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2000 Hunt Reports

T-hunt report for: December 16, 2000
Huntmasters: Dick W5UFZ & Dee K7UOD

The two foxes were hidden in bushes in the Piedra Lisa Campground area adjacent to the Open Space at the far east end of Menaul Blvd. MOE was running .75 watt into a 1/4 wave wire antenna hidden in the center of a dead cholla branch. MOI was running .24 watt into a rubber duckie antenna hidden under a bush down in an arroyo about 500 feet west of MOE. The foxes started transmitting at 0900.

First to arrive in the area was Joe, AB5YC at 0937. He located MOE at 0947 and MOI shortly thereafter. His mileage was 8.8. Good work Joe! What was all that fancy doppler stuff you had, hi? Next to arrive was Jerry, WB8WFK, at 1019. Mileage 8.8. We have a tie! Next was Scott, KC5VVB, at 1030, with a mileage of 11.1. Then Mike, K5MJE, at 1040, mileage 8.9. Then Steve, AA5CJ at 1042, mileage 13.

A coin toss (heads) broke the tie between Joe and Jerry, with Joe the winner. So Joe, you're it. You get to be the fox next time. Thanks to all for a very fun day. It was windy and a bit cool but the sky was clear. Pretty good for a December T-Hunt. CU at the next one

73 de Dick W5UFZ and Dee K7UOD ...-.-

T-hunt report for: December 3, 2000
Huntmaster: Mike K5ATM and Debbie KD5LOK

Debbie and I considered several options and decided on a plan that would make finding the hunt site rather easy but sniffing hard. Since Mike Eaton (K5MJE) was unable to hunt we enlisted his help through consultation and the borrowing of equipment. The original plan was to hide two additional foxes near the primary but offset by +/- 1MHz. That is, run the fox at the normal 145.565 one decoy at 146.565 and the other at 144.565. We hoped that the frequencies chosen would foil the 1MHz offset attenuators many of the hunters use. I suspect that many of the hunters will now modify their attenuators with funny (and classified) offsets.

To make locating the hunt site a little more difficult, we decided to connect the primary fox to a beam antenna pointed at the mountain and hope for a good bounce. We thought all was ready the night before but problems were many just before the start time. We could only get the primary fox to emit a carrier (no tones) and neither of the decoys would key up. A few last minute fixes got the primary fox online (at 1 watt into a beam) and one of the decoys on line (146.565, 5 watts into an HT antenna). The beam antenna was assembled inside a very thick bush. Unfortunately, with all the twisting and turning needed to slide the elements into the bush for assembly I realized too late I assembled the antenna backwards and had it aimed at the start point -- not the mountain. ARRRRG!!! However, even with all the problems, the hunt turned out OK.

Jerry was first on site (at about 1:55) and made quick work of the primary fox. Joe was only a few minutes behind Jerry but initially found the decoy fox. After fetching the "big guns" from his car, Joe closed in on the primary. Jerry then sniffed out the secondary fox. Joe, Jerry, Debbie, and I then swapped stories of past hunts while we waited for the other hunters to arrive. Dick and Dee were next to arrive (about 3 if I recall) and spent about 45-50 minutes sniffing out the primary and secondary foxes.

The secondary became a difficult target by now as the battery was quite weak so the transmitter was only staying on for a few seconds. Next on the scene were John and Ralph. The backward beam apparently produced some funny reflections. The team was in the general area for quite some time but had difficulty finding the exact location (been there, done that!!!). Unfortunately the fox controllers timed out before they could pinpoint the location of the fox.

Here are the official results:
7.7 miles Dick and Dee
8.3 miles Jerry
8.6 miles Joe
15.6 miles John and Ralph

So, it looks like Dick and Dee (W5UFZ and K7UOD) will be the next hunt masters. The calendar shows the next hunt for Saturday December 16 at 9am. Dick, Dee -- please let me know if you need to change this and I will update the calendar. I will be working that Saturday and Debbie will be managing a bunch of Boy Scouts so I don't think we will be able to hunt :-(

Mike (K5ATM) and Debbie (KD5LOK)

T-hunt report for: November 5, 2000
Huntmaster: John, KB5ENN

Hello to the group.

