VK1 Fox Hunt 5th March 1998

This week the fox was hidden by Laeli VK2LO in a lofty location on top of Mt Painter.

After seeing the unusual and cunning fox antennas used by Jack VK1JA a few weeks before( the 13 element beam, and the length of leaky coax), I had decided to produce my own cunning fox antenna. Several days before the hunt I went out and chopped down a suitably long and straight sapling and with a length of fencing tie wire, and another Yagi as a template, it took about 2 hours to produce a 7 element Yagi made to look like a tree branch, with leaves still attached. The driven element was a fencing wire folded dipole, and it was matched using a co-axial balun (or hairpin). The antenna was placed high up in a tree so the wire elements would be blend into the leafy canopy of the tree.

The experience of the hounds was again evident with the first hound John VK1ET and VK1KNP arriving on the scene within 20 minutes. Having located the fox, the first two hounds moved away a little to wait for the rest of the pack. It was not very long before the next hounds, Richard VK1SW, and Dave VK1DC arrived in the area. They quickly located the correct tree but took a little longer to find the leafy fox. They were soon followed by Peter VK1PK, and Jack VK1JA.

By the time the rest of the hounds arrived it was getting dark, and the antenna was now totally invisible to all, except the keen eyes of VK1DA Andrew’s children, who after helping to locate the tree were also able to spot the antenna. Full credit for tenacity must also be given to Paul VK1TEE who arrived about 10 mins latter, and after locating the right tree, climbed it in the dark to find the antenna.

Simon VK1AUS and Andrew arrived soon after to sniff out the fox which had been removed from the tree only minutes earlier by Paul.

On our return to the Comms Lab in Belconnen, we decided to test the unusual, fox antenna on the network analyser. I was amazed to find the antenna was perfectly tuned for the fox frequency with a return loss of -26dB at 146.500MHz, and better than -10dB return loss over a 10MHz bandwidth. The polar graph showed an almost perfect 50 ohm non-reactive load over the same 10MHz band width (might make a good field day antenna for the John Moyle Contest Hi Hi).

The 12 hounds who lined up for the hunt this week, included 9 licensed amateurs, one person who is currently studying to become an amateur, and two very enthusiastic youngsters. Great to see such a variety of people enjoying the sport of fox hunting.

Next week the hunt will start earlier at 6:30pm sharp, due the shorter daylight hours. This will probably be our 2nd last Thursday night foxhunt for the Summer season, so don’t miss it.

Meeting point is outside the Comms Lab 14 Wales St, Belconnen 6:20pm.

Next week VK1ET will be the fox. See you all then.

Laeli VK2LO The Fox

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