March 28th 2009
All Day
Trasnmitter Hunt

WB6JPI Hider
I wanted a hide to bring the hunters into see the train loop in Tehachapi. This is a 4000 ft loop of track that elevates 75 ft as it completely circles a small hill.It is the 7 world wonder of railroading.  
There is a problem in that the loop is located in a canyon that is not very accessible for radio waves. Also it has only one way in and out so it isn’t very interesting for T-Hunting.

However, the surroundings to the loop (30 miles in most any direction) are most challenging for radio and hunting. The
Tehachapi Mountain range (the NW boundary of the Antelope Valley) is about 20 miles long and 5 miles wide and isolates the city of Tehachapi from the valley. There is only one road through these mountains, the Willow Springs to Tehachapi hwy. The other main road is Hwy 58, a freeway that runs east and west thru Tehachapi on its way from Bakersfield to Mojave. The city of Tehachapi has the Tehachapi mountains to the south and the start of the very big Sierra Nevada mountains to the north. It is a 4000 ft valley about 5 miles across and 20 miles long that is squished between these 7000 ft mountains. A transmitter hidden in Tehachapi is very hard to find as you are ALWAYS getting reflections from these mountains. 

Tehachapi is famous for two things. Besides the railroad loop it has the cement plant. This plant was built around 1900 to provide concrete for the Los Angles aqueduct that runs from
Owens Valley to the NE down to the San Fernando Valley to the south. 

OK, you have the foundation. Now the plan. I would hide a transmitter at the railroad loop and another north of the concrete plant. I had fears that these could not be heard at the start. I did research on previous hides and didn’t find any help. So I decided to place a transmitter south of the
Tehachapi mountains. 

I went out a couple weeks before the hide and found two good places near the LA aqueduct on the south side of the mountains. I couldn’t make up my mind so I placed a transmitter in each one.

T1, the main transmitter was a 30 watt PicCon into a 14 element horizontal beam pointed at Mt Baldy. This should not only be heard at the start but should be turning on some light bulbs in Palmdale. It was located up about 10 miles of bumpy but sedanable dirt road at (34 55.1671 -118 29.9517) and 3799
ft. This should bring them in.  

The second transmitter south of the mountains was T3. (don’t get too excited about missing T2, it will come up later, BTW, all but T3 were PicCon boxes with my funny timing and voices and were iding as T 6, T 7, T 8 and T 9.  T3 was a AF6O box iding as T10. T3 was on the aqueduct just short of a locked gate on a little rise about 10 ft directly above the dirt road but out of sight (34 52.361 -118 27.876, 3184 ft).  You could access this spot by a low place in the cut just west of the spot and walking up the edge of the road cut for about 50 ft. I walked this numerous times as the first transmitter I put there was a squawkbox that somehow lost it’s audio, the second time was to replace the audio which wouldn’t, the third time was to haul my spare AF6O box and antenna up there which seemed to work. 1t watt into a 3 element vertical “huntkit” beam pointed at Palmdale which could be seen in the distance.

Over the mountains in to Tehachapi on the Willow Springs to Tehachapi road and up Sand Canyon to a little very potholed rd called Tranquility (35 9.2269 -118 21.0441 4526 ft). Here I hid T2, 20 watt into a 4 element horizontal beam at 20 ft pointed at the Tehachapi peak sorta directly at T1 on the other side of the mountain.  I could hear T1 with the 4 el on the car so I assume you could hear T2 at T1. This spot was directly north of the cement plant by about 3 miles but the roads shown on the maps were all gated except the one off of Sand Canyon quite a bit east of the cement plant.

T4 was hid at the loop (35 12.0650 -118 32.5110, 2947 ft). This is about 15 miles west of T2 and quite a bit lower. The spot I chose was right where you could see the west bound train emerging from the tunnel while the rest of the train was in the loop over the tunnel. It ran one watt into 12 elements horizontal, leaning on a fence and pointed west at the canyon wall.

 I went back to Tehachapi for lunch and found you couldn’t hear T4 in town. I decided to place another transmitter between Tehachapi and T4 to be sure that the hunters could get to the loop.  

Transmitter T5 was located along the Woodford Tehachapi Road (35 10.623 -118 30.060, 3899 ft) and was a 1 watt PicCon into a horizontal “huntKit” 3 element beam mounted to a plastic road marker pointed east toward Tehachapi.

I called and called everybody I knew and didn’t raise anyone at the start. I started anyway. I was in dire silence until about
12:30 when Don, KF6GQ/Steve, KD6LAJ called on the cell and said they were in west Palmdale.  I was relieved at least it was heard at the start. Bad news. They were the only ones at the start.  


Don, Kf6GQ/ Steve, KD6LAJ found T1 at
1PM and 123.9 miles.

Two ghosts signed in, Milt, WA6FAT Said he hid here in 1972 and Doug,         WA6RJN said he hunted Milt there in 1972.

Don and Steve found T3 at 15:44 some 3 hours after T1 with 131.5 miles. That 7 miles went by at 3 MPH.

Don and Steve then went over the 35 miles to Tehachapi and found T2 at 18:34 and 187.5 miles.

Don and Steve never got to the loop or found the other two transmitters.  

They are the winner after a careful application of the Crenshaw factor.

You really missed a great hunt.

See The Pictures


Don's Story