We had four hunters for the Sunday Nov. 5 hunt. Ron, WB8UWB; Mike, K5ATM, and Deb, KD5LOK; and Jerry, WB8WFK. The hunt masters where John, KB5ENN and Ralph, NM5RC.

We hid the fox just inside the north rim of Tijeras arroyo by Singing Arrow Park. The park is just south of Central and Tramway. We got to the park around 10:30 with my camper. Sunday turned out to be a cold windy day, and part way through the hunt we got rain. There was a single transmitter broadcasting with 1 watt into a dipole. The antenna pointed at four hills, and the arroyo shielded it to the north.

All the hunters commented that the signal was very weak at the start point. Jerry noticed that air traffic to and from the airport was reflecting the signal and decided to head to the arroyo by the airport. Mike, Deb, and Ron took a route along Central towards four hills. All the hunters eventually stopped at a small housing development north of four hills and walked for about a half mile along the arroyo to the park. Mike and Deb were the first to arrive at the transmitter site (who says Doppler direction finders don't work), followed by Jerry, and then Ron.

The results:
Mike (K5ATM) and Deb (KD5LOK), 9.3 miles, arrived about 2:40
Ron (WB8UWB), 15.4 miles, arrived about 4:00
Jerry (WB8WFK), 38.5 miles, arrived between 3:00 and 3:30

Mike and Deb are our next hunt masters.

Later, John Eldridge

T-hunt report for: October 14, 2000
Huntmaster: Ron, WB8UWB

Hi all, what a nice day for the hunt! The T was located right next to the river, on the west side, just about due east of the Goodwill store on Coors. Depending on which way you came in, it made it a little easier. I thought it would take a long time to find me, but after 1 hour and 50 minutes Dick W5UFE came walking down the path talking to himself. I heard him just before I saw him. It took him about 20 minutes to find the T. The time Dick found me was 10:50. Next was Joe AB5YC, as I could hear him coming through the brush but could not see him at 12:47. Next was Ralph NM5RC, he came down the path like Dick at 1:08. Mike K5ATM came crashing through the brush the same way Joe came at 1:10. Next was John KB5ENN at 1:37.

Results
John, KB5ENN and Ralph, NM5RC -12.2 miles
Dick, W5UFE -13.7
Joe, AB5YC -17.5
Mike, K5ATM and Debbie, KB5LOK - 35.3.

Winners are John and Ralph. See you at the next hunt.

73 Ron WB8UWB

T-hunt report for: September 23, 2000
Huntmaster: Jerry Boyd WB8WFK & John Boedeker AC5VB

We had a very good turn out at today's hunt. 6 teams where out looking for us. John and I left my QTH around 0700 to start the setup. The transmitters where in place by 0820. Spent rest of the time enjoying the nice fall weather and watching bike riders and joggers pass by on the bike path.

The cast of hunters whereas follows: Dick W5UFZ and Dee K7WOD (team), Scott KC5WB, Eric KD5IAG, Chris KD5IKU, Ron WB8UWB and John KB5ENN.

Two transmitters were used on today's hunt. The first transmitter was set for 1 watt and was driving a my ARDF prototype turnstile antenna. The antenna was placed about 7 feet above the ground in a tree. The second transmitter was set to .3 watts and was driving an John's arrow beam. The beam was pointed towards the west at the bluff on the other side of the river. Ron WB8UWB reported a very strong signal from transmitter 1 at the start point and a week signal from transmitter 2 at the start point. Transmitter 1 was set to the standard ARDF cycle 1 ID of MOE and transmitter 2 was set to MOI. The fox controller was set to a two-cycle format. The transmitters where programmed for a delay start and came on the air at 0900. I was located at transmitter number 1 and John AC5VB was located at the second transmitter (about 800 feet away). The first transmitter was located on the east side of the river just south of Paseo Del Norte, the second transmitter was located on the north side of Paseo Del Norte. A bike path tunnel went under the Paseo this provided easy access to either transmitter.

