Big Bear Free for All   29 Aug 1998

The participants met at the International House of Pancakes for breakfast in Big Bear City, following which they dispersed to hide their transmitters.
A total of 21 transmitters are believed to of been on the air with the first ones coming on at 10:00 am.
Some of the hunters ate lunch at Froggies in Fawnskin, as dusk approached the teams started assembling at Dennys in Big Bear City for dinner.
The teams tell their own stories of hunting and hiding. - AF6O


On the way to meet for breakfast, we wanted to put out T1 with T2. From Big Bear off the 18 at Mill Creek, after a few miles there is a dirt road into the forest. We went on this dirt road for about a mile where there was a nice turnout with a turn around. We drove as far as we could, then walked back a few hundred feet, placed T1 by a tree. T2 was in a food container about the size of a small tub of butter. It was buried under some leaves next to T1. T2 was a KF6GQ micro T.

We went on to the IHOP, everyone else was finishing up, we had breakfast. As we left HOP we heard a very loud signal identifying as KF6GQ. We drove to the park behind IHOP, had 50 db of attenuation. We wanted to eliminate the boat docks, so we walked out as far as we could, we determined it was definitely across the lake.

We went after Scott's (N6MI) slow cw transmitter. We found it shortly walking up the hill from the cul-de-sac above the Texaco station. We then found Jim AF6O's transmitter in the rock waterfalls off of 18. We placed our T3 there just for fun. By the way, we had placed it behind the wooden bridge, when we picked it up it was buried in a pipe, kind of a dangerous location in the dark - thanks.

We were headed towards Jippy's strong signal(s). We went out the 18. We stopped at a turnout, and started sniffing but it quickly became apparent, we could not get to it (very easily) from there, so we hiked back up to the vehicle. Headed on down the hill. At a large turnout on the side of the road, headed down the mountain with a yellow road sign, we placed T4. (Turned out Jippy's transmitter was hidden at the next turnout on the opposite side of the road). As we approached the turnout we saw Jim & Scott sitting off to the side of the entrance to a road going down. We followed this road for approximately a half mile to a turnout. We went in the turnout and soon found Jippy's 11 element beam, connected to a mobile radio. Strange thing was it sounded like there were other transmitter(s) in the area that sounded exactly the same. Deryl said to turn off the transmitter to determine whether there were others. So I turned it off. We determined that it was the only one. I turned on the transmitter, but no signal came on. At this point Deryl informed me that he was only half way serious about turning it off in the first place. In the meantime Jim and Scott had arrived. Scott pushed the red (reset?) button on the noise board. Still nothing, but I noticed the transmitter was not on the t-hunt frequency, so I dialed in 146.565 mhz and there was once again a signal from this transmitter. By the way in a kind act, Jim AF6O got a large plastic bag from his vehicle and covered the radio and the noise board that were out in the elements and the iminent looking rain. At the restaurant in the evening, I discovered from Jippy that it was on a different receive frequency so he could remotely control it, but it transmitted on 146.565. Oh well sorry Jippy.

The next transmitter we found was Jippy's second t, off of Holcomb Valley Road from Fawnskin. The fifth transmitter we found was KD6SNE's T2, at a campground. Going on along the dirt road from the campground we found another one of Mike's transmitters designated as T1. It was up along the hillside in a tree, the bright silver chain gave it away. Although we did drive by it once.

We went on towards Holcomb Valley looking for the elusive KF6GQ transmitter we had heard so loud on the other side of the lake. We heard it very strong in a small canyon. It was pointed up the hill, but there was no visible road or path, so we went on around as the road started up the hill. We heard a "froggy" transmitter and low and behold there was Bob and Kathy. We signed in at their vehicle for "froggy t". We went on about a quarter mile and determined that access to GQ's transmitter had to be back somewhere the way we came. So we went back down to the canyon we heard it so strong before we met Bob and Kathy. We didn't want to go hiking in the brush and climb the steep hillside, so I suggested we go back to where we saw Bob and Kathy because on the opposite side of the road was a sign for the Pacific Trail. Although this was on the wrong side of the road from where the signal was coming from, it was the only viable alternative I could see a t this point. When we arrived back there, Bob &Kathy had left and what do you know, where there vehicle had been parked was the other side of the trail, right in the direction where the signal was coming from. We walked for a long ways, I was beginning to question if they would put a transmitter so far away from a drivable path, when we came upon it. Sure enough it had a clear view back to the dock we sniffed at, on the other side of the lake. On our way back out the path, we ran into KD6FEG, Mike's partner. Back out on the road, we chatted with Mike for a little while, then we decided it was time to continue hunting.

