A Beautiful Drive
N6AIN N6EKS March 27, 2004

The start of this hunt was looking like the previous month - oh goodie – no signal. About 15 minutes after the hunts start time, Deryl claimed to hear a signal. What he heard to me was somewhat organized noise, but not definitive enough to be “the” signal. No one else thought it was “it” either. Besides, I was more interested in listening to Jippy’s thoughts about the robotic/automated vehicle race recently held in the desert. About 10:45 Deryl and I decide to head out, based on this occasional organized noise. Lake Isabella was our bearing, or at least in that general direction. I dreaded going up the 405, but what else to do (?). Bob and Cathy had left about 10 minutes prior and were heading east and would give an update if they heard anything. As we were stuck in traffic on the 405 by the LAX exit, a report came from Bob and Cathy from someone listening at Palm Springs Airport, no signal there. Okay, so far our organized noise was still the only thing to go on. A short time later we got a report from Steve on the phone with hider David, that they had “a catastrophic failure” (later we found out it was not due to equipment), a bearing was given from the hider that confirmed our organized noise (shortly after this, David called on Deryl’s cellphone and we confirmed that the organized noise was “the” signal of T1).

As we continued north, we had a decision 5 or 14? Steve had said on 146.565, that David apologized for the lack of signal and to make up for it suggested route 5. We took the 5 instead of the 14. In all the years of hunting Deryl and I have done, we still believe hunters. What the *%$# is wrong with us!?

Signal pretty crappie so far. We thought if nothing definitive became audible in a different direction that we would hear “the” signal good on the other side of the Grapevine. With great anticipation we crested the Grapevine, and…. still crappie signal, not much more definitive. Now what? We turned off of the 5 at the Grapevine turnoff. After filling up the Rover with go-go juice. We studied map, geography, signal (what there was of it), proposed direction, information, and misinformation and decided to take the 184 on out through Arvin and have lunch there. Once we got to the megalopolis of Arvin we decided we were not going to stop for fast food there and didn’t want to stop and take the time at an independent restaurant, so on we went. Next route was 223 to 58. We had to stop for a long train on the Tehachapi grade that crossed the roadway. Onward we went, by the derelict houses and Post Office town of Caliente. On Caliente-Bodfish Road (483) we were in a deep canyon, gaining elevation. While admiring the view and how green it all was, I spotted a sign that said ‘No T Hunting’. It was a ‘No Hunting’ old sign (see my pictures of it), that there were many of, but on this one sign, someone had added the T with black electrical tape. The tape didn’t look that old. Great! We were on the right track, David would do something like this. Even though we still had a poor signal, we were on the right track and at times after that, it even picked up to a decent signal and more. As we ascended in elevation and then descended again, we realized that we were still headed towards Lake Isabella. At Bodfish we joined 178. At Lake Isabella, we had been fighting with reflections for quite a while and continued to. I decided to fill up the Rover with gas again, because I was hopeful soon we would be headed off into no gasoline land. After a slight tussle with a couple more reflections, we finally got onto Canebrake Road leading into the designated BLM Wilderness.

We heard a few transmitters including the waaaa t. We soon found the waaaa t and much to our surprise no one had signed in. How could this be? Had everyone else came in via the 14 and were already at the other t’s?

We continued on and came to a Y intersection. To the left, T1; to the right, all others. We decided to get the others and then go back to T1 where the hiders probably were. As we drove into a large campground area, three t’s apparently were down this road. There’s Wayne’s vehicle, wait a camp, oh; I think the decision not to get T1 was a mistake. Oh well, get out and find what’s here. Apparently there are three transmitters here. We found two. Deryl and David exchanged some money; I don’t know what was up with that. As I was attempting to find the third t with my useless multiband handheld, Deryl said that the last t, might be the same one. Slowly it sank in, that there might only be two transmitters here. David kept rambling about more money, during our confusion. Eventually Deryl determined with the help or lack of help from the L-Per, that there were only two transmitters. I wanted to be absolutely sure, so with David’s watchful eyes, I pushed the red button turning that one off. It did have the appearance of two different transmitters with help from the water, rocks, trees and who knows what. David asked us how many others we found and/or heard. After he learned how we came in, he said there was one more that we had not heard and would have to go out the other way to hear it. More hunter/hider hype or reality hard to tell, but since we had not heard another transmitter the way we came in and it was shorter to go back 14, we decided we would go back that way and hopefully we would find another transmitter.

We went back to find T1. Found T1 without too much trouble. Now back past the campground where the hiders and two t’s were and out to the last t (?) and towards home. As we got to highway 395 we had not heard a new signal. We stopped before turning onto the 395 south towards home. We listened and eventually heard a very weak signal on sideband towards home. We headed down the 395, the signal began to get stronger and then it started turning to the right, I turned off of 395 and headed straight into the darkness on a dirt road. We eventually made our way via power line and aqueduct roads to Short Canyon. At the very end of Short Canyon was a walking trail. We got out and eventually found the “400 mile” voice transmitter, up a steep soft dirt hill with some very large rocks. By 8:30 pm we were headed out of Short Canyon. All in all it was an enjoyable hunt. Thanks David and Melanie and to the doggies.