A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TRANSMITTER HUNTER
Nov. 28, 1976
Well, it's Sunday morning. No good football games on TV; better get ready
for this afternoon's T-hunt. Came in fourth last time after winning 4 straight.
I'll be ready this time. Let's see, the L-PER* DF system is always in the car
along with the special roof mount antenna system; the SBE-144 is working good
but I'll need the Yaesu FT2 to monitor the input and it's got an intermittent
receiver. Better get right on it. Let's see, hmmmm.aha, just a loose antenna
connection on the PC board. Glad they learned that pushpins aren't
reliable.should really solder it...but then adjusting the crystals would be
hard; oh well, I'll just bend the pin and push it back on. There.now to install
it in the car. So much for that; now I can monitor the output of the repeater
simultaneously with the input. After all, these WR6ABE/AMD T-hunts are something
The hidden transmitter is a regular repeater user in that he works the
repeater just like anyone else, with intermittent conversation about the usual
nonsense. You start from wherever you happen to be and the base stations with
their big beams are encouraged to help with bearings given over the repeater.
The winner (usually me) gets a bag of cookies and also gets to hide next time.
So I only win every other one. The only other rules are that the transmitter and
antenna be on public property, accessible by paved public roads. Old T-hunters
will wonder what kind of hunt is this?
Well this hunt has a specific purpose. It is intended to train people to
locate transmitters using the repeater (stuck, illegal or jammers) that could
not be otherwise identified. With 800+ users and all the nuts in L.A. we get
more than our share of weirdo's.
O yes, I had better put the Bearcat 1012 in the car incase they are running
the hidden transmitter remote. It will also give me a backup in case the Yaesu
quits again. I lost one because I couldn't get close enough for the L-PER
(usually not very close as it has a 0.01uv sensitivity). Better throw in the
3-element beam in the back seat.
Well now I have every radio-like thing I own in the car. About $2000 wor5th
counting the 450 stuff.maybe I'd better lock the car or place an armed guard or
It's now 1:00PM and the Rams football game is on.back to the TV.should be
ready for the 5:00PM T-hunt. Just relax for the next three hours and store up my
energy for the hunt.
It's Russ; he wants me to help stake out a "clicker" (one who keys up the
repeater just to key up the repeater. This one is active on Sunday afternoons
and Russ is lonely. What!. In Claremont, that's 70 miles away. Oh, OK; the Rams
are ahead 28 to zip and it is only 2:00PM. I could be there by 3:15 sit for an
hour or two and start the hunt from the east end of the county. Luckily the car
is equipped for most anything. To the freeway. Can't use the repeater past
Glendale.don't want to tip the stakeout. Nice day for a drive, though. Where is
the off ramp? Russ said to meet ant the donut shop on the Indian Wells off ramp.
There is no such off ramp on the 210 freeway. Must be on the San Bernardino
freeway. I'll go over there. Still don't here the clicker though.might be a
wasted drive. It's now 4:00 and I still can't find the off ramp. I musta gone by
it back on the 210. I will go back toward LA on the San
What's this? A very strong carrier has come up on the repeater. Boy, is it
strong, taking most everybody out. Burt is on the microwave control-aux link
relaying beam headings from the base stations; no one can get through the
carrier. The headings seem to cross in Glendale.
My L-PER has it ahead of me (with the roof antenna system I only get ahead
and behind bearings). Rick, my arch rival in the hunts, is leaving from Burbank
to find it. He is a darn sight closer to Glendale than I am. It is sure strong
on my L-PER. Burt just announced that the T-hunt would be delayed until it is
found. Better hurry up, it is now 4:30. what5's this? The L-PER now says it is
behind me, I went by it. It's not in Glendale that is still 10 miles off. North
on the Golden State freeway. Yes, it's north the L-PER shows it in front of me.
Whoops, no it's behind me.passed it again. Next off ramp.find a hill where my
250 watts ERP can get in to the now line-of-sight repeater and let them know it
is not in Glendale. Here is one, just made the repeater. Man, is that signal
strong. Rick already knew it was east of Glendale, now he knows it is south as
well. Back down the hill.