We went on thru Holcomb Valley, found a third SNE transmitter, on a small hill that was fun to drive up on. Heading on thru the Valley, we came up on a Ford Tempo (small four door car with 5 people and 2 large dogs in it, stuck at the bend in the road. They got jammed up on a rock, when everyone (except the dogs) got out of the car, they were able to rock it off of the rock. I dumbly got behind them. I waited for the dust to clear and proceeded. In a short while we came up on them again. They were moving very slow because there was a group of horse riders blocking the road. After about a half mile, the horse riders got out of our way and shortly after that the Tempo turned down a small road . Wonder what ever became of them? Odd to see people with those kinds of vehicles on these roads. Shortly after this we came up on a 2WD small pick up going very slow over ditches and rocks after about a mile of this and plenty of opportunities for him to let us by, I saw my opportunity and got by him. We continued thru the Valley back to Fawnskin looking for petrol. There was none in Fawnskin. Decided to go on around the lake to a bridge, crossed over to south side of lake and got gasoline at the ARCO station.

Heard Jim's transmitter, went back across bridge. Found his transmitter by the road in a potential stream, due to the rain. We then went back across the bridge for the third time, towards another one of Scott's transmitters. This one gave us some difficulty. We tried going on the roads by the ski lift that was now a water slide and slick track. We went into the lift areas parking lot. Determining we could not get to the transmitter from where we were. We went back in to Big Bear to the first road we could turn right at. What do you know, it's the Texaco station again. On up the road by the exclusive homes, past a large green (water) tank, to the end of the road with a locked gate. We parked and sniffed out the transmitter behind the tank along the chain link fence.

At this point we had found 11 transmitters, Not hearing anymore, it was too early for dinner (around 4:00 pm), so we decided to go out towards Butler Peak and Baldwin Lake and see if anyone put anything out on any of these fun roads. Well, it appeared N6ZHZ did. Out around Baldwin Lake Road, we turned on to a large dirt road by the name of Vail. We shortly came upon a path, that looked like it led to a dumping ground. Deryl said to go on this road/path, so I went. We soon came to a very large low hanging cedar tree at a bend in the road with rocks, one really large rock especially. Deryl urged me on, reluctantly I went. Antenna got tangled in the tree! Got antenna untangled from tree with no damage to the antenna. On we went on this path with trash littered all over. We got to a point where trash was dumped in the middle of the road and I was not going to drive thru it. We went on foot for a short while and determined that it was further away. Back out this great road/path. We worked our way over to the same hill Bob had hid on on another hunt. There are three roads, we went on all three. They were much worse due to the heavy rains then, when we had been on them before looking for a ZHZ transmitter. This was fun, I had brought my truck for some off road and I got it! We went to the end of the lowest road after being on the other 2, for as far as it went. Then just like the other time, we hiked and hiked and hiked and hiked, up past several good potential hiding spots around very large rocks. But nooooo, Bob had to put it at practically the top of the mountain. Oh well he had to hike it twice, so I can take solace in that :-). If you weren't keeping count, we found a total of 12 transmitters.

Here's who found ours:

KD6LAJ/KF6GQ 1:05 pm
AF60/N6MI 1:34 pm
KD6FEG/KD6SNE 4:20 pm

No one found T2.

AF60/N6MI 2:11 pm
KD6LAJ/KF6GQ 2:28 pm

No one found T4.

This was a lot of fun, thanks to everyone who participated and I encourage others who may not have tried one of these types of hunts to come out in November.

