Somewhere in Gloucester County
Fox Hunt XV
By Jim Wright, N2GXJ
It was Sunday November 17, 2019, around noon at the W2MMD Clubhouse, when several of your fellow Club members, who had arranged to rendezvous there ahead of time, were congregating to compare notes and strategize. Not for a Tech Saturday, but for a foxhunt Sunday! They came, with their fox hunt radios, antennas, and laptops, to look at maps and satellite pictures to try and get an edge on Vinnie (N4NYY), the “trash talking” Fox who was hiding the transmitter this day. This was just one of several rendezvous happening in and around Gloucester County, leading up to the 1pm start time. In total there would be at least 15 hunters in the pack this day, including :
· Frank (N3PUU)
· Matt (N2EEE)
· Gary (N2WHV)
· Al (KB2AYU)
· Phil (WA3RGY)
· Herb (KT2Y)
· Jeff (KD2AZI)
· Bruce (KD2LBU)
· Chuck (WA2TML)
· Jim (N2GXJ)
· The husband and wife team of Karl (W2KBF) and Susan (W6SKT)
· And a crew from HRO in Delaware (Ken, Harry, Eric)
Plus there were sighting reports of others out there hunting during the event too. I apologize in advance for anyone whose names I may have missed, and for anyone that didn’t make it to the finish line for the group photo this time. As you can tell, in total we’d amassed a formidable pack of “hounds” that would be unleashed to home in on the fox this afternoon!
By 1pm, we were in the hunt zone. In my car was first time hunter Chuck, and experienced hunter Matt. Traveling along 322, near the Commodore business park, heading west towards 295, soon we heard the fox’s voice on the radio: “the transmitter is on, the transmitter is on!” And with that, the hunt was on! But from our radios we were driving with in the car, after that - silence. Where was the tone from the transmitter? Our starting guess was clearly wrong. And we were not the only ones that were on the wrong side of hunt zone to start.
Poor Herb. He describes how his hunt team also started on the 322 side of the Raccoon Creek, and how he had gotten out, on foot, and headed down an embankment with his new tape measure beam. Initially couldn’t get a clean bearing. The signal seemed to be coming from everywhere! But the real location was on a trail reached from a park on the other side of the creek.
One of the funny stories of the day comes from Jeff. As he tells it, elated, he celebrated victoriously his find when he thought he was first to find the transmitter. Unfamiliar with what the transmitter actually looked like, his elated celebration turned out to be for finding a deer camera, which was probably recording him the whole time! Can you imagine the laughter when the camera owner sees this captured footage?
In the end, shout-outs of congratulations to Frank, N3PUU, for being first to find the hidden transmitter! It might not have been easy, but it certainly was fun! Congratulations also to Matt, Gary, Al, Chuck, Phil, Herb, Jeff, and the other hunters that were close on his heels, and also
found the transmitter off in the woods, wedged between some trees, next to one of the trails that led off into the fields behind Tranquility Park.
A warm thank you goes out to the all first time hunters, success or not, for giving it a try. And a special thank you goes out to Vinnie for giving us such a great hunt today. Who else would have his wife drop him off in the woods somewhere, while a “decoy” car was left in a different parking lot to try and throw us off? (yes, he did that). Or use a beam antenna on his own HT to throw off our ability to home in on him while he was taunting Herb and the rest of us during the hunt? (yes, he did that too). Then lastly, I’d like to thank you, the crazies of GCARC, for supporting an event like this. It really was fun! So, when’s the next one?
November 15, 2019 Update
It's that time of season again. This time, we will change it up a bit and locate the fox in rural southern Gloucester County. The Fox will be somewhere in the Swedesboro/Woolwich area.
The northern boundary Route 322, to the west boundary of I-295,
I-295 to the southern boundary of High Hill Road (Rt 662).
The eastern boundary will be Locke Ave.
Please note, there is a state game land (Raccoon Creek State Game Land) that is within the boundary and is located off of Route 322 right next (west side) to Venezia Trucking Company. This is to balance all you park sitters that park your asses in a park and wait for the Fox to be turned on.
Remember, "it is not always at it seems."
I-295 | \ Locke Ave
High Hill Road (Rt 662)
Ever want to try something new with ham radio? Mark your calendars, here’s your chance! It is a hand-held radio version of “hide and seek”!
Fellow Club member, Mr. Vincenzo “Vinnie” Sallustio, N4NYY, will be the “fox” that will hide a transmitter for us “hounds” to find. What devious plan does he have in mind to try and stump us? We might have to work together as a “hunt pack” to find him!
For those that have not tried one of these fox hunts before, the idea is simple, and is quite fun. You can even bring the whole family along. It goes something like this.
On Friday night, before the hunt, Vinnie will send an email to the Club reflector. In it, he will give directions that will narrow down search area we have to hunt in to something no larger than approximately 4 square miles, here in southern NJ. Then, by 1 pm on November 17th, we drive into that area, and wait to hear from him on the W2MMD 2 Meter repeater (147.180 MHz PL Tone 131.8 Hz) asking for check-ins. You can also check-in using EchoLink : W2MMD-R. Each car full of us will check in with him on the repeater, so that he’ll know who all is hunting, and can give clues if anyone gets lost. Then the transmitter is turned on, and the hunt begins!
By using a “warmer / colder” technique, where the signal is strongest when you are closer, and weaker when further away, or any technique of your choosing, the idea is to find the transmitter within an hour. If anyone is still searching after an hour, he’ll talk us all in using the Club’s repeater, so that all hunters will have the chance to meet up with him and laugh about our adventures!
The transmitter is a Byonics MicroFox 15. It has an approximate transmitting range of 1 mile radius. The hunt frequency is 146.565 MHz. The transmission mode is FM simplex. When you are getting close to the transmitter, you can switch to 439.695 MHz, which is the third harmonic, to get a better read on its location. Hunters are encouraged to team up together, as it is a great event to partner up with non-ham family members who can help drive while you home-in on the signal using your radio.
So, who’s ready for a fun fall fox hunt! See you out there!
(3rd harmonic 439.695 MHz)
+/- 1 Mile Radius