T-Hunt Recap March 2017

Start Point: Letterman Park (Clovis, CA)
End Point: Pump House Park (Leonard & Ashlan – Clovis, CA)
Shortest Route: 6.1 miles / 16 minutes (approx.)
Number of Teams: 2
Fox: Rick (W6KKO)
Number of TX: 4

The central valley enjoyed another T-Hunt event on Saturday March 11. There were two teams this time consisting of John (K6MI) and Eric (N6IG) on one team, Marty (K6KTP), his grandson, and Dennis (KI6NVG) created the competition. The teams met at Letterman Park and  the water tank overhead created some directional ambiguity with the incoming signal from the fox.

No hints were required this hunt as John and Eric found the location after 20 minutes. As this was partially a milage based hunt, they left their vehicle parked across the street and ran over to identify the main transmitter. The fox, Rick (W6KKO), would periodically change the transmit power from 2 watts to 30 watts. The main TX antenna was elevated 15’ AGL, horizontally polarized and aimed north west toward the start location.

At this point John and Eric began to search on foot for three 15mW transmitters that were dispersed on the Pump House Park grounds. The locations of the transmitters are noted in the aerial image. It was tough going as the main transmitter would cover up the signal of the smaller transmitters, and the smaller transmitters would somewhat overlap each other. Fortunately, all of the transmitters utilized a different tone.

There were two parts to be successful on this hunt; first was to have the lowest milage and find the main transmitter, second was to find the low power transmitters. John and Eric located two of the low power transmitters, but were still searching for the third. Around 10:40 AM Marty, his grandson, and Dennis arrived and parked across the street as well. They began to search on the east side of Clovis East High School, but soon got their bearings and walked further south east to Pump House Park across the street.

Now that all teams had arrived and located the main transmitter, #1 noted in red, was turned off. The lack of the interference definitely helped toward locating the smaller transmitters. John and Eric had already located #2 (blue) in some tall grass, as well as #3 (green) hanging in a tree. Marty quickly identified low power transmitters #2 and #3 as well, but transmitter #4 was eluding everyone. W6KKO then turned off transmitters #2 and #3, but the hunt continued as #4 was proving to be difficult.

Although using the same power and circuitry, transmitter #4 was slightly different than #2 & #3. It was housed inside of a small Altoids mint tin and used a very compromised antenna. The other low power transmitters were inside 2” PVC tubes about 8” long and their antennas, although compromised, were slightly improved. It was a little after 11:15 AM before Eric (NI6G) located transmitter #4. The transmitter was placed inside a drain pass-through under a curb that separated the parking stalls from the grass park area. A large oak leaf had been placed over the Altoids tin as well to help with obscurity.

– John and Eric reported a driving distance of 5.9 miles.
– Marty, his grandson, and Dennis reported a driving distance of 9.1 miles.

The next scheduled T-Hunt is Saturday, July 15 at 10:00 AM. If you have not participated in a transmitter hunt and would like to see what it is all about, you are welcome to come give it a try.