle in a big haystack), and to find the fox, or even make it to the near vicinity with the other hunters is a big charge.
Being the fox is also fun. We kid ourselves on who can/has hidden the best and therefore may escalate to be the meanest-most devious fox.
So being the fox, thought I give it a shot to be low-down & sneaky as I could get. I always thought it would be good to hide in a mass of cars in a parking lot - but how would you make an unscrupulous antenna. A few months ago I bought an older car with an motorized back fender AM/FM antenna. So I thought I would try and make it a radiator. Wasn't too hard - took some RG-8x and bent back(doubled the size) the center & a few rounds of tape on the jacket, folded back the shield, and taped it up in the receptor where the original coax goes. SWR was about 2, not good, quickly touching the motor connector - tried 10 other antenna heights, still around 2. So I ran it all the way up, keeping my eye on the swr meter, let it run all the way collapsed, and it did have a sweet spot about 1.7 which was workable.
The fox gets to designate the starting point, so it was the parking lot at Kirby Whitten and Stage in Bartlett at 3:00PM. I really didn't hide, just parked in the parking lot of Danver out at Wolfchase, opened the trunk and turned on the PicCon fox controller (operating at 50 seconds on and 40 seconds off), and went inside to eat a bite and monitor my ht on the tx freq of 147.42, 146.82 repeater, and to watch for foxes.
Less than an hour later I saw David and Dennis walking next to Danvers, then eventually by my car (the fox), and later Dennis spotted me inside. But not so easy - I told David the fox (my car) is still hiding, so back out and walking around they went. Then next Dwayne showed up walking around, and with his Foxhunt Sniffer secret weapon he found my car and walked around pointing his beam at my antenna. So I opened the door and did a uncle - you got me. David probably could have done this pinpoint using his field strength meter, as he demonstrated later. The other hunters later showed up, but Dwayne gets the top credit for this hunt.
12/16/2012 - Foxhunt Exercise Review by Michael KK4IOH
At 2:00 in the afternoon on December 16th nine fox-hunters met at in the parking lot of Bass Pro Shop in Memphis for a Foxhunt/Direction finding exercise.
Blake, who got his ticket on 12-10-12, participated on his first hunt with us.
I had 2 new hunters riding along with me. Craig QGF and Nathan GZB.
Position #1 was in the Bass Pro Parking lot
Our initial Bearing was 71 or 72 degrees.
Position #2 was in a parking lot at Whitten and Macon Road.
We got a bearing of 50-60 degrees from Position #2. At position one I had a feeling we were pointing right at Bellevue Baptist Church so based on the new bearing we headed there.
Position #3 was the SW corner of the Bellevue parking lot.
At Position #3 we knew we were very close in and felt the signal was strongest NNE of us. It was raining at this point a little so we jumped back in and headed to the NE corner of the parking lot pretty quickly. I think we may have got some reflection off the building from this position.
Position #4 was the NE corner of the Bellevue parking lot.
The signal was very strong here also. Using body shielding and all the attenuation we had available we were able to get a new bearing of approximately 271 degrees.
Position #5 is the place that we parked and went on foot. We knew we were very close here. We started listening to the 3rd harmonic and shielding the radio with out an antenna on the fox frequency.
We started hearing the 3rd harmonic a few feet aware from what we first thought was the transmitter. This was actually just a sprinkler head. We kept walking west and found the transmitter hidden behind an electrical panel.
As you see on top of the fox was a note to now look for a second lower powered transmitter that was transmitting on 146.565. We quickly found it just west and up a hill under the giant crosses.
On the 2nd transmitter there was yet another note to tune to a 3rd frequency and look for another transmitter.
This one was a very low powered transmitter and you could only receive it a few feet away. It was found tucked in a whole in the tree below.
This was the 3rd Fox Transmitter.
Jeff read a note to the group that Dwayne prepared regarding the recent shooting in Connecticut.
Direction finding makes you hungry. At Lenny's we discussed the hunt and talked about future hunts next spring.
Thanks to N5XUL / Dwayne for putting the hunt together. I think we all can't wait for spring so we can do this again.
Basic Direction Finding Exercise from Spring 2012
(Dwayne's email) Here is some of the plotting results of our 2012 DF Exercise when Scott was the fox.
Scott parked at the upper level of Baptist Hospital parking lot. It was a good location that gave everyone a good long range shot to the fox.
Four people gave bearings from their house. Here are the results that I plotted off of Google Earth. I am going by plotting information from my chart. I did not keep a log of each number given to Dean so these plots may be a little off but they should be close to what you gave him.
Dwayne- My first shot was with my 11 element Horizontal beam. The second shot was with the 11 element Vertical beam.
1st shot 129 bearing this was 5.11 miles off from the actual fox location.
2nd shot 173 bearing this was 0.61 miles from the actual fox location.
The actual bearing to the fox from my house was 187.4 degrees. Distance to the fox was 6.48 miles.
David- David shot a bearing of around 155 degrees. Actual bearing to the fox from David's tower on Google Earth was 163.5 degrees at a distance of 5.68 miles. This bearing came within 0.85 miles of the fox actual location.
Jeff- Jeff shot around 180 bearing with a portable antenna from his yard. The actual bearing and distance to the fox was 195.5 degrees at 6.7 miles.
This actually plotted 1.7 miles away from the fox location. This is good for a shot from ground level.
Ray- Ray made two shots as well. One of his shots was about 235 degrees and the other shot was 229 degrees. The actual bearing was 225.6 degrees at 15.4 miles from the fox. This bearing was .95 miles from the fox. Since Ray's shot was only 3.5 degrees off he would win the accurate antenna award and at roughly 3 times the distance from the fox as the other 3 participants he has a really good setup. The rest of us can multiply our results by roughly 3 to compare how far off we would be at approximately 15 miles out.
Keep in mind some of the bearings can be affected by trees, reflections etc....
I was not very happy with my first Horizontal bearing but the vertical bearing was better. There is virtually no way to get exact bearings to the fox due to so many variables so, don't be upset with your results. Antenna lobes are also a factor.
I used the best information I had to plot these out. Please check and see if I used the right numbers and let me know if I am off and I will replot it for you. In the mean time, I hope everyone got to practice with Google Hunt and Google Earth programs.
I still have not heard from many hunters what their schedule is for a June Hunt/Exercise. Also let me know what ideas you may have for a future Hunt/Exercise. I would like to get into the Collierville area for the next ones.
Catch you guys later.
( pictures credit to Dean, Hunt Coordinator Operator )