I did track one team on my Kenwood D7 on APRS (had my transmitter disabled). John and I communicated on an UHF frequency during the hunt. Ron WB8UWB was the first hunter on site around 10:23. The rest of the hunters showed up shortly there after.

The results are as follows:
Dick W5WFZ and Dee K7WOD 9.8 miles
Scott KC5WB 12.2 miles
Eric KD5IAG 17.9 miles
Chris KD5IKU 23.3 miles
Ron WB8UWB 8.7 miles WINNER
John KB5ENN 9.1 miles

It was nice to see such a good turn out today. Hoped every one enjoyed the hunt. I enjoyed having John as an assistant huntmaster. Made setup and waiting more fun. 73's Jerry

T-hunt report for: September 9, 2000
Huntmaster: Mike K5ATM & Debbie KD5LOK

The September 9, 2000 T-Hunt had a great turnout. Our goal in setting up this hunt was to make it both easy and challenging. Easy because we expected several new hunters. Challenging because -- well just because. Taking a cue from Ron's (WB8UWB) August 20 hunt, we decided to hide at a place that would be rather straight forward to find and try to make sniffing as difficult as possible. We were disappointed that we were not able to "pay back" Ron this hunt ;-) After checking out several sites, we finally decided on an open field east of a park on Morris just north of Montgomery (35.1375 north, 106.5178 west) as our hiding place. The (mostly) unobstructed path between the start point and the park would allow us to run at low power (see below) while still offering some challenges.

The site was in a slight depression--offering some scattering possibilities--and a line drawn from the start point through the park to the Sandia foothills also passed by other attractive hiding places. The site had easy access and allowed us to watch a girl's AYSO soccer game under the shade of a tree while waiting for the hunters to arrive. Several steps were taken to make sniffing difficult. All were designed to get the hunters to literally walk in circles. The basic plan was to set up several antennas in a circle, switch the transmitter to a different antennas during each transmit cycle, and set the transmit cycle so it was long enough to draw a hunter away from the previous antenna but short enough to not allow them to find the next one. It was hoped that the antennas would be close enough to each other to look like a single "fuzzy" source but far enough apart to make finding a particular one hard.

The antennas (4 total) were simple wire dipoles connected to the transmitter with 25 feet of RG174 coax. The antennas were carefully hidden in bushes and the coax was run underground to the transmitter which was also buried. Antennas were (mostly) horizontally polarized for the benefit of the hunters with Dopplers -- NOT. Switching was accomplished with a surplus coax switch. Switching signals were derived from a 2 bit counter and a 1-of-10 decoder. The push to talk signal from the transmitter controller was used as a clock for the counter (2 JK flip flops). The two bit counter output was fed to a 1 of 10 decoder giving 4 antenna select lines--only one of which was high at a time. These lines were used to drive the coax switch.

The transmitter was controlled by a Montreal Fox Controller. This controller normally has a duty cycle of one minute on and one minute off and transmits MOE in Morse code. For this hunt, the firmware was modified to give a 15 second on time, 41 second off time, and transmitted "FIND ME" at 16 words per minute then "DE K5ATM" at 8 words per minute. The 56 second total cycle time was chosen to make it difficult to use a watch to determine if the transmitter should be on or off. We also wanted to run with as little power as possible to make sniffing difficult. We did not want hunters to home in with field strength meters too quickly. Our initial attempt was 1 watt through a 10db annenuator. Taking the coax loss into account this amounted to about 50mW delivered to the antennas. Mike reported only hunters with very high gain antennas were able to hear the fox at the start point. We replaced the 10db attenuator with a 3db attenuator to increased power delivered to the antennas to about 250mW--which was enough to get the hunters started.

