A Slippery Situation
It was suspected that the day was to become a steamy one, but as hams gathered at Bisset Park in Radford, it was more about the gear, helping new hams, and building trust in your equipment.
Three foxes were hidden by yours truly, W4XXV, and consisted of two plastic ammo cans, and the deviant micro transmitter that has shown it’s ability to stump a few transmitter hunters.
The game was started at 9:30am on July 24th with the rules of engagement given. The foxes would be contained within the first half of the park. Hunters were to find the first fox to find the frequency of the second, and the second to learn the frequency of the third. Each fox was progressively more difficult to find due both hiding location and transmission style.
The walking fox hunt events such as this have given us the ability to help new hams to understand equipment, and to teach tactics to find the transmitters. Having everyone go after the same fox to start where we can see everyone walk presents it’s own challenge where you can watch where everyone else goes, or try to use your own equipment and ignore the others. In future walking hunts we may have ways to mitigate this circumstance.
The first fox was found on the outside of a tennis court, next to the surrounding fence. Easy enough, but when dialing into the second frequency, a bearing was much more difficult to start (thank you fence and metal bridge above). Once a good bearing was found, it was off again to find the second.
The second had it’s own challenge. A great thing about construction is the barriers that are sure to show up to guide people around obstacles. The ones at the park were the plastic ones that were filled with… nothing! Well, nothing until the author decided to hide a fox in one… and just so happened to be one with a lid. The challenge to the hunter was unexpectedly difficult. Not only was the fox hidden from site, but the barriers offered two additional challenges. The first challenge was whether or not someone would step out of their comfort zone to open and look inside the barrier. The second, which wasn’t thought out but made for great fun in observation, was that the hunter would get a bearing to the frequency which pointed to the other side of the barrier. The hunter would then go around the barriers only to find the bearing pointing back the other way. There was a bit more walking involved for this simple unpredicted opposition.
Once the second was found, it was off to the races to get the third! The bearing was true for most hunters, so the general location wasn’t much of a mystery. However, this is the little booger that the author is starting to have a lot of fun with in hiding.
The fox was hidden near a row of spikey leaved shrubberies (I’m not a botanist, so just check the pictures you green thumbs). I wasn’t at the location in time to see the first group of hunters find the fox, but the looks I was given as I arrived after the find was enough to make me grin. “That’s just mean…” was one comment given.
I watched with anticipation as the second group started their hunt around the shrubs. All around, up and down, laying on the ground, reaching through the leaves, these hunters weren’t about to give up. As I sat and watched, I almost felt bad, but knew this would be a fun story to tell. After about 15 minutes, the hunters were on the other side of the bushes from my location, and I heard them get a little quiet… then… “Cam, you [jerk]” (edit to keep it clean). Transmitter found!
Yes, the transmitter was right in sight the whole time. They just didn’t trust their antennas, and likely didn’t want to go near the seemingly fresh pet package left by some irresponsible pet owner. But once someone was about to give up, they found a stick to flip it over in desperation. Yup, I hid it in a pile of fake poo. See pictures for more details and see if you would have suspected it! If you think you would have, then we needed you at the fox hunt!
In all, nobody stepped in, err, on the final transmitter, so I still have the ability to be deviant at the next hunt. People learned things, new hams were introduced to transmitter hunting, and we all had a great day of walking in the park.
Club: https://www.n4nrv.org small fox plans: http://www.jbgizmo.com/page30.htm