Hider: Doug WA6RJN
My schedule this year did not allow for the reconnaissance of hunt areas
and to further complicate things, I would be attending a five-day technical
class the week before the hunt which would prevent my usual use of Friday to
hide Ts. I spent quite a bit of time planing, looking at maps, analyzed signal
paths using map software and Google Earth to examine roads and came up with a
hunt I could hide the morning of the hunt. Everything was looking good until
Don, KF6GQ, and Steve, KD6LAJ, hid there last month.
Not having the opportunity to investigate areas physically, I again went
back to using various maps, map software and Google Earth. I came up with
another plan in the Santa Maria area. I have several places picked out to hide
Ts but two were key to lead hunters into the area. I would most likely also need
a “helper” T to bring the hunters up on a ridge to hear another T what would
bring them into the main hunt area.
After arriving home from my class, I packed up the equipment and headed to
Santa Maria. After checking in to a motel, I headed to one of the key high
points I needed for the lead in T. I found the area was gated and I couldn’t
reach the area. My alternate site near by was also unreachable. Not good. I
returned to the motel. The next morning I checked out several of the sites I had
identified with the maps -- all gated. The alternate lead-in point I needed was
also gated. Google Earth just doesn’t show those little gates.
It was 8:30 AM and I had hid only the T on the beach (on the way up). I had
to come up with a whole new hunt scenario. I decided to try T to T hunt (get to
one T to hear the next T) that would terminate at Ocean Park west of Lompoc. I
took Harris Grade into Lompoc and found a turn out that had a great view of
Lompoc and also to the east. I hid T3 (50 mW) and headed east on 246 and up the
154 to East Camino Cielo. A mile down the road I found a place to hide the T.
N6AIN called me about 10:06 to find out if the T was on the air. I told him I
was having technical difficulties. My difficulty was that I was still 10 minutes
from where I was going to hide the T !
I hid T1 (3W 6 element beam) and headed back toward Lompoc. I could not
hear T3 near T1 and I was worried that no one would go west. I hid T5 (4 W 11
element beam) on SR 246 about 4 miles west of hwy 101. I could head T3 there.
When I picked it up, I found it had a faulty coax connector. Even with the
limited radiation two teams still found it. I decided to add another T (T4, 2 W
3 element beam) next to T3 on Harris Grade to ensure that the signal would be
heard farther east. I headed out to Ocean Park and hid T2 (400 mW whip). As I
headed up Harris Grade on my way back to Santa Maria I noticed that I could not
hear T4 (it had died). I replaced T4 with T10 (50 mW).
When picking up the Ts, I was surprised that hunters had signed in so late.
I was expecting the first hunters at T1 about 12:30 or 1:00.
T9 on beach 1 mile north on Sea Cliff exit between Ventura and Santa
T1 on East Camino Cielo 1 mile east of SR 154
T5 on SR 246 4 miles west of Hwy 101
T3/T10 on Harris Grade 3.5 miles north of SR 1 (Lompoc)
T2 at Ocean Park west of Lompoc
The next hunt should be a little more challenging.