First on the scene was Joe AB5YC. Joe found the site very quickly and since he came in from the east, we did not know he was on site for several minutes. Joe's first comment was that he seemed to be walking in circles-- YES! Joe eventually found all 4 antennas then joined us under a tree for a cold drink. Next to arrive was Dick WB5UFZ followed shortly by Jerry WB8WFK and John AC5VB. Scott KC5VVB, Mike K5MJE, and Eric KD5IAG arrived next separated by only a few minutes from each other. This was a tight race.

Here are the mileage results:
9.4 miles Jerry / John
10.3 miles Mike
10.35 miles Joe
15 miles Dick
18.1 miles Scott
21.6 miles Eric

So...It looks like Jerry and John will be our next Huntmasters.

73 -Mike K5ATM and Debbie KD5LOK

T-hunt report for: August 20, 2000
Huntmasters: Ron, WB8UWB

HI to all! Well the turn out was a little light like Mike K5ATM said, but we all had a fun and interesting time. I had fun watching Joe AB5YC. I have been thinking that the sniffing part of our hunts have been a little too easy lately so this is where the interesting part came into play, a little pay back on Joe.

Joe said that I broke the rules a bit, but anytime I ask him about rules he just says "WHAT RULES?" It's nice to see Mike's wife coming on the hunts too. Sorry to here about Mike Eaton K5MJE too. Get well soon Mike. Mike and wife was the first to show up at the Rio Grande Nature center after taking a little Sunday drive over on the West side at 2:05PM. Joe must have thought that it was a good day to take a look on the West side too, and arrived at 2:47PM.

The T was hidden along the rivers edge in thick brush, half a mile or so North of the Nature center. So Mike and wife won with 10.8 miles, and Joe next with 16.6 miles. Don't forget the Hamfest this weekend in Rio Rancho.

73 Ron WB8UWB

T-hunt report for: July 16, 2000
Huntmaster: Jerry Boyd, WB8WFK and Taylor Boyd

We had an outstanding turnout for today's hunt! That is 5 teams were hunting. My first choice for a location was still closed due to high fire danger. Two transmitters where hidden today. The transmitter configuration was one VHF FM sending MOE set to a three min cycle, and one 80 meter CW transmitter sending MO in cont mode. The site location was on the west mesa just above petroglyph national monument. The 80 meter transmitter was located about mile from the VHF transmitter in a bunch of trees.

After locating the VHF transmitter each hunter was provided with a receiver and a short set of instructions on how to operate it. Every one was able to locate the 80M in a very short amount of time. I hope everyone enjoyed sniffing the HF on foot. More to come.

It was very hot today (must have been close to 100) so the supply of water and cool sodas came in handy while waiting for the hunters to arrive. Ron WB8UWB was the first hunter to arrive on site.

The mileage is as follows:
K5MJE 10.6 Miles Winner and next huntmaster
WB8UWB 12.3 Miles
K5ATM 16.6 Miles
AB5YC 19.7 Miles
KB5ENN 22.7 Miles

We also had K5ANT Dirk who was following one of the teams. KB8DAA Katherine and Mike's XYL Debbie was also part of the K5ATM team. Hope to see you out on another hunt.

T-hunt report for: June 3, 2000
Huntmaster: Mike, K5MJE

This was Ralph and John's first hunt alone (both rode with hunters on May 6). The first hunt of the month conflicts just a bit with the Albuquerque Amateur Radio Club (AARC) meeting so Mike (K5MJE), AARC VP was a few minutes late. Since this was Ralph and John's first hunt, and since the signal at the start point was so weak (see below), Mike and Jerry helped Ralph and John get their initial bearing. All of this resulted in the hunters getting off a little later than usual. Jerry left about 9:50 with the other hunters a few minutes behind.

The transmitter was located in the open space just south of the airport--right on the southern map boundary--about 0.5 miles from the southern Air Force gate (about 35d 1.28m x -106d 36.3m). This location is well shielded from the start point by several hills. From the start point, the transmitter would have appeared almost due south (behind the brown building to the south).

