International Foxhunting
North Olympic Peninsula, Washington State
Held: July 12, 2008

Salt Creek & Crescent Beach
Salt Creek Recreation Area with Crescent Beach in the background

Living in the Northwest corner of Washington state away from big cities makes foxhunting (the amateur radio kind) challenging from the point of view of finding like minded individuals who enjoy going out in the woods, traversing nettle fields or other hazards that nature offers.  We have a wide selection of terrain including a beautiful coastline. 

As I tried to build local interest,  I realized that only 20 miles from Port Angeles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a hotbed of enthusiasts in Victoria, British Columbia,  a short ferry ride away.  Their original interest developed years ago with involvement in FARS-C,  (Friendship Amateur Radio Society of Canada).   Ever since then a regular group meets monthly for a foxhunt alternating between 2 meters and 75 meters. I started joining them for practice and development of my own skills.  This makes a wonderful good will exchange and to be with people that enjoy the same interests as I do.  In early August, FARS08 will be held in Portland, Oregon and includes a foxhunt with many of us attending.  The hunt described here was sort of a pre-cursor.

Once a year I try to reciprocate by holding a summer 2 meter foxhunt in the Port Angeles area with them as "guests of honor".  I strive for it to be on the upper end of the difficulty scale since these are all experienced hunters.  Marsha, my XYL/KA7CSZ, picks up our Canadian visitors at the ferry terminal and returns them late afternoon for the trip home.  We, of course, invite others that are willing to drive to Port Angeles.

July 12, 2008 results:

This year we held the event at Salt Creek Recreation area which is about 10 miles West of Port Angeles.  It's a county park and very popular with dense forest, fantastic scenery, WWII military bunkers, waterfront camping, tide pools , scuba diving, surfing and beach combing.  It's very family friendly.

Group photo

The group photo shows:
Marsha, KA7CSZ

Plus we had five participants who were experienced and enthusiastic:

Rich, KR7W, Tacoma
Amel Krdzalic, Burnaby
Doug, VE7XAT, Victoria
John, VE7 GED, Victoria
Allen, N7OMS, Tacoma

Rich and Allen traveled from Tacoma, Washington and have been active this  past year in establishing a foxhunting group with their radio club.  I joined them a few months ago at their Defiance Park meet.

Three 2 meter transmitters were put out following loose ARDF rules with one minute "on" and three minutes "off".  They were distributed throughout the Salt Creek area creating a 2.5 km course.  They're a little different in that they had a voice IDer with individual messages including, "The person carrying the yagi, you're going the wrong direction.  You need to go the other way." I don't think these experienced bunny hunters were influenced, but they got a laugh out of it.  One transmitter voiced by Marsha pointed out the sights and sounds of the area such as eagles soaring over head.  Doug was thinking that there were clues in the messages......not a bad idea for next year!

In a past event, we had a moving fox.  It was placed in a backpack of an unidentified friend.  She walked around the area and when a hunter got too close, she'd shut it off for awhile...  a nasty trick!  We got soft this year and felt sorry for the team so, no trickery.  But in the future, I think we need to give these guys a little more trouble.......  watch out next year.

Rich brought two additional foxes and hid them w/o our knowledge so everyone could participate in the fun.  Most found them.

Ammo storage, WWII

Ammo storage during WWII
Our granddaughter on Crescent Beach

The winner:

VE7GED and WA7NBFA cash prize was offered for "first finder" of the three foxes.   John, the winner, completed the course in 1 hour 2 minutes.  Not bad at all.  He was telling us that in a recent experience it took him an hour to find the first transmitter.  I'm shown awarding him $20 cash prize in Canadian currancy which is now at par with the US dollar.

Future events

Hidden transmitter hunts are most often established by Amateur Radio Operators  but participants don't need a "ham" license as long as they don't operate the transmiter.  Everyone is welcome and there's usually receiving equipment available on loan for those that want to just try it out. 

Remember as a kid playing "hide and seek"?  This is a high tech version of that game and is lots of fun when combined with good company on a lazy afternoon.  It's also good training for those that wish to pursue search for downed aircraft ELT's (Emergency Locator Transmitters) or chase down radio (EMI) interference of all kinds.  Students gain an insight into radio wave propagation.

Those in the Pacific Northwest use: NWARDF Yahoo group to find upcoming meets.  A web site that supports national meets and world events related to Radio Foxhunting is:

Neil Robin, WA7NBF
Port Angeles, Wa.
Revised: 11/20/08