AREG Friday Foxhunts: Next Adelaide hunt 12th February 6.30pm

The next of our monthly fox hunts is scheduled for Friday the 12th of February. Hunters are to meet from 6:15pm in the car park at Lockleys Oval – Rutland Ave, Lockleys. As usual, this event is open to all interested parties, be it members and non-members.

This hunt will again see us hunting at least one and possibly two 144 MHz hidden transmitters throughout the Adelaide metropolitan area. The frequency of the fox(es) will be broadcast on AREG’s VK5RSB Summertown 70cm repeater on 439.900 MHz a few minutes before 6:30pm with all invited to liaise and discuss their progress on the repeater throughout the night (91.5 MHz CTSS tone required on input).

We look forward to seeing you there.

REPORT: AREG Handheld ARDF BBQ Picnic

On Saturday the 9th of January 2021, AREG held its monthly fox hunt but rather than driving all over town to hunt the fox, this chase was on foot instead.

Eleven hunters ranging from children to adults set out to track the transmitters down with their handheld yagi antennas and receivers. With a forecast maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, the hunt was tough on all involved but a shady spot next to some barbecues provided a cool place to rest and mingle after the hunt.

The happy hunters

Seven 144 MHz radio transmitters were hidden, scattered over a distance of 700 metres along the River Torrens in Felixstow. Some were left hanging from tree branches, some buried under leaves, some under cars and even one was left sitting by the river bank.

Fox 5 with marker attached

These VK3YNG ARDF transmitters run on 2x AA batteries and can be heard from quite a distance away

 

 

 

“Biscuit”, the arduino powered fox utilising a Baofeng UV-B6 HT disguised in a wafer biscuit tin with magnet mount antenna on top

Each transmitter had a different coloured marker attached and hunters were required to cross out the corresponding box on their ARDF tracking sheets to prove they had found each fox.

 

Our next monthly hunt will be announced soon so be sure to check back with us here for more info.

AREG Handheld ARDF Picnic – 12:00pm Saturday January 9th

VK5ZM hunting 2m “Foxes” in 2019

The next AREG hosted fox hunt is planned to be an ARDF “hand held – on foot” style event held in Drage Park / Riverside Park, in Felixtow, just 6km north east of the city centre (near the Kelmzig O-Bahn bus interchange). Members and visitors are welcome to join us in the park from 12.00pm, Saturday 9th January 2021.

AREG will deploy a minimum of 5 beacon transmitters on the 2m amateur band (144MHz). The challenge will be to see who can find all of them the fastest!

To participate, you will need to do a SA MyGov COVID Checkin with us at the start, and ideally bring along your 2m (144MHz) direction finding antennas and receivers. We will do timed staggered starts and you will be free to hunt the transmitters in any order you like!

For those who dont have any equipment, take a look at (this design) by NT1K! It is very simple and quick to put together! Add a variable attenuator and a receiver and you are away!

For those who aren’t sure, AREG is hoping to have at least 1 or 2 loan sets of gear available, based on the very popular VK3YNG sniffer receivers, or we can arrange to buddy you up with one of the club members who do have equipment so you can get a first taste of fox hunting ARDF style.


For those not into fox hunting, but who would like to gather and welcome in 2021 with all of us at AREG, we are also promoting this event as the AREG Summer BYO Picnic for 2021.

This will be a COVID Safe event with family groups spread out across the banks of the Torrens to observe social distancing requirements. AREG has picked this location as it has lots of amenities for all of the family. There are public BBQs, a kids playground and public toilets in the area as well as ample parking in the Drage Reserve car park. The marshaling check-in point will be marked with AREG Flags and will be located on the south side of the river Torrens near the Riverside Park western BBQ area (west of the play ground closest to the Drage Reserve Car Park).

We will also endeavor to have someone monitor the VK5RSB 70cm repeater on 439.900 (91.5Hz CTCSS access tone) to help guide anyone in who is having problems finding us.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday Foxhunts: Next Adelaide hunt 11th December 6.30pm

On Friday 14th of November, three hunters set out to locate the two foxes that were hidden by Theo, VK5IR. The hunters were Mark, VK5QI, Louis, VK5FLY and Allan, VK5MAD. The first fox was hidden low in a tree at Victoria Park, south of the CBD and the second fox was stuck to the flying fox at a playground in St Clare, next to the St Clare Recreation Centre.

Both Mark and Louis were successful in locating the fox at St Clare and this was really a job well done as this fox only outputs 100mW so was very hard to hear. Mark was also successful in locating the other fox at Victoria Park which he found first before setting off for the low power fox. Unfortunately Allan had radio issues and called it a night early but has vowed to return for the next hunt.