The optimal path to the transmitter would have been Lomas to I25. South on I25 to (the first) Rio Bravo exit. Rio Bravo to Broadway. South on Broadway about 1.6 miles to Los Picaros. East on Los Picaros about 2.5 miles to Ira Sprecker Rd. North on Ira Sprecker about 0.4 miles to the parking area. About 11.5 miles total.

The transmitter was operating at 1 watt, horizontal polarization, and controlled with a Montreal Fox Controller set to MOE. The antenna was a 4 element Yagi aimed at the mountain near where Indian School and Tramway meet. The antenna was covered with tumbleweeds. However, the strong rain the night before soaked the tumbleweeds and they seemed to absorbed quite a bit of the transmitted power. As a result, the signal at the start point was quite weak and was not readable in some parts of town.

The transmitter location, antenna selection, and the direction the antenna was aimed were all chosen to drive the hunters toward the mountains and keep them out of the beam path as long as possible. I had hoped the hunters would drive to the east part of town then, once in the beam path, think the transmitter was located north of the air port at Bullhead park. Only then, I hoped, would they realize the transmitter was actually south of the airport--with no way to get there except for going back out to I25 and heading south. The last got-ya was the fact that there is no off-ramp from I25 to the road heading to the transmitter field. Hunters that did not get off I25 at Rio Bravo (north of Los Picaros) would have to go past Los Picaros, take the Isleta off-ramp (which is also Rio Bravo) and head back north--adding another 6 miles their score!

Jerry was the first to arrive at transmitter field at 11:07. While sniffing, Jerry was initially pulled south of the transmitter by power lines that were lit by one of the antenna side lobes but quickly found the true direction and zoomed in on the location.

Jerry initially headed east on Menaul toward the mountain. He reported that while west of Wyoming, he needed to use his Yagi antenna to hear the fox and it appeared to be at the mountain. Once past Wyoming his Doppler started to hint the fox was actually to the south west. Once past Eubank, the Doppler was solid and showed the fox to be behind him. Jerry also said that other "bounce" clues were (1) the signal did not get stronger as he approached the mountain and (2) he heard a fluttering noise in the signal as airplanes took off. He even reported picking up a bounce by aiming his antenna at an airplane just taking off!

Mike rolled in next about 12:15 and followed a "sniffing path" similar to Jerry. Since Mike was running APRS I was able to track his progress during the hunt. At each stop I tried to guess, based on his location, what he would get for a reading and which direction he would go. Thanks Mike, this made the wait more enjoyable! Mike drifted up to the Menaul and Tramway part of town then realized it was a bounce. He then drove to Juan Tabo and I40 to confirm. Since he had to go by Bullhead park on his way to I25 anyway he stopped at the park to confirm a second time. He then made a beeline to the transmitter field. Unfortunately, Mike did not take the first Broadway exit and took the six-mile hit as a result.

We were able to contact Ralph and John just after Mike finished sniffing. They were near Juan Tabo and I40. Both had afternoon plans and simply did not have time to continue with the hunt. We gave them directions to the site and since it was on their way home, they stopped by. Conversations indicated they took a route similar to Mike's and probably would have found the site if they had a little more time.

Results:
Jerry: Arrived at 11:07 with 31.9 miles
Mike: arrived at ~12:15 with 40.9 miles
Ralph/John: arrived at ~1:00 with 30.0 miles

These were all very competitive results. If Ralph and John had a little more time they probably would have rolled in with a 30-ish odometer reading. Subtracting the "off ramp hit" puts Mike and Jerry only 4 miles apart. Looks like Jerry will be the next hunt master.

Mike, K5ATM

T-hunt report for: May 21, 2000
Huntmaster: Jerry, WB8WFK

Joe could not be the Huntmaster today so I volunteer to be it.

