The JIPPY Story


August 23, 2014


It was a great day for a T-Hunt. Great food, Great people and a good ride. It was full of adventure, issues with transportation, equipment, people and a definite lack of transmitters. But I get ahead of myself.


Paul, WB6HPW was the hider and he wanted this Meathead to be honoring his father, WA6FAT sk with a hunt using old equipment and old everything as we used to do All-Day hunts in the 50, 60, 70s. I took this quite seriously as I was there in the 60s and since. Paul had come up with a strange scoring system which including equipment. Vehicles, dress and eating places.  I made some assumptions which proved to be somewhat incorrect.


My first assumption was that the transmitter would also reflect the time warp and consist of 10 watts into a 5/8 vertical located on a car roof and a duty cycle over 30%. Judging from the lack of a signal at the start this was not the case.


The second assumption (which I later forgot) was that it would be a Meat Head hunt, a technically tricky hunt within the LA and Vicinity map.


Third assumption that it would not be an off-road hunt as these came in the 80s when we tired of other challenges and used the impossible roads available.


So I decided on the following basic strategy:


I would use the Prius rather than the aging 4 Runner.

I would use two receivers, One, a vintage tube type (1952) transceiver and the other the L-Per df receiver (1974). Both are AM and both are vertically polarized.


I would take bearings with the L-per and its stick antennas and have a loop available for backup. I would use the L-per with a pair a switching roof mount mag-mount antennas for moving “it’s in front or it’s behind” data.



Found a Gonset Comm II at the Chino Hills swap meet.. Didn’t come with  power cord(s)  made a new, 12 volt one. Plugged it in and nothing seemed to be happening. Some heaters in some tubes lit. No vibrator. No panel lights, no green eye.

Removed the power supply unit and measured the caps, switches and stuff.
Plugged it into my lab supply and it buzzed, glowed and seemed like a happy camper. Put it back into the Comm II and now I had panel lights and
eventually I had very loud noise out of the speaker. You forget how long it
takes tube things to get going.

Turned on a micro T and wow, it slope detected (it is an AM receiver) the T
without an antenna. Put a 18 inch hunk of wire into the antenna SO 239 on top of the box and it went into oscillation. I put the back of the transceiver on and the oscillation stopped. I think I am going to have a problem with this radio when used as a sniffer...well a 30 lb radio along with a 20 lb battery,
maybe this is not such a good sniffer. I hope the attenuator will isolate
the radio enough to keep  howls down.

Now I got to figure out how/where to mount this radio in the Prius. Yes, the
Prius. It is 8 years old and might cost me a 10% penalty, The oldest car WE
have is a 1985 Windstar and Marlene won't let me even drive it much less
take it on a T-Hunt.

Found two old attenuators from Kay Labs circa 1939. I also found an old
copper tubing 2 meter loop used in the 60's. I strapped the Comm II to a board and magnetically mounted one of the attenuators to the top of the case. This mess would sit on the passenger seat.

 I found 6 mobile antennas, one wooded L-PER antenna but no L-per. (see the "day in the life of a T-hunter" under stories section. I can't believe that was written in 1976). On Thursday afternoon I found the L-Per and it worked (after a battery change). It could sit on the console wedged between the empty FT 857 mount and the cup holder. Two of the mag-mount L-per antennas were checked out and taped to protect the top of the Prius and they were installed.


The Prius is the most popular of our five vehicles and we had an important birthday party to go to on Friday night. It was in the Marino Valley and of course we would take the Prius. This means that I couldn’t install all of the hunt crap until Saturday Morning.


But, there is a problem with the start point in that the Summit Inn was on the 15 fwy and it was down to two lanes with much waiting and congestion. The decision was to leave early (7AM) on Saturday so I loading the Prius became a frantic in-the-dark effort on Friday night. The Comm II and the L-Per were never tested in the Prius. In spite of a 40 item check list, a couple major items were omitted. See below.


Well, I couldn’t find one thing that was on the list. That was a magnetic compass. I have several electronic compasses but I could locate any of the 10,000 magnetic compasses I must have. I found an electronic compass from the early 80s and decided that it would have to do.


In the middle of the night on one of my several acts required of an eighty year old body, it dawned on me that although no normal stores were open at midnight when I was loading the car that there was one store open that would have a compass…WalMart.


The nearest super-WalMart was in Colton, not on my way to Summit Inn so I left at 6:30 AM and after I bought a nice Lenticular Compass ($4.95) went to Colton and up the 215 to the 15 to Summit. I arrived at 7:40 and began the first of my several adventures of the day.