The next hunt is planned for the evening of Friday the 11th of December and with hunters meeting at Lockleys Oval, Rutland Avenue Lockleys from 6.15pm and the hunt will commence at 6.30pm. Everyone is welcome to join in and we hope to see you there.

 

AREG 2m Fox Hunt Fridays

Have you ever heard of Fox Hunting? Do you remember the days when teams of people chased 2m hidden transmitters all over town? Would you like to join in the fun? The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group is commencing a new series of “Hidden Transmitter hunts” or “Fox hunts” as they are known on the 2m band over the summer daylight savings season this year.

The first event will be held on Friday the 13th of November. This will be a cross-town hunt with a two metre fox being hidden somewhere within the Adelaide metropolitan area. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in.

The hunt will commence from the car park of the Lockleys Oval, Rutland Avenue Lockleys. Hounds are encouraged to gather at the start from 6.15pm. The fox will begin transmitting at 6.30pm. The fox’s frequency will be announced via the VK5RSB 70cm Summertown repeater on 439.900 MHz just before the hunt begins. Hunters are welcome to liaise via VK5RSB during the event (note that a 91.5 Hz CTCSS tone is required to access the repeater).

This will the first of many monthly fox hunts hosted by AREG over the coming months which will be announced on our website and via our Facebook page as well as the local VK5 WIA news.

So dust off your ARDF gear, we look forward to seeing you there!

Come and Try Foxhunting Event – Saturday November 10th @ 1.00pm

AREG members are looking to rekindle interest in Fox Hunting and Radio Direction finding in Adelaide. To get the ball rolling, following the special fox hunting presentation on Friday 9th November at the clubrooms by Bryan VK3YNG, the club is holding a come and try fox hunting / radio direction finding event in the SE Parklands on Saturday 10th November from 1.00pm till 3.00pm.

Rod VK5UDX teaching Adrian VK5ZBRs daughter how to DF

The come and try day will allow those without gear to come and see how to get started and to try their hands at some pedestrian direction finding using equipment such as Bryan’s sniffer receivers.

Visitors are most welcome at both events. If you have ever been curious or just want to come for a day in the park on Saturday then drop on by – we would love to see you and introduce you to the fascinating world of radio direction finding!

The event will be staged in the SE Parklands, off Beaumont Rd (enter from the Greenhill Rd end). Directions can be found from the map below or by calling on the Summertown 70cm repeater VK5RSB on 439.900MHz (91.5Hz CTCSS).

Location of this event

Amateur Radio Fox Hunting by Bryan Ackerly VK3YNG – Special November 9th Meeting date

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc will be held ONE WEEK EARLY in November on the 2nd Friday of the month to accommodate a visit from Bryan Ackerly VK3YNG who is going to talk to us about getting started in Radio Direction Finding (or commonly known as Fox Hunting in VK). The meeting will be held at the usual venue in the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham starting at 7.45pm

Photo by Adrian VK5ZBR – Mt Gamber National Championships

Bryan is the creator of the VK3YNG Sniffer receivers which have received wide acclaim and is full of information on how to get started and participate in this fun filled and action packed aspect of Amateur Radio.


Rod VK5UDX teaching Adrian VK5ZBRs daughter how to DF

Following the meeting, a come and try Fox Hunting event will be held the following day (Saturday November 10th) at 1pm in the South East corner of the Adelaide Parklands, off Beaumont Rd near the Greenhill Road end. The come and try day will allow those without gear to come and see how to get started and to try their hands at some pedestrian direction finding using equipment such as Bryan’s sniffer receivers.

Visitors are most welcome at both events. If you have ever been curious or just want to come for a day in the park on Saturday then drop on by – we would love to see you and introduce you to the fascinating world of radio direction finding!

Location of this event

AREG Members go Fox-Hunting at SERG Convention

This year, Adrian VK5ZBR again went down to Mt Gambier to participate in the South East Radio Group Convention with his family and Mike VK5AGI. The highlight of the convention is the annual round of the Australian Fox-Hunting Championships. Here is their story….

Hi All
I thought I would share our weekend at SERG Australian Fox Hunting Championship 2017.
 
Team Moose (aka VK5ZBR) had 4 members:
  • Mike VK5AGI – driver, ARDF
  • Adrian VK5ZBR – DF & ARDF
  • Kerry (XYL) – navigator & ARDF
  • Alayna (harmonic) – ARDF, navigator and playground critic
 Kerry now with last year’s hunts under her belt is the navigator. This year, a child seat was also fitted to the team Moose car, with Alayna a full time member this year!
There were two other VK5 teams also participating:
  • VK5TV Bevan and his wife and
  • VK5FAB (Ken and Paul Burns with extended family).

The FAB team this year was competing in all hunts.