The transmitter antenna was located about 10 feet up in an apple tree behind the baseball field at Eldorado high school. I had just used the MFJ Analyzer to re tune the wave antenna used on the "T" after fixing a problem with it. This location was picked so I could take Gail to the airport and return to the site. Transmitter power was .3 watts and cycle 1 of ARDF was used (MOE). Mike K5ATM was the first to locate the transmitter ~ 2:25. Followed by Mike K5MJE at ~2:31

The ending Mileage is:
K5ATM 10.3 Miles WINNER
K5MJE 12.2 Miles
KD5IAG 19.2 Miles

Looks like Mike is the next Huntmaster. Hope to have a 80 meter and 2 meter transmitter on the next hunt that I am putting on.

Jerry, WB8WFK

T-hunt report for: May 6, 2001
Huntmasters: Mike, K5MJE

Hello all...I found the location for the foxes on this hunt when I traveled up to Placitas on April 22nd for the W5YI VE paperwork session. I noticed an open space on the south side of State Road 165 about 4 miles east of I-25. I wasn't sure if it was within the hunt boundaries (I don't have a copy of the Rand-MacNally map), so, the next day I asked Mike, K5ATM, who does have a copy of the paper map to use Street Atlas-USA to try and identify the lattitude and longtitude of the boundary lines so that I could use my copy of Street Atlas for planning.

Luckily, it turns out that the place I saw was just inside the north-east corner of the boundaries. So..... I ended up putting the "MOE" fox at the top of a ridge about 500 feet south of the open space parking area. This transmitter was equipped with a wire dipole that I placed about 6 feet high in a juniper tree (horizontally polarized of course!). The transmitter was putting out 1 watt.

I placed a second transmitter (MOI) putting out 300 mW with a vertical HT antenna in a different juniper located next to a small stream bed. I didn't expect that MOI would be receivable from the start point, in fact, I was a little concerned whether MOE could be heard at the start.

As it turned out, MOE was barely audible at the start. Joe, AB5YC said that it was mostly just a quieting of the noise. However, the bearings that were taken at the start were fairly accurate.

Speaking of bearings, the line from the start to the Foxes happened to pass very close to the Juan Tabo picnic grounds at the north east corner of Tramway Blvd. I thought that this might lure some of the hunters into this area.

For this hunt, we had two veteran hunters and two newcommers. Mike, K5ATM and Joe, AB5YC hosted newcomers John, KB5ENN and Ralph, KB5UGX who showed up to see what T-hunting was about. Well, the hunt results testify to the value of experience. Both Mike and his partner John and Joe and his partner Ralph started toward the Juan Tabo picnic ground area. However, Joe took a bearing on the way that parralleled his original bearing and realized that the fox was probably much farther north than the picnic grounds, and headed back to I-25 to go further north. Joe said that his doppler finally started giving him good readings when he got to Bernalillo. From there, he just had to follow his doppler to the open space parking area. Joe and Ralph quickly sniffed the two transmitters. We then sat around chatting about hunting, equipment and the like.

Mike and John weren't as fortunate. Mike ended up following the RF trail into one of the two entrances into the Juan Tabo picnic ground area. By then Mike and John were getting a strong signal on their beam and Mike's new doppler. After some sniffing, Mike figured that he had gone into the wrong entrance. Not wanting to "eat" the miles for this mistake, Mike decided to walk in to the transmitter. He figured that he'd have a pretty competive milage as a result.

Well, while this was going on, Joe, Ralph and I were beginning to wonder where Mike was. Finally I called to Mike on the fox frequency when the low-power MOI was transmitting. Mike came back on the Albuquerque Metro repeater. Needless to say, Mike was a little dissapointed to hear that he probably had about a six mile hike to get to the transmitters. Mike had John bring the vehicle around to pick him up at the other entrance and they headed west to I-25 and north to the open space. Mike then sniffed both transmitters in short order. John used my tape-measure beam and offset attenuator to try his hand at sniffing.

So, for the record, this hunt was wone by Joe, AB5YC with Mike, K5ATM coming in second. However, Mike came in first in the category of acquired experience ;-)

73's de K5MJE

Note: The remainder of 2000's Albuquerque Transmitter Hunting reports could not be located. We will post them if they are found.