Just east of the
Summit in is a little plateau, about 20-30 ft above the paved road. It is usual that we use this spot to take bearings as it seems to have a clear view of everything north of LA. There are three or four ways to get up to this spot. Most of them require going up a ramp about 50 ft to go up 30 ft., a steep and usually very eroded little run. I decided to go up there and see what was up there before breakfast. I looked at three of the little ramps and decided that they were all to messy for the Prius to navigate and found that the northern most of the ramps was far more gradual and less eroded and managed to get the Prius up on the flat place. There were a bunch of motorcyclists nearby just breaking camp and we waved.  I checked out the Comm II and heard nothing,


I went down the same way but when I got just at the end of the ramp, almost on the pavement, I got stuck. The Prius has a very strange internal device called a Traction Control. If one of the front wheels ( the drive wheels) begins to slip (goes much faster than the other front wheel) the special Traction Control Computer will apply the brake to that wheel, there by transferring more power to the wheel that is not slipping. If both wheels are slipping then it shuts power off to both wheels. Toyota claims that this is to prevent the extraordinary torque from the electric drive motor from breaking an axle. There is a way to shut it off but it is a complex arrangement of pushing the accelerator pedal, opening and closing doors and pushing odd sets of buttons. I forgot the instructions.


The car would back up and I moved it back a few feet and took a run at the bottom. When I got to pavement something was wrong. I pulled over and found that the right front tire was flat. I limped to the nearby gas station (about 500 ft.), paid a buck and pumped up the tire. It took the air just fine. I concluded that I had bumped the tire hard enough to unseal the rim or something like that. I went to breakfast. However this adventure was just getting started.


I ordered the senior pancake and eggs and started drinking coffee, I had 6 cups over then next 2 ½ hours. The hunters started dribbling in. No one had heard any transmitter(s). We had a great time swapping lies and making up stories. A few minutes before 10AM we all went out to the parking lot and still no one heard anything. I noticed that my right front tire was not full. I decided that I was not in any position to help hear a transmitter as the other hunters all seemed to have their usual high performance hunting equipment and I was the only one try to use antique stuff, so I went back to station a pumped up again and set off to find a tire repair shop. The local gas station barely had gas.


I went into Hesperia, choosing to go on the 15 branch rather than the 395 split. I found a WalMart and signed in to the shop for a tire repair. They said it would take about an hour. Meanwhile back at the start Scott, N6MI announced that they had heard a transmitter at 340 and Doug, WA6RJN confirmed at 345 degrees. Phooey, this is right up 395 and not up the 15 where I am even further west waiting for WalMart. Bob, N6ZHZ said he had signal at 395 and Bear Valley road, witch is the next major road north of Main street and my WalMart. So I am just a couple miles further east. I wait my hour and no page so I go looking for my car and the tire looks kinda lower and the service bay has no cars or people working so I search down some people and they cannot find my paper work, or the mechanic (he is at lunch) but they did find my keys. I wait another 15 minutes, still no mechanic. I find the shop manager and she explains that they do not have an liquid to diagnose my tire and they cannot fix it until Monday. I explained that although the wheel won’t fit in a toilet surely they must have somewhere to soak on it a bit. I get directions to a tire shop. They also were wrong but I find one on my own. The tire has a hole in the tread and there is great hope that I will be hunting soon. They take the tire from the rim and prepare to patch the hole and then they find the tire has serious damage to the sidewall having been driven flat. Now who could have done that? I buy a used tire that seems to have about as much life as the poopie one.


I am on the road as it is now about 12:30AM. I am some two hours behind the pack, but I go over to 395, up to Bear Valley road and hear nothing. I have no worries, I still have the beauty of 6 cups of coffee and continue North on 395. And more north.


I get to the top of the hill just south of Kramer Junction and still have heard nothing on the AM equipment. Now I had prepared for this in that I had also brought along the stuff I normally have in the Prius for T-Hunting. I got out the 857 control head and the 4 element quad antenna on a pole and searched for a signal on SSB, I think maybe I heard something due north.


I couldn’t install the quad on the car as the howl plug was still in place. I had forgot the step stool I use to reach it for removal the me to insert the mast into the hole. Lists are only as good as the items that get listed. But the only thing I could do is follow what data I had That is Scotts announcement of 340 degrees or north on 395. More north.


Ah hah!! About 5 miles north of the Ransburg/Garlock turn off I got a signal. The very first one.  It came on the L-Per, and the handheld with a rubber duck at the same time. Stopped and took a bearing with the L-per. 245 degrees. Right toward Jawbone, Red Rock Mojave and points SW. Whoopee!


I went down the Garlock road. And the signal went away by the time I got to the Ransburg junction. I kept going for another 20 miles on down the 14 for a bit still no signal. I decided to go back to where it was strong and make sure it was not in Schmidt tunnel or up above Red Rock park. It wasn’t.


It was after 5 PM and I was getting tired so I decided to quit.


I just found out that it was on Alamo Mountain south of Mt Frazier. The 245 bearing was good (actually 210 would have been better) and could have got me there in 3 ½ hours (110 miles). As most everyone got there before dark, they must have gotten a bearing from the start in the mid 200 to low 300 in order to get them on 138 and not go north like me.



 Bob, WB6JPI