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T-Hunting Stories

The Lunch Bunch T-Hunt Results


The Hunt

The very first Lunch Bunch T Hunt took place during the week of Feb 27, 1995. This was a new sytle of hunt for some of the active Orange County, CA T hunters. The transmitter was programmed to transmit for 2 minutes, from 12:05 until 12:07 pm each day. There were 3 to 5 hunters taking bearings each day, before getting together for lunch (with the tight-lipped hunter) to collaborate information and to choose the next day's starting locations. The boundries were about a 30 square mile area centered around John Wanye Airport. The goal was to find the transmitter by Friday's lunch, and the T was found one day ahead of schedule, not bad for such a LOW duty-cycle hunt.

The Transmitter

The transmitter consisted of a Kenwood TH78A, a RaCon 6805 radio controller, and a 12V 10ah gel-cell battery. It was all enclosed in a ammunition can, modified to be locked shut and chained up. The fox box also had a BNC feedthru connector and a home-made 1/4 wave spike made from very thin steel piano wire. The RaCon was programmed to run at a 66% duty cycle, running a voice ID, some tones, and a morse code ID. The on time lasted 10 seconds, followed by a 5 second off time. The Kenwood was programmed to turn itself on using the built-in clock at 12:05 and then turn itself off two minutes later. If the radio is powered on wile the PTT is active (the radio and the RaCon were not syncronized), the radio would wait until the PTT was released and re-applied before transmitting. Therefore, on average, the T was only on the air about 70 seconds per day. The box was chained to a fence among large swampy brush. and buried under grass and twigs.

The Map

Here are the bearings, plotted each day by color. After Monday (red), with three bearings, all crossing just north of the 405 Freeway at Von Karman, the hunters decided to surround the intersection of Main and Von Karman. On Tuesday (green), the bearings were not as much in agreement, but they did move the hunters to center Jamboree and the 405, about 1/2 mile away in roughly the proper direction. On Wednesday (blue) bearings were scattered again, but one hunter was very confident in his bearing, and since he had a full scale reading with 40db of attenuation, all hunters decided to cover Carlson. On Thursday (not plotted), all bearings pointed at the T. One hunter was Doppler equiped, and was able to find the T, which was about 20 feet from the road, just as that day's transmissions ended.

The Lesson

Well, we learned a few things:
All in all, it was a lot of fun. Thanks to N6ZAV, KO6KC, KD6IFZ, KN6UX, and KM6BT for participating. We would love to hear more about low duty cycle or any other T hunts.
73 de KD6BCH
This page by Byon Garrabrant N6BG byon@mail.com 12/24/97