Our equipment
This year we were not sure how we would go with one navigator as its quite a
difficult task. Kerry would be dealing with paper maps, Ozi Explorer and Google
Map Pro for the first time.
I also decided to try the SDR play on my new 12inch Chuwi tablet, this was a carry on from last years 10in tablet. The SDR was only used for detecting the fox when we were in close proximity. I had no antenna on the SDR so the signal had to be extremely strong. Again the SDR is not very useful for direction finding because of the processing delays. It’s great to identify the signal your listening to though.
 
I again used my Icom R10 and trusty ammo box home brew DFing radio I built in 1994.
 
Saturday
 

Adrian and Alayna Hunting Transmitters

Event 1

This event was the 10 Leg ARDF in Marist Park (crater), very hilly and great to hide foxes. Our team split up into 2 groups, Mike then Kerry, Alayna and I the other. I was teaching Alayna and Kerry ARDF. We had two hours
to complete the hunt. We did the hunt at a pace Alayna could do. Surprisingly we got as many foxes as I did last year on my own.
 
Event 2

The 4 leg CW FM transmitters on the same frequency with CW ID’s in any order. They come up at 30sec intervals. We learnt our lesson last year and Mike made two timer boxes with 4 colour LED’s on it. We would know each fox by its

Teams at the start of event 2

colour. This hunt is in the Caroline Forrest near Hells hole. We finished all the legs just on time. The last leg being the yellow colour took us nearly 1hr. It was located very high and clear giving a massive signal that always appeared to be closer than we thought. Yes we got bogged once on the blue leg but we recovered in 5min with a shovel.

 

One of the fox transmitters in Event 2

Event 3

This was the famous Wayne Kilpatrick Night Hunt (5 Legs) this will be Alayna’s first night hunt. She was a bit scared of the forest at night. This hunt is fun and can break you or your car (both which has happened in past years). Just to finish the night is a success. This year we saw plenty of kangaroos, and even a wombat. No UFO’s this year, however.
 

Leg 1 the 2m fox was surprisingly

Kerry & Alayna on the night hunt

easy, Kerry had a bit of an orientation problem for the first 5 minutes but got her bearings after that. Remember she’s using a topographic map and driving a PC with Oziexplorer and Google maps pro. We actually drove straight to the fox, which was just over the border in Victoria, with only one way in.

 
Next was Leg 2.  Oh damn, we can’t hear the signal! We switch to SSB and I can just make out something and head in the general direction. Lots of radio chatter about the fox not transmitting. After quite a few km the signal went from in the noise to s9 plus.
The fox announced his coax was faulty, NO JOKE! Lucky we were heading in the
right direction. Thank you again R10 in SSB mode!
 
Leg 3 we could hear with no problem but when we got closer we had issues with
many reflections. I was becoming a bit concerned so began to get-out the car with the sniffer antenna to get bearings. This took a lot longer but it all made sense when we found the fox hidden in a bush. The railway line was next to him and re-radiating his signal. I hate railway lines!!
 
Having found Leg 3 it was on to Leg 4. This is a nasty 6m band hunt! I had fixed up the loop days before and re-calibrated it. I was amazed how well it was working again. I could work out the direction with in 10deg. The trick that worked was stopping in line with the road and taking bearings. Kerry would plot this on the paper map and we drove nearly right up to the fox. The time was 9.30pm and I thought wow were doing very well with one leg to go. Alayna, however, checked out for the night so Mum lost her helper.
 
Leg 5 10m. One of the most difficult bands to hunt on in a pine forest! Why, oh why didn’t I check the loop before we left!! We could here the piccolo signal and I was having issues determining the direction. This loop has a better peak in one direction, and it didn’t feel right! So we did some driving to determine which way was
correct. Kerry plotted my directions and we ended up in Piccaninnie Ponds
Conservation Park near the beach. Kerry said how far do you think it is, I said far.
She said well it’s not in the ocean. We realized my bad gut feeling my DFing was 180 deg out had come true. So, back the other way north through to the township of Donovans.
 

This is when it got interesting, some

Mike VK5AGI in the drivers seat

nutter in a car coming the other way drove down the center of the road with his high beams on. This car then proceeded to come over to our side and Mike had to drive off the road not to hit him. This woke us up and we forgot about the hunt for a while.

Eventually, we got to the location that Kerry wanted to get to far north on the intersection of the princess highway. The signal was still north but not getting stronger. I made up my mind something is still wrong. I got my test transmitter out and tested the loop. Sigh, it was still wrong! When I looked up the loop had slipped 45deg at some stage. Damn! A bit of bending and the loop was re-aligned. The direction was now pointing back towards Mt Gambier….
 
Kerry determined this was logical for the last leg and I knew it was high up after all
these km’s. So we just drove back that way and quickly the signal got stronger and
stronger. It ended up being at Potters Point. I wish I checked the loop on the start
of this leg. It was now 11.30pm and time to get back to the room for a hard
Scottish drink. We were wrapped we finished and we weren’t the last team
either, although we would have finished at 10pm I think, if that loop was aligned. Poor Alayna was dead to the world.
 