Deryl N6AIN


It was a hot night. I was still resting up from an all-night hunt where I drove over 300 miles and didn't find a single one of the six hidden transmitters. Off to Marlene's birthday dinner with the "kids"; didn't get home 'till almost midnight; still had to make up the hidden-T checkin papers, off to bed, will load the zook tomorrow. OVERSLEPT. up at seven-thirty, still gotta load the zook with the 11-el beam and mast, three hidden Ts, got most of it in the thing by to Butler peak to hide the "biggie" before breakfast at 9:00. Couldn't make it; it's nine and I still haven't gotten any where near Butler..oh-well time for a compromise. Found a place off of Hwy 18 that kinda over looks the lake. That might work.. got the beam up in 4 minutes, radio setup (50 watt kenwood with a Byon Picon timer/modulator set for 30 seconds of eight different toned Ids and random tones set to go off every 90 seconds) with that much power only 3 miles from the lake, the area ought to be really bothered by that T.
Dashed to the otherside of the Lake, near the conservation area and hung the Picon/Ameco 0.3 watt T from the rail of the walkway so it hung just over the water. Got off to breakfast, arriving at 9:45, just in time to pick up a quick pancake. Off to hide a T above Fawnskin and turn on the biggie..It won't turn on..went off to checkout biggie and found the radio has went into power conservation mode and turned it self off. Got it turned on and sped off to Fawnskin and hid a 3-watter and found AF6O's T-1 nearby.
Continued around the Fawnskin/Holcum Valley area and found three of Mike's Ts. Don, KF6GQ had a T hid up the hill and I spent about a 1/2 hour poking sround in the brush without getting any closer. I gave up and went on the road hoping to find another road. By this time I found that the gas I didn't buy in Big Bear at breakfast was being woefully missed. Back at GQ's T, this time I climbed the hill from the lower road, about 300 miles of vertical brush covered mountain only to find the damn thing hidden about 20 ft off of a well stomped near-level trail. I took the trail and walked the road back to my zook, all downhill. Now I'm pooped and out of gas. Down to Fawnskin, only to find that there is no gas in Fawnskin. Ate lunch at Froggies, where I had a Frogburger. Off to the bridge, got to about 1 mile from the bridge and ran out of gas. Poured in 2 gals from the spare can and went on into BB for gas. Tried to turn on the Alinco but it wouldn't come on. Walked out on the walkway and found it still there, but upon detailed examination, it had a broken connector. As I had no other connector, I took the Picon and wired it onto a RS transceiver. It wouldn't stay on since it's battery was dying. Found another battery, and now my third T was finally on the air. It had the same code/tones as biggie. I hid it in a bush. Found a second GQ T across the lake.
I went all over 2N10/2N08 without finding any more Ts. Although I was close to Scott's slow-CW T. Ate dinner at Denny's. Hid three T's, found 7 counting froggie T in Bob/Kathy's car.
These hunts are a real lot of fun. We had some 20+ transmitters all on the air at once, all on 146.565, all hetrodyning and overlapping. You just set the attenuator so you don't hear anything and then drive on all roads until you hear one and go find it. Adjust the attenuator for the next loudest one and drive some more. No bearings, no plotting; just frantic driving and finding. Sure don't learn anything and really doesn't take much skill or training, just energy. Lots of fun though..


KD6SNE T-1 Located halfway between Fawnskin and Holcomb Valley on forest road 2N17. 20mw into a three element horizontal beam pointed at Downtown Big Bear.

KD6SNE T-2 Located approximately 1 mile Northwest of T-1 on forest road 2N17. about 200 feet down a trail. 300mw into a 1/4 wave spike, vertical.
Check-Ins By: N6AIN,N6EKS / WB6JPI / KF6GQ,KD6LAJ / AF6O, N6MI

KD6SNE T-3 Located about 100 yards North of the intersection of forest roads 2N09 and 3N16 in Holcomb Valley (near the horse ranch). 300mw into a 1/4 wave spike, vertzontle.


