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Tally Ho! Fox hunting season is in sight

The Holland Amateur Radio Club announces:

The Spring Kickoff Foxhunt - 2010

Get the cobwebs off your RDF gear and tune it up for the season.

Tuesday, April 20th, 7:00 PM

Representing "Team Kent", winners of last year's fox hunt, James Richards, K8JHR, and Chuck Nowak, AJ8W, will be our fox team for the night.   Come on out and see if they can hide as well as they can hunt. Everyone is welcome -- how about a "team Allegan" or a "team kazoo"  this year?
The starting location for the hunters will be at the Holland ARC clubhouse on 8th Avenue (near the train station - see picture above). Talk-in will be on the 147.060 Repeater. Please be there plenty early to finalize teams and record your odometer reading.  The winner of this foxhunt will be in the car that finds the fox within the two hour limit and has the lowest odometer/trip reading.
Being the first hunt of the season, this will be a basic level hunt with no Doppler antennas allowed. Winners will get the first option to be the fox at the next HARC fox hunt.

WHO: Anyone interested in finding the hidden transmitter (i.e., the “Fox”).
WHAT: A timed hidden transmitter hunt.
WHERE: Hunters begin hunting at the Ken Groom, ZR5AAD, Technical & Training Center, 280 East 8th Street, Holland, Michigan.
WHEN: 7:00 PM EST / 23:00 z , until 9:00PM EST / 25:00 z, April 20, 2010.
WHY: Because it's FUN ! And because the ability to locate an unknown transmitter is an important skill for the well rounded ham operator.
HOW: Commencing 23:00 z, the Fox will transmit periodic announcements, one minute in duration out of every 5 minutes, on the Frequency 145.530 MHz simplex. Hunters shall use radio direction finding equipment to locate the Fox, using the shortest traveled distance, as measured by their automobile odometers. The winning hunter(s) shall have traveled the least distance (in miles) to locate the Fox, prior to the expiration of the two hour hunting period. In the case of a tie in mileage, the hunter(s) who have tied, and who found them in the least time, shall be the winner. The Fox shall be in a place open to the general public. Locating the Fox means the Hunter has, himself, traveled to within ten feet of the transmitter and announced his presence. Hunters may work alone or in teams. Advanced antenna scanning equipment such a Doppler antenna system or any computer assisted scanning devices are not allowed. Transmitter power may vary at the discretion of the Fox. No hunters shall transmit on the fox frequency except in case of emergency or when directed by the fox.
POST HUNT MEETING: The Fox and others shall meet after the Hunt concludes for a brief social at the Burger King located at187 North River Street , Holland, Michigan. All Hunters are welcome to join in the fun.
SAFETY: SAFETY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE. Low Mileage is the test, not speed. Take your time, and be super careful as you drive, and especially if you exit the vehicle for any reason.

Click here for map to Holland Clubhouse and starting point

THE OFFICIAL RESULTS – The Holland Spring Kickoff Foxhunt – 2010

What a fantastic fox hunt for a spring kickoff!

The Holland “Spring Kickoff Foxhunt – 2010” was highlighted Tuesday night – not by who won, but by the outstanding job done by the fox team. Challenged to make the hunt fairly easy for the newcomers and somewhat challenging for the old timers, the fox team accomplished both. Our hats are off to James, K8JHR, and Chuck, AJ8W of “Team Kent” (County) for a fun evening. Everyone found the fox and had funny stories to tell afterwards at the Burger King.

Normally for a kickoff hunt, the fox will park his van in some out-of-the-way park or down a lonely road and taunt hunters with periodic transmissions. Team Kent added three twists that made the hunt interesting, but not overly difficult.

For the first twist, they went portable leaving their car behind and walking to their chosen site on foot. K8JHR carried the radio and antenna and AJ8W lugged the portable “car starter” battery and a book to read to the hunters during transmissions.

The second twist was a rather unique site in a viewing section of the Kollen Park Boardwalk on Lake Macatawa. While the hunters were racing around town and getting frustrated by a train that kept blocking the way, James and Chuck were watching the sunset over the lake and feeding the ducks. They also took some time to explain ham radio to passing onlookers. (Good PR.)

The third twist did post a slight problem. It sent most hunting teams to the other side of Lake Macatowa to Dutton Park where they found nothing but walking paths and and a strong signal coming from back across the lake. The fox team used a three element yagi antenna for their transmissions. The antenna was pointed directly toward a steel boat storage building across the lake causing hunters to be temporarily distracted.

All hunters arrived at the park and boardwalk at about the same time, about an hour and a half into the hunt. The sun had already set over the lake. Each team made the long walk down the boardwalk and around a bend to the viewing deck only to find the foxes lounging and waiting with “we gotch-ya” looks on their faces. It was a great hunt!

Winner of the hunt was the team of Tom and Sheila Bosscher, K8TB and K8AJ. Second place went to the team of Jim, KD8CAN, Bob, KD8HNF, and Robert, KC8USP. The next two teams of K8EMU, KB8QAP, and K8TVU finished within two-tenths of a mile behind the second place team. The team team that came the furthest to the hunt was Mike, KB8ZGL, a MSU student from Greenville and his father, KB8ZGK from Byron Center.

This was fun. Let's do it again!