Sunday
 
Event 4
This is a 10 leg ARDF event hunted on foot. Hmm, we tried but Mike and Alayna had issues with waking up after Saturday night’s effort. It started to drizzle too, and we didn’t like the idea of getting wet. So, off to the SERG hall for breakfast and bargain hunting instead.
 
Event 5
This was another Triple leg Hunt – another tough one. This hunt is fast, you need to change antennas fast, the first leg 70cm was straight north, driving past the airport to Telford Scrub Conservation Park. All the teams were very close.
 
The next leg was on 2m, but  none of us could hear it! Oh no, what now. We drove back out to the Riddoch Highway and headed north. The signal then finally comes up. Bugger its bearing is 9 o’clock, so we dive for the next main track to the left. We all follow each other and this fox is tricky. We find him but only after driving on both sides of his location to discover a track in-between. If we waited longer before we started this leg Kerry said we could have driven nearly straight to him saving many km.
 
The next leg was 70cm again. Kerry got a bit confused and we ended up following our Yagi for a while. This leg we got close and I did the rest on foot with the sniffer. We found it.
 
Event 6
This was another triple leg hunt, but this time with a twist. This hunt requires quick antenna changes again. 2m and 70cm we can do with a switch but the inclusion of 80m in this event means a manual antenna change to the loop antenna mid charge. The 80m loop is Rod VK5UDX’s and I’m not familiar with. Its not set up for my side of the car. 
 
Leg 1 – 2m fox was quite straightforward, we ended up behind a quarry on west side of the Mt Gambier forest, and it was so close half the teams were within seconds.
 
Leg 2 – 70cm this again was straight forward as we drive North West to a forest near Glencoe West.
 
Leg 3 – 80m this is when it got interesting, our in car 240volt power supply decided to put up noise on the fox frequency. It never does this normally! Each time I needed to stop for a bearing we had to kill the 240volts in the car. Because of this and the loop being very vague we drove around all over the place just trying to work out which direction the signal was. I got quite confused and Kerry could not get any clear direction of where to go. I tested the loop with my test signal and I found the car body was really affecting the pattern of the loop. In the end, we pulled out, as we had not much time to get to the next hunt. Bummer! Should have used my original loop that was back at the house.
 

Getting Ready for the 23cm hunt

Event 7

This is the 23cm hunt and is another favorite as the fox can do tricky stuff with reflections. They use a tin can radiator and can beam the signal to appear in totally different places. However, our Yagis are like a torch, nice and sharp and are great to DF with so we were in with a fighting chance.
The hunt started at the top car park near the caravan park on the lake. We headed off and I could not hear anything. I was on SSB 1296MHz, tuned down to 1295.996 and there was the fox very weak and fluttery. Not good as I didn’t get a decent direction, the next signal was a bit better and I determined the direction. Kerry got a line out of town possibly on the edge of the Myora forrest. We still didn’t not know how far it could be. We got to the round about near the show grounds and the bearing was not changing much. I determined with Kerry’s navigation the signal was far away. So we broke from the pack and head east to get into the 80km zone sooner. First left we headed north to get to Kerry’s bearing line. The signal stared to really pick up and getting much cleaner. We had a give way sign to deal with then a near straight run. What do we see, the hound pack leaders approaching the same intersection as us. We ended up having to
give way to them. A sharp right hand turn onto a track and there is the 23cm fox
lying in the tall grass out of sight. We got 4 th position. So close! And we were very
happy with this result.
 
Back to our rooms to clean up and relax then back to the SERG Hall for David’s WENET talk and fox hunt presentations. VK3FAST won the weekend again. SERG put on a great dinner again and we sat down with the VK3AI team. We had a great time talking about the action over the weekend. We even got tips on the next 80m loop design to try, I will try and build it for 2018.
 
The use of Google earth pro was invaluable. The old topo maps are so far out of
date and you need Google photos to get the real story. The GPS server soft
ware work flawlessly. Next year we may get another tablet PC and have both map
system running together. Two new GPS as the one I had stopped working on windows 10, long story ! Mike had to write some code and got his Auduino GPS bits going the day before Mt Gambier. Well-done Mike. The commodore did well and nothing broke this year. Alayna bottom still has feeling. Kerry wants a pencil holder and I want to make more room in the car. We also want to log our track with signal strength. Time to get coding!
 
We had lots of fun and did better than we thought. Alayna has plenty of things to talk about and I’m not sure if she had any wow moments. Only time will tell. This year we had plenty of people asking what we were doing and we explained its ham radio hobby looking for hidden transmitters.
 
Regards Adrian VK5ZBR