My Favorite Hidden Transmitter

The Infamous Rotating Transmitter

Albuquerque, NM


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I spent several months refining this devious device. Not to mention several weeks of riding around the Albuquerque area looking for just the right place to hide.

Brett Coningham/AB5P SK was one of the pioneers of T-Hunting in Albuquerque. Here is a quote from him concerning the Hunters perspective of the Rotating Transmitter.

"A Rotating Antenna

Much credit must be given to one person who got Albuquerque Radio Amateurs interested in transmitter hunting, after a long, dry period with no activity. I met Kevin Kelly (N6QAB) at the local Duke City Hamfest, in 1989. His obvious enthusiasm for "T-hunting" was infectious, and to make a long story short, soon hunts were being held on a regular basis. I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to say: Thanks, Kevin! This short story relates how Kevin cooked up "something special" for us on one of his hunts. We had been having these hunts for a while, and well, after a successful hunt or three, every hunter gets to feeling pretty confident that he/she can find just about ANY transmitter the hider sets out. On one particular hunt, though, Kevin brought out a project he'd been secretly working on, that brought us all back down to earth. It was a rotating antenna. Now, one of the challenges of making an antenna that rotates is how to connect the antenna to the transmitter in such a way that the cable between the two doesn't get wound up and bring the whole thing to a halt. It was Kevin's solution to this problem that was inspired: he mounted the transmitter, controller, and batteries on the antenna mast, and rotated the whole thing! The event was another night-hunt, and Kevin had configured the transmitter for a 15-second on-cycle, and a 30-second off-cycle. The antenna was rotating at about eight RPM, and the signal not only swept the Rio Grande Valley, it also swept across the length of the Sandia Mountains, known by now for being able to reflect signals with sinister ease. At the start-point, when the signal came on, the effect was totally unexpected. You just could not get a steady signal to take a good bearing on! You have to experience this effect, to really appreciate it, but "normally" you can just aim your antenna at the point where the signal is strongest. You judge the strength of the signal by watching either a signal-strength meter on your radio (if it has one) or an LCD Bar-graph indicator (if it has one), as you turn your search-antenna. In this case, however, the signal not only kept changing in strength, but the direction it was strongest from also kept changing! To add to the spirit of this hunt, Kevin set the transmitter a hundred yards east of a local Dairy, from which the prevailing breezes carried the distinct aroma of hundreds of cows dutifully processing hay. It was a memorable hunt, to be sure."

Brett was a great guy and is missed greatly....

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This page updated on 03/25/01