Our 2005 May Hunt

Our contribution to National Foxhunting Weekend (or thereabouts) was held on 15 May 2005 at the beautiful University of Washington campus. Despite the foreboding weather, we had eight hunters show up, and the proverbial Good Time was had by all.

The weather reports had been getting increasingly dire as the day of the hunt approached. It was pouring down rain as we prepared to leave, breaking out the ziplocs for the radio equipment and laughing at those that asked if we hunt in the rain. But as we reached the campus, the rain slowed, then stopped altogether, never to return! We set up shop just outside Kane Hall in Red Square.

At 10:30 AM the hunters started trickling in. (See the participants page to see some mug shots.) The only hunters with experience were Dale and Aaron N7OE. Jake KE7DTE was a brand-new ham, having had his license for only 2 weeks; welcome Jake! Bob KE7DEN found out about the hunt from this web site (!) and showed up to see what was up. Kelly and Theresia were old friends that came out to check out that t-hunting thing that Art's always babbling on about.

Our "special guest", Dale WB6BYU, had come all the way from south of Portland, OR, with much interesting equipment. Dale is the ARDF coordinator of the IARU Region 2. (More information.) He began setting up his "International style" transmitters, which were cleverly tied to wooden stakes for convenient placing. Each transmitter had a duty cycle of 1 minute on, 4 minutes off, and broadcast CW signals of MOE, MOI, MOS, MOH and MO5 respectively. This allowed even no-code folks to determine which transmitter they were listening to at any given time simply by counting the "dits".

Art KF7GD hid most of the transmitters, three of them north of Suzzallo Library, and one just outside the Mary Gates cafeteria. The final transmitter was putting out a weak signal, so Dale hid it behind a small tree on the other side of Red Square from our starting point. It turned out to be a good introduction to the "newbies", as the area was wide open, and once you'd found it, it was clearly visible right from our starting bench.

The first order of business was "t-hunt school", teaching folks how the hunt worked and how to use the gear. Art had brought three tape-measure yagi rigs and VK3YNG's VHF Sniffer. Dale brought a collection of equipment picked up from his adventures in international hunting, including units from Chekoslavakia, Russia and Japan, as well as a Moxon beam of his own design and his own VK3YNG sniffer.

Preliminaries complete, the hunters set out at 11:20 AM. By now the weather was dry and warming, perfect for a stroll through campus. Heads turned as people saw the hunters in action, and we showed off the hunt equipment to several passers-by.

The VK3YNG was the favorite reciever. It was used by Bob with a yagi tape-measure beam, and by Theresia with a Moxon beam. They enjoyed how it automatically adjusted the attenuation level, making for hands-free use.

Dale, by far the most experienced hunter of the group, said that it was a challenging hunt because of all the reflections on the buildings. Even so, everyone found all five transmitters within 90 minutes. And the winner, taking only 58 minutes, was the new ham, Jake! Congratulations Jake!

After the hunt we all adjourned to Spud, Seattle's landmark fish 'n' chip joint, for some good food and to tell stories about the transmitter that got away. Dale regaled us with tales of his hunts, and everyone had a great time.

Art and Jamie