The usual approach is to drive in a straight line with the L-PER indicating
the signal in front until the L-PER shows it behind me. Then turn 90 degrees
(hopefully, but hardly ever, the right way) and repeat the process. The car will
converge on the signal in a spiral (with straight lines and right angle corners)
until it is down to one house. Won't work here as the streets are all curved and
dead-end as they go up and down around hills. The hills cause multipath and the
L-Per is jumping all over, making it very hard to identify the
There is one, wait, make sure, yep, turn next corner.darn wrong way, make a
U turn.now.went by it again.turn next street, down a dead end, U turn back to
the last one. Boy, is it strong, the L-PER is almost fully attenuated. Passed it
again, left, yeah, looks good, it's in this block. Drive up this driveway and
see which side of the street it is on. OK, U turn, sorry lady, Still in front.in
front.in front.there, it's right there. I don't see any
Try the other side of the block. Good shot to the repeater from the top of
this hill. No wonder it is so strong into the repeater. Road doesn't go through,
darn, AH! Here is the road, now slowly.there it is a 5/8 ground plane up about
30 feet. No place to park, road is too narrow to just double park. Here is a
place; up to the door. "Hello, is the Ham Home?" "Your transmitter is stuck on
'ABE." " It is? Let me go check." He disappears into the back of the
Upon his return, "Cheez, I'm sorry, I didn't know." I told him the penalty
for his negligence (he had been working on the microphone while monitoring 'ABE
and when he went to do something else, had placed the manual on the open mic
case, keying the transceiver) was to announce on 'ABE that he was the culprit
and take all the friendly ribbing that would follow. It could happen to anyone
(and will probably happen to you sooner or later). While he was apologizing all
over, I made it back to the car. Rick was still a mile away. The carrier had
been on 28 minutes.
It is now 4:56. Cleared that carrier just in time for the T-hunt. Problem
is I'm lost. Too many turns getting here. Might as well whip out the maps and
find out where this hill is; It's not a bad place to start. Cant fond the map
for Highland Park, too much junk in the car. Why did I bring this beam? Darn,
the hunt has started. The L-PER sees him; he is that way whichever way that way
is. The Base stations have him in the west valley. It's 20 miles from this dumb
hill. To the freeway. At least Rick is in the same boat, but what about the
other ten teams? Hoppy comes in from Thousand Oaks, only 10 miles from the west
valley. Maybe his truck will break.
Now that I am off the hill, I've lost the transmitter. I have also lost the
freeway.darn why aren't these streets straight? Aha! Found the freeway; now roll
it. Gas gauge is low; almost empty. Must be 20 miles left. Now the L-PER has him
again and yes he is in the west valley.
There!, I just went by him. Nest off ramp; must go north as there is
nothing to the south; this area I know. He is still north. So is the Long beach
team and SO is Rick. He must have gone up the 5 freeway and should still be in
the east valley.I hope. Darn red lights, have gone north 6 miles from the
freeway and it is still north. Gas gauge is on the middle leg of the "E", maybe
5 miles left. Here is Porter ranch; still north.darn this place, there isn't
straight street in the place. There, I finally passed it. Now where?. Up the
next street, no! wrong way, hey, maybe they are in the next canyon west, better
check. Let's see, I will straddle two lanes of Tampa sideways. There are still
two lanes left so you shouldn't be honking like that. There he transmitted.he's
east in here somewhere. Up the next street, oops passed him again; he is in that
new section, not on any maps. How do I get in there?. Here is a street, let's
see where it goes. Looks good. Whoopee!!!! There he is, I won, I won, I won, I
beat Rick; Cookies. It's 6:05 took an hour from Highland park, 31
Must stretch, been in the car since 2:00. Cookies are sure good. Where is
Rick? Wonder where this place is? Can't find my map Why did I bring this beam,
it takes up the whole back seat. Here comes Jeff with a 5 element beam stuck out
of the window and hand held by Kirk; sure looks strange. Guess it works, though.
Pass out the cookies. What? Here is a guy on a motorcycle using a converted
weather radio.no beam, no loop, no nothing. Sure takes the wind out of my $2000
sail; wonder how he does it? Where is Rick? Here comes Hoppy and Long Beach and
lookie there.a pickup truck with a guy in the bed holding a beam. I'll bet he is
cold. Where's Rick? Here is Rick. What, you didn't believe your L-PER but went
back to the loop and the L-PER was right and the loop was wrong? Well last time
it was the other way around. Couple more come in. we are all here. Good!, let's
Next time it won't be so easy. I've found this place that only radiates to
the repeater and no where else. No one can hear it (except the repeater) so no
one can find it. Tee Hee..
* The L-PER is a battery operated DF receiver manufactured by L-Tronics
5546 Cathedral Oaks Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93111. This receiver is a four
channel dual conversion AM superhet designed for downed aircraft location. They
will tun the unit for 2 mtrs or 220 or both. The 2mtr unit with hand held
antenna and one frequency costs about $140.00.