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Transmitter Hunting in the San Francisco Bay Area
Pack-A-Lunch Hunt
May 18, 2002

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Story by: Jim-KD6DX
Photographs by: Jim-KD6DX
Resized and edited with Thumbs-Plus 5.01
& Photo Shop 7.0
From 2560x1920 to 800x600 and highly compressed (50%).
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Last updated: Sunday, June 02, 2002

THE FOXES
Henry KF6PCEBill KF6QGK
Henry-KF6PCE, Bill-KF6QGK, Joan-KF6QGJ, Susan

PARTICIPATING HUNTERS
Jim KD6DX
Ron N7TVE the Fox.


Jim-KD6DX, Rich-KN6FW, Chris-KF6VFU
Ron-N7TVE, Chantel
Paul Shinn, Dave-KG6ACD

 

Participants

Foxes: Don-KD6IRE, Linda-KE6BEO, Jim-KB6VF, Bruce-WD6TED, Sara-KC6TPY

TEAMS (10)

Mileage

Arrival

Place

Jim-KD6DX and Kathleen-N6DOB 114.2 1:38 PM 1st
Rich-KN6FW and Chris-KF6VFU 125 3:33 PM 1st 10% Rule
Ron-N7TVE and Chantel 180 3:55 PM 2nd
Paul Shinn Started from Stockton 1:20 PM  
Dave-KG6ACD Started from Stockton 2:05 PM  

 

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Overall map of hunt
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Close-in map of Fox
Pack-A-Lunch transmitter hunts like the one this weekend are becoming very educational. Direction finding in the mountains is quite different from flat land hunting and practice in these here mountains have improved my hunting skills.

As a comparison, on the April 20th hunt, I drove 110-miles for 5 hours, when the shortest route should have been 20-miles and only 40-minutes. This hunt, I drove 114-miles for 3 1/2 hours, pretty close to the shortest route of 106-miles for 2 1/2 hours.

This hunt started from the Altamont Pass summit. Henry-KF6PCE's fox transmitter was full signal strength at the start point, full scale off the hill, full scale in the valley and full scale in the mountains. I think it's safe to say, it was full scale along the whole trip.

Henry also set up a small 1-watt transmitter at his camp site, to let us hunters know when we were close to him. This, U-R-In the neighborhood, transmitter really helped. As the small transmitter approached full scale on my mobile radio, I started looking for a side street (off the main highway) and followed my Doppler towards Omo Ranch Road. I also switched my Doppler's receiver to the low powered transmitter, which reduced the amount of reflections I had been seeing from the main fox transmitter.

EQUIPMENT I USED:
1) SuperDF: To obtain my initial bearing of 47* and my other 4 bearing along the way.
2) AHHA MicroFinder Doppler: Using "Digital Filtering" my Doppler pointed 'Rock' solid, at the fox transmitter. Driving in the mountains was a different story, then it pointed at all and any reflections.
3) Garmin StreetPilot-III: This street and trail level GPS mapping system.
4) Small (8-1/2 x 11) laminated topo map of the Jackson area, compass, protractor and felt-tip pen. I plotted my bearings and got an general idea of where the transmitter might be located.
5) Icom IC-R3, U-R-Here radio. An invaluable little receiver for direction finding. With it's graphic (historical) display of the fox transmitters signal strength and it's 4 built-in attenuators, I was able to drive for miles, knowing the fox was further out. As I got to within 2 to 3 miles of the main fox transmitter, my IC-R3 on attenuation #4 began to receive. As I drove up Omo Ranch Rd and got within 1 1/2 miles of the main fox, the IC-R3 went full scale. Switching the IC-R3 to the low powered fox channel, the R3 when full scale when I was 350 feet from the low powered fox.
6) Mobile radio, Standard C5900DA. I use this tri-bander to listen to both fox frequencies and talk on the communications channel all at the same time.

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Start point with Rich
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Long boring roads
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Located fox in 114 miles
 
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Transmitter & Amplifier
 
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Low powered fox
1 watt
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Conclusion:
1) Have a map of the area your hunting.
2) Take multiple bearings before you get into the mountains.
3) Listen, at all times, to all the Fox Frequencies.
4) Icom IC-R3, as a U-R-Here radio is priceless.
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Special thanks to Henry-KF6PCE, Bill-KF6QGK, Joan-KF6QGJ and Susan, for putting on this transmitter hunt.

I understand Henry and crew setup camp at 8:00 AM to provide us hunters with a challenging transmitter to hunt this weekend.

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See you at next Fremont hunt, June 1, 2002.

Jim Sakane (KD6DX)
[email protected]

 
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