Steve has to work on Saturdays, so we left a bit late to make the breakfast. We arrived in the Big Bear area around 10:00am, so we went directly to our primary hiding place. This was on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), just off of 2N09 to the south west. The transmitter was a 1 watt 1/4 wave antenna ammo box. This was turned on at about 10:15am. We then started back to Big Bear for a late breakfast early lunch. We dropped off our second transmitter (a mini-T) this was placed on hwy 18 just west of the bridge over the east end of the lake. It was placed in a bit muddy area next to the lake. We started off for lunch, when we heard a strong T, this was a JPI T, located on the east side of the bridge, about 1/4 east of the bridge. Now we went to lunch. During lunch, we formulated our plan for getting all the T's. We decided to go up in back Big Bear on 2N10, because we just knew that many T's would be hidden up in that area. Well 1hr. 20min. later, we still hadn't found any T's. However luckly for us AIN hid a T on one of the roads that we went on to get the heck out of there. At this point we came to the opinion that if we just drove around whith our attenuator cranked in, and when a signal was close enought, it would be the one we headed for. MI's was the next. This one could have been driven to, but we decided that we needed some more excercise, so we took the long way up from the hwy to it's location on top of a hill overlooking a fun looking slide. It was now obvious that all the T's where on the other side of the lake, so off we went. As we tooled down hwy 38 towards the dam, up came two T's that appeared to be located next to one the other. Not being able to copy code, we didn't know until found that these were T's from both MI & AIN. Now off towards that T that was going beep beep beep. This one seemed to be coming from the fawnskin area. Up the dirt road pass JPI's T back up down a narrow road, find the T. Now for SNE's (somehow we did figure this out). Found this one and heading back towards our T to pick it up we passed another SNE T pointed into the side of the mountain. Left that one met ZHZ found a T inside of their car. Started towards our T when we heard another T off in the distance. Another SNE T, thanks. Now we are really cooking, we are going to keep on hunting now that we have 9 T's found. Figured there ought to be a T or two down Van Dunston, but nothing. So back to Big Bear Lake and get some gas. On the way heard another T that we didn't think we heard before (go to remember neither one of us is very good at code). This T stopped just as we were ready to ponce on it. Saw Jippy fooling around with something down by the lake edge, soo went that away and found Jippy with the T we were just hunting, trying to get it to stay on. So now we had 10 T's not bad for all the time we wasted on 2N10 . Went and picked up our T at 6:00pm and foung 4 of the 5 teams had found this T, Jippy walked about .5 miles and up about 800' to find that a short walk from the road would have gotten him there more easly. Picked up the mini-T, found that no one had checked in (the T was copyable for about .25 miles on hwy 18 and on the bridge. Back at Sizzler MI & AF6O found the 1watt T in the parking lot. All in all we had a great time.
Don & Steve


The night before the hunt, Jim and I went up to stay at hotel near the lake (The Big Bear Inn). This helped us acclimate to the high altitude and party spirit. Our hotel was worse than some transmitter hunt hotels (e.g. the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite-see and better than others (e.g. the Chiriaco Summit three room "bug farm" motel-no web page available). And, I am always grateful when we can start a little later on Saturday morning.
Jim and I hid four transmitters before breakfast. AF6O T4 was hidden first--about 150 feet above Highway 18 behind some steep rocks, near the dam, in Kidd Cove. (This was found by KF6GQ/KD6LAJ at ??, N6AIN/N6EKS at 1:05 PM, and WB6JPI at 5:32 PM). AF60 T1 was hidden second-on a small trail just east of 3N14 (about two miles above Fawnskin). (This was found by WB6JPI at 11:15 AM.) AF60 T3 was hidden on Holcomb Valley Road, just south of the intersection of 2N09 and 2N71. (This transmitter was running very low power or had an antenna problem, and no one found it.) AF60 T2 was hidden just south of Highway 38 in a small drainage ditch (just east of the intersection of Stanfield Cutoff and Highway 38). (This was found by N6AIN/N6EKS at 11:15 AM and KF6GQ and KD6LAJ at 2:30 PM.) Along the way, we purchased wire to make two antennas for the N6MI transmitters (since I forgot my adapters).
Breakfast was at the IHOP on the south side of the lake.
After breakfast, we hid N6MI (very slow tones) and N6MI T1 about 300 feet apart near the top of the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain. The slow N6MI transmitter was found by N6AIN/N6EKS at 10:50 AM, KF6GQ/KD6LAJ at 1:43 PM, and N6ZHZ/KD6CYG at 5:41 PM. The team of N6AIN/N6EKS came back at 3:42 PM and found N6MI T1.
All transmitters were AF6O boxes, running 3 (?) watts to wire whips.
The AF6O/N6MI team found 8 transmitters, including the froggie transmitter.