Amateur Radio Fox Hunt November 12, 2005
Sequim-Port Angeles

North Olympic Peninsula, Washington

The Results!


Art & Jamie at Interferometer We met at the COSTCO parking lot just West of Sequim at 12:00 noon. This was to be our starting point. Three fox hunters participated:

Assisting was Marsha, KA7CSZ my XYL, and myself.  Rules for the hunt are posted at the end of this summary.

Art brought along a number of his gadgets including an experimental interferometer shown in the picture. He used it to get an initial bearing on the fox.  Art and Jamie teamed up with Art driving Jamie's van while he operated the doppler system mounted on the roof.  Since this was a vehicle plus an on-foot hunt, they used the doppler to gain bearings of the fox from a number of different angles before commiting to the foot portion.

Jamie at Doppler Picture at right shows Jamie getting ready for the start with the  doppler. Afterwards, they explained and showed us the memory from the laptop as each bearing was taken.  They certainly had good performance if you judged it for "minimum miles traveled"  because the doppler was doing such a good job of zeroing in on the fox and saving mileage even though this wasn't a "minimum mileage" event.  I made the mistake of making the fox vertically polarized, so next time I'll have to make it a little harder for these guys.

Jery, KE7BVZOur third participant, Jerry didn't have the luxury of all the fancy equipment like the other two.  For the vehicle and foot portion he used a new three element beam into a handheld with an offset attenuator to control signal levels. Since he didn't have a roof mounted antenna, he had to get out of the vehicle from time to time .  A process that slows you down but not a handycap for  "least mileage" hunts which some of us prefer.

Art, Marsha & JamieSuccess for the first team!  They carried two antennas, a three element tape measure beam and a small multiple element circular quad along with a VK2YNG  Mrk 4 receiver.  I assume that the quad (or loop antenna) would have been used on 2 meters since I didn't see a 440 receiver for third harmonic detection.  An interesting idea but I didn't ask them about it?

The fox was placed in the brush at: N48º 06.017' , W123º 12.279' which was on the Olympic Discovery Trail about half way between Kitchen Dick Road and Vautier Rd.  This is about 2 miles from the COSTCO parking lot as the crow flies.  The nearest road is about 1/3 mile. The trail is paved on this stretch so Jamie had good access for his wheelchair.  Art and Jamie, as a team, found the fox in only 50 minutes. Considering they didn't seem rushed plus the added handling of his wheelchair, I thought they did a super job! Congratulations guys! Art has the most experience of all of us.

Jerry Cain looking for bunny Jerry in the final stages of his hunt.  He's shown using a loop with an offset attenuator for close-in hunting.

He left the starting point first and apparently made his way to the general vicinity of the fox quickly as I bumped into him at Robin-Hill park when I stopped to use the rest room.  This was about 0.5 miles SW of the fox.   Since we had used this park for practice hunts, plus my presence may have suggested to him that the fox was hidden there again, he made a fatal assumption.  Sorry Jerry.  In time he got straightened out and suceeded in rounding up that "foxy critter".

Lesson learned: Knowing how to interpret signal strengths  and being careful on the bearings in hilly and forrested areas.  Getting reliable bearings for triangulation is so important on a hunt of this type. 

Don't feel bad, we've all made those mistakes and will probably do so again.

Neil with camoflage antBefore the hunt.

I'm carrying my stealth antenna to the site.  I was proud of it because you really couldn't see the antenna as it was so well camouflaged.  Art noticed the black RG-58 coax but otherwise the whole thing was very difficult to see, including the fox when in place.  You really had to look hard.  Now I'm going to start working on a horizonal one to reduce  the edge these doppler guys have.

We met afterwards at 7 Cedars Casino for a late lunch and compared notes from the days event.  We all seemed to have a good time and the weather turned out fine.  I passed out McDonald's meal tickets to the winner plus some South Pacific currency to the other players.  Maybe they can buy a Marguerita when their foxhunting in the South Seas?

Art wants to have a picnic-hunt somewhere in the Seattle area in the Spring with the hopes that we all can get together again.  I'll be looking forward to it.  We also want to establish an exchange with our friends in Victoria so we can do "day hunts" back and forth.  Sounds like we should have a fun season ahead.  I'm hoping that Dale Hunt plans a hunt at Seaside this year.  It would be nice to have something along the beach.

Art's considering building a set of the low power transmitters as used in ARDF games plus an upgrade of his VK2YNG receiver.  I'm planning on adding filters to my "sniffer" and maybe consider a YNG receiver as well.  As we get better, I want to approach the National Park and CAP with an interest towards animal tracking. We talked about how to make these hunts interesting to both beginners as well as experienced hunters.  It was  suggested we have an easy fox plus a challanging one so that people can take their pick.

We  use the Northwest RDF Yahoo group for keeping in touch:  If you'd like to be on the mailing list, you should join this group. 

You don't have to be an amateur radio operator to participate, (as long as you don't operate the fox),  so I'm in the process of publishing an article in the local newspaper about the sport and maybe we can gain participants from outside ham radio?

73's,  Neil, WA7NBF

Rules used in this hunt:

Neil A. Robin, WA7NBF
Last Revised: 11/20/05