September 27th 2014
All Night
Transmitter Hunt

Hiders: Doug WA6RJN
Where: The mountains just west of Lake Isabella.

This was a start anywhere, any time hunt. I intended to hide the Ts on Friday so that I could handle all those little “that’s not gonna work, try plan B” things. Unfortunately the first problem occurred before I even got to the hiding area. On my way up the Grapevine the 4runner started having engine problems – cylinder misfires. The check engine light was not only on, but blinking! I had to turn around at Gorman. By the time I got home everything was fine. Some sleuthing discovered a loose spark plug wire (I had even checked for this at Gorman). That fixed, I decided to try again the next morning as it was now getting late.

The alarm went off at 3 AM and I was off at 4. I headed up to the forest west of Lake Isabella (or Lake Isapuddle as the local are now calling it). I met a friend, Joe – WB6EAN at the Evens Flat campground. It was now about 8 AM. My first location for the main T was just the other side of the campground. I decided the road to the ridge was not suitable for hunting as the foliage creating tunnels just over the height of a car. On to plan B.

I had not planned this to be a difficult, just farther away with the usually main T near the top and a few Ts along the ridge. All the roads were good.  The weather did complicated things as it was foggy, some drizzle, windy, and cold (45 degrees).

Plan B – Shirley Peak. This was my original site. When we arrived we found that a few more trees had grown up since I scouted this site 12 years ago. There was no opening to aim through. I did hide a little T (T11, 50mW) there. It was now about 9:30 – the panic intensifies.

On to Plan C. There was a road that looped around both Shirley Peak and Cooks Peak. We traveled down the east-west portion looking for an opening in the trees. Who knew that a Southern California forest could have so many trees? Finally we found an opening and hastily set up the main T. There was such relief when I called N6MI and he could hear T2 (ID as T1). It was running 40W into an 11 element beam pointed toward Los Angeles.

We hid two Ts on the southern end of our area and two in the middle. T7 was a 4W with a whip on Sawmill Road (26S14), the road that goes from Lake Isabella to the main forest road, 25S15. T6 was on 26S29, the other side of 25S15 where Sawmill road joins. It was running 500mW into a beam aimed at Shirley Peak. I thought this one would be the most difficult to find.

T4 and T9 were on the main road 25S15. They were 50 mW Ts.

Interesting, no T was found by more than one hunter.T11’s (Shirley Peak) dipole antenna must have gotten wet as its signal strength was quite diminished on Sunday morning explaining why no one heard it.

The K6GQ/LAJ team found T4 and T9. The N6MI/K6VCR team found T7 and the main T. N6AIN was also hunting but did not find any. I’m not sure who else was in the area.

Because N6MI and K6VCR found T2 and T7 (the harder Ts), they are the winners.

Calls         T2               T7
N6MI/K6VCR    10:02 PM         11:16 PM

              T4               T9
K6GQ/LAJ      7:08 PM          7:30 PM



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