In honor of the five members of Team USA who competed in the World Championships of on-foot foxhunting in Hungary during the past week, WB6UZZ, WA6OPS and I put on a mobile version of an international-style hunt on September 5. I got the idea from Marvin KE6HTS of Santa Barbara, who says he tried it there a few weeks ago and everyone had a great time.
Rules for official international-style hunts are set by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). They call for five transmitters on the same frequency , each transmitting a simple MCW message for one minute in sequence. #1 sends MOE MOE MOE for 60 seconds, then it goes off and #2 sends MOI MOI MOI for 60 seconds, then #3 sends MOS MOS MOS, and so on until #5 goes off and #1 immediately starts the sequence over again. That's the way my five T's were programmed. Even without knowing Morse, it's easy to determine which T is on the air by counting dits.
An official IARU-rules hunt is in a large park and the goal is to win by finding all foxes, then getting to the finish line first and within the time limit, which is usually two hours. In keeping with Saturday mileage-hunt tradition, we announced that the winner would be the team that had the lowest mileage among those finding the greatest number of T's. Mileage would be taken at T #5, so teams had to find it last. The other T's could be found in any order. All T's were programmed to shut off at midnight. Teams not reporting to T #5 by then would be disqualified.
Traditional southern California mobile T-hunts are both a "hider versus hunter" and "hunter versus hunter" game. Hiders do their best to foil the hunters using mountain bounces, not-on-the-map fire trails, camouflage, and so forth. But an international-style hunt is supposed to be a competition only among hunters, not between the hider and the hunters. It's intended to teach hunters to carefully take bearings, plot them, plan an efficient route, and execute the plan. So in that spirit, we made every effort to have this be a "do-able" hunt with none of the usual signal tricks.
All T's were copyable at the starting point, though it was necessary to move around the start hilltop to get optimum signals on all of them. The T-boxes were right next to roads accessible by passenger car, except for #1 and #2 which were less than 250 feet from such roads. All T's were within 11 airline miles of the start.
Locations of the T's
1 - Along service road to water tank, south of Trailview Park in Rowland Heights
2 - Zimmerman Park in Norwalk
3 - Hilltop in Chino Hills, accessible from Rancho Hills Drive
4 - Along Steep Canyon Road in Diamond Bar
5 - AMTRAK parking lot on south side of Fullerton train station.
The optimum route order of T's was 3-4-1-2-5. I drove this route in 55.3 miles, but it might be possible to do it in a bit less.
The results: Calls T #'s Found Miles WB6ADC/N6UZS 1245 68.6 (Winner) KD6SNE 145 67.0 KF6GQ 5 2.95 N6AIN/N6EKS 12345 99.65 (Overtime) N6OT/WA6TWF None KF6QCQ None WA6PYE/WA6DLQ None
Clarke and Richard spent almost a half hour at the start point taking careful bearings. Apparently it paid off!
It was great to see so many hunters willing to try something different. Everyone seemed to agree that IARU's 5-minute cycle is not optimum for mobile T-hunting, even though 30-second transmissions three to five minutes apart are common on single-transmitter mobile hunts in midwest states. A 1-minute cycle (12 seconds per T) would probably be better for us.
Thanks to all for your enthusiastic participation.
73 de Joe Moell K0OV