July 25 2009
All Night
Transmitter Hunt

Hider: Steve KD6LAJ
Where: Dirt Road 2N17 above Big Bear Lake on the South side.

My assignment was to put on a short and easy hunt, so that the hunters will have a false sense of security for next month's killer hunt. I knew I could get a signal back to the start point from Big Bear, even with my limited equipment. And I thought it would be somewhat cooler high up in the mountains. With Don's suggestions, and some serious analysis with Topo 6, I found a couple of likely candidates for locations. Some quick calculations led me to believe that I could get a signal back to PV with only a few milliwatts into a medium size beam antenna from that location.

I had previously built a seven element wire and PVC pipe beam for another hunt, and it was already painted for disguising purposes. However, it was missing a few parts, which had to be fabricated and painted appropriately. Don loaned me a couple of 5 mW micro transmitters, as well as a 50mW mini, and some pens, etc., since he would be escaping the heat up in the lower Sierras, and not around to help with the hide. I also had the use of a large Boomer 15 element beam, without a tripod. Just a day before I packed up for the hunt, my boss at my temp job volunteered to loan me his DirectTV dish tripod, not presently on his house. My wife went and picked it up from his house, while I continued preparations for the hide.

The day of the hunt arrived and I left home at 7AM, without the following items, all of which were slated to accompany me on the hide: camera, connections for batteries, certain tools, snacks, ice chest with cold drinks (for me and the hunters), a beam antenna, adapters and connectors, the inverter for the laptop navigation, some bungee cords, flat pack batteries for the small tee, etc. And I was late leaving....

I quickly drove to my proposed location, set up the 7 element newly rebuilt beam, with a 5mW tee. Leaving it set up, I moved to my second location just in case. I set up the big Boomer beam and when the hunters did not hear the little T3, I lit up the 2watt transmitter on the boomer, aimed at a Vee in the mountain ridges, close to the direction of the start point. No problems with this signal, so the hunt was on! I left and set up T8 a half mile down the same road (2n17). It is a 50 mW Altoids box with a rubber duck antenna.  It was hidden in some short brush, which would prove bloody when the hunters approached.  (And embarrassing for some couple of innocent bystanders later when they camped near it without any idea it was hidden nearby.) All 3 tees could be heard at all the tee locations, and I told the start that there would be three. Short and sweet as promised.

Well, like all good T-hunts, there were some snags. I had promised short, and I had planned it that way, with all tees close together on the same road. I had also said it would meet the criteria for a good all-day type Thunt, i.e., cross the PCT, cross water, need 4 wheel drive, and need something you didn't bring. (of course, needing something you did not bring is really up to each hunt team, not the hider...) The results show that many teams crossed the PCT, drove through puddles from the rain, and I needed 4 wheel drive to get turned around when I could not find my own transmitter in the dark. And, if you read the above, I certainly met the criteria of needing lots of things I did not bring!

Because of the big Boomer beam and the power of T2, reflections were everywhere in the Big Bear valley, and, from the hunters stories, everywhere else as well. Fires were started by the lightning, and roads were closed, some only at one end! All in all, quite a day for a T-hunt!

Here are the results:

Team            T3micro T2boomer   T8mini  Total
WA6RJN          124.5   134.0      125.9   134.0   Winner!!
N6AIN           169.5   168.8      168.1   169.5  close second and quickest!
KC6TNJ/N6YKE    213.4   214.0      215.0   215.0  Just edged out by locked gate.
N6ZHZ/KD6CYG    183.7   180.2     (184.9) (184.9) (T taken down before they got there)
WB6JPI          dnf     dnf        dnf            (followed reflections to end of known world)
N6MI/K6VCR      less    more       some    gobs   (Unofficial—disqualified for stepping on T8 to 
                                                   hide it from other hunter)

Jippy's Story