Thanks to Tony KE4WTR, The Area-Wide Transmitter Hunt continues--and is getting Stronger. Several months ago, Tony sponsored a Transmitter Hunt in Wilson County, Tn. with a whopping $100 prize. The winner of that hunt,KF4MCD Phil (aka Filbert the Fox) inherited the honor of being Fox for the next hunt. And OH what an outing it was! Armed with a $60 purse, 1st, 2nd, 3rd place trophies, and a hot grill loaded with the World Famous Glacier Dogs, Filbert and James KE4DFC organized this running of the T-Hunt in Williamson County. BLAST-OFF was scheduled for 14:00 Sunday, November 23 and was kicked off promptly with 3 teams of hunters. The starting bell was rung and Filberts voice was "loud and clear" on 147.405, the designated official hunt frequency for this event. Handi-Finders in hand, the teams took their initial readings, carefully noted the bearings, and were off for the hunt! Team "Black Bullet" with NY4T and KE4KGE led the pack out of the starting gate. Team "Catnip" with K1KY, KC5JXE and KD4YDD headed west. Team "Not-Real-Sure" with KF4GNV, KD4ZFU, KF4ULS, KF4UND, and quite possibly WB4KCG (unconfirmed driver) were left in the dust to be never heard from again.... at least for a long long while. Filbert simulated actual "QRM-ing" techniques by giving periodic transmissions every 5 minutes or so. Armed with a pocket scanner, 2 HT's, and a mobile rig, team Catnip continued heading west on Highway 96. On schedule, Filbert starts his yammering. We pull into an upscale neighborhood, the car is stopped and all three Catnippers, armed with all sorts of official radio garb instantly pour out and commence DFing. Apparently it was enough of a sight to garner some very interesting looks from the passer-by in their freshly polished Mercedes! Go West! Says captain KY and off we go again. Turning south on Highway 46 yields some interesting results as the signal was significantly weaker, until we turn around and suddenly the s-meter pegs! Remembering that RF doesn't travel well through tall mounds of rock and dirt, we turn west on Waddell Hollow Road at 14:18. Topping the hill with the Natchez Trace Parkway bridge in site, the fox scent was strong! Another quick stop and sweep with the Handi-Finders yields either a Southwest or Northeast heading. Looking at a small dead-end road to the left, captain KY thinks -- I bet he is down that road (Drury Lane) -- But NO! He is supposed to be in a public place, and there aren't any boat ramp or camping signs here. So off to the northeast we go. Back on Highway 96, we head east back to Highway 46 and turn north. A few more miles and the fox is weak weak weak. Go WEST! Captain KY yells, and points the mighty Catmobile around. AHA! The whole Natchez Trace is a Park! There are the signs, excitement is running high among the Catnippers, and the signal is returning to the nearly full-scale status that it was at the end of Drury Lane @ the bridge.

Afew more miles down the trace and our trusty fox is on the air once again with bone-crushing signal strength. Captain KY picks up the mic and alerts the Fox, that his moments were numbered and by equating fox anatomy to a lawn component. The Fox replies -- "Follow the Signal!" Rounding another turn, a nice juicy public parking area is spotted, with a lone pickup truck and a elevated 4-element beam affixed. I've got you now you sly fox", to which silence is returned. Team Catnip swiftly descends upon it's prey.... but WAIT! The vehicle is empty! We fell for the old empty truck with a beam on top decoy trick. This is a sly fox indeed! A quick search of the parking area comes up empty, but there is a peculiar congregation of brightly colored metal just across the way, in good view of the decoy. Theve pulled a fast one on us! Not to be deterred, the Catnippers pile back into the Catmobile, and head south to verify this sighting.

What's This? They're waving at us? Or is that laughter?? Captain KY knows exactly how to get back there, but that will take another 10-15 minutes.... What if the other teams were hot on the trail? What do the rules say? Nope nothing about the actual "search vehicle" present to collect the prize, so "Bail OUT" yells Captain KY! And with that, Scott, KD4YDD is already making tracks. Having confirmed the kill at 14:48, the Catmobile is easily navigated back to that spot under the bridge(the 14:23 indecision point), making the appropriate turn onto Drury Lane, and the remainder of the team joins up for a Glazier Dog feast at 15:00.

Having two tropies and many Glazier Dogs still in inventory, the fox continues his beckoning for the remaining participants. Time rolls on, Glazier Dog inventory still in good supply but dwindeling, darkness begins to fall and so does the temperature. Team Black Bullet seems to be homing in -- at 16:20, Gramma's Black Bullet is sighted approaching the decoy. "I see ya... Now all I got to do is figure out how to get to ya" breaks the silent squelch at Fox Central. Once again the fox is seen waving (or is that what your arms normally do while rolling around on the pavement Filbert?) at Team Black Bullet. Shortly before sundown, trophy #2 is bagged by Grama's Black Bullet Team -- sans Grandma.

Having yet another trophy and a new batch of Glazier Dogs on the grill, the fox continues begging to be found. Soon, funny touchtones are heard on the fox QRG. Stronger.. stronger, then weaker and weaker go the touchtones. It's Morse Code.... the Not-So-Sure Gang is signaling us for HELP! Sure enough, we hear that there one and only handi-finder has found its way where the sun don't shine.... Or at least so we are told. By now, the sun is setting on Hawaii, the temeratures are approaching single digits (or so it felt at the time) and the request for more clues is heard breaking the squelch at Fox Central. After getting his radio back on frequency (touchtones do funny things to those fansy new-fangled radios when the remote control function is activated) the fox gives more hints. An hour later, the third and final participant is paraded down Drury Lane with an escort to collect their trophy and some well prepared Glazier Dogs.

THE HUNT IS OVER! But not for long! Does that sound like major fun or what? You bet. Stay tuned for the kickoff of the 1998 season featuring Team Catnip as your fox. Many THANKS to KF4MCD, KE4DFC, past organizers and the participants for making this event a success...

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