May 24th 2008
All Day
Transmitter Hunt
Hider: Doug WA6RJN

I wanted to hide in this area in March but things didn’t work out so I reschedule my plan for May. If it hasn’t rained in three months but you hide a T, it will come. An unusual storm moved in on Thursday bringing heavy rain and a couple of tornadoes (yes, tornadoes) about 30 miles north of the hiding area. While checking out the area on Friday there was on and off again rain. Many of the areas I had intended to hide in were now inaccessible due to the very slick mud. I set out three Ts, including the main T (T1), on Friday and intended to set out the remaining Ts on Saturday morning.

Most of my hunts seem to have various “challenges”. I was not disappointed with this one. The main T failed to start at 10 AM as planned. Fortunately I have started anticipated problems like this. I arrived at my alternate main site and set up another T (T2) just in case. On the way up I hid T5. When T1 failed to start, I turned on T2. I tried calling Daryl, N6AIN, to see if he could hear the signal. Although I had 5 bars on my cell phone the call would not go through. Now I wasn’t sure if the signal could be heard. I proceeded down the road away from T2 until the call connected. Good news – the signal could be heard. At least the weather was cooperating as it was not raining.

While at T2 I noted that the other two Ts (T3 & T4) that were hid the day before could not be heard at T2 as expected. I decided they would need to be checked out and possibly relocated. I proceeded to hide T10 and swing by T1 to check it out. I had charged the battery, set the timer (making sure it was 10 AM not 10 PM), measured the output power and checked the SWR on the antenna. What could have gone wrong?  I discovered the timer was set to turn on the T on Saturday at 9:50 AM. However, the timer thought the current day was Friday. Another thing to check next time. I turned the T on and proceeded to pick up T3 as it could not be heard in its current location. I so dislike hidden signal hunts. I also collected T4. Overnight the battery had failed. It has two 9V batteries and should have lasted for a couple of days. It turns out the ground lead on one of the batteries had broke off. After a quick solder job and a couple of new batteries T4 was ready. I found a new home for it and also for T3. All Ts hid at last.

After spending the night with friends, I set out to collect the Ts. I could not hear T1 and T2. Sometime during the night the 7AH batteries had gone dead on both. This was not expected as both batteries were fully charged and only 2 years old.

After examining the sign-in sheet I noticed a remarkable occurrence – the first T each team found was different. What are the odds?

T locations

T1    ½ south of Hwy 79 on forestry road                                 3W    11 element horiz beam
T2    In Cahuilla Heights on Mindy Rd.                                     4W    6 element horiz beam
T3    Wilson Valley rd east of Cahuilla Heights Rd                    .5W    Vert whip
T4    On Crossover Rd, 2 miles south of E. Benton Rd             50mW    Vert whip
T5    On Round Top Pk near Saga Rd and Willson Valley Rd   50 mW    Vert whip
T10   On Hwy 371, 1 mile northeast of Wilson Valley Rd        50mW    Vert whip


N6MI        T2   T3   T10   T5    T1      T4  *Winner*
            166  169  175   179   197     222
            4:32      light stil  almost  dusky
                            light dusk 

N6ZHZ      T1    T3   T5    T2    T10
KD6CY      103   126  12    146   158
          1:45   3:15 3:25  4:4   5:36

KF6GQ      T5    T1   T10   T3    T2
          121    134  137   152   167
          2:03   3:11 3:39  4:00  5:00

N6AIN      T3    T5   T2    T1    T10
           138   141  166   18    197
           2:23  2:46 4:52  5:02  5:32

WB6JPI     T10   T3   T5
           215   229  246
           6:05  6:41 6:45