Friday, April 6, 2012

Tally Ho!!!

Thought for the day:  What's the name of the first electricity detective? Easy. Sherlock Ohms.

[THEME: Amateur radio]

Today, we're gonna consider yet another facet of amateur radio.

                    FOX HUNTING.

                                            And no, I'm not talking about THIS kind of fox


                                                                    Or THIS kind


                                                              But more like THIS kind 

That's right; the kind of fox I'm talking about is actually a low-powered transmitter. The transmitter is hidden, and the object is for the hunters to find it. As you might surmise, the methods used to track and find the transmitter are the same methods used to locate the black boxes from downed airplanes. Using handheld receivers and a variety of special antennas, hunters are able to pinpoint the source of the transmitted signal by capitalizing on their understanding of the Doppler effect. (The D post was on Doppler effect, and in the examples I provided there, the source of the signal was moving, while the receiver stood still. In a fox hunt, the transmitter is stationary, and the hunter moves. Same exact effect, though, because it's based on frequency changes based on a change in relative positions.)

Fox hunting can be a purely fun event on a local level, or it can be a high-level international competition. In 2002, the ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction Finding) World Championships were held in Georgia. Conducted over a two-day period, the competitors vied to find five hidden transmitters each day ... VHF (2 meters) the first day, and HF (80 M) the second. And I'm telling you, in spite of the challenges of the wooded hilly terrain of Pine Mountain, many of those competitors were flat-out running when they came out of the woods and headed for the finish line.

Um, no that isn't MY gold medal. I wasn't there to compete. I was only there in an "official" capacity because of my position as Georgia Section Manager, so I got to give a speech at their dinner, and then sit in the tent each day to watch the competitors come flying out of the woods to get their official completion time. What a fantastic experience! 

German 2M competitor at 2004 world championships in Czech republic

2004 Korean competitor, 80 M

So, ladies, if your amateur radio or orienteering fella tells you he's going fox hunting, don't worry about it ... as long as he's carrying an antenna out the door with him. If, on the other hand, he slaps cologne behind his ears, you might have a teensy bit of room for concern.


  1. F is also for flashlight and fields, which is where my brother Frank and I practiced Morse Code with friends (lots of Fs in that sentence!). Frank became WV6NOP back then --1960 I think-- and is now W6NOP in Nevada. I've been enjoying your very successful progress in the A-Z challenge and look forward to the rest of the alphabet!

  2. This is always a really fun event! What have you studied at university?

  3. You always come up with something interesting, no matter what topic you're covering.


  4. I much prefer this type of Fox Hunting, except for the running part! You always have the most fascinating stories! Julie

  5. I learn something every day. Today, thanks to you!

  6. Cool pics'. I'm so excited to be learning more about this. Thk you!

  7. I can feel the enjoyment you have for this hobby in your words. It sounds like great fun.

  8. Who knew amateur radio could be so physically demanding?

  9. This is very interesting. I had never heard of it. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

  10. Okay, I just had to groan at your opener up there: GROOOANNN! (Also, LOL!)

  11. In my whole life I've never heard of this before. And it sounds like Fun to me!

  12. Well I never! What a great event to take part in, even from the tent.

  13. Geo- Oh, how cool that your brother is a ham, too. So, I reckon most of this stuff I've been writing about is old-hat to you. Nonetheless, I appreciate you reading, and expect you to jump in here and correct me if I get something wrong!

    Effervescencia- Yes, it's a very fun event. It's been a lot of years since I was in school, but I was pre-med, and very heavy into the sciences. Ended up getting a job doing medical research, and never went on to med school. (And never regretted it, either.) Thank you for stopping by.

    Janie- Thanks! I appreciate you saying that. (whether ya mean it or not ...)

    Julie- Well, not everyone in the competition ran. There are a lot of different classes in the competition, and they're sorted by sex and age range. Some of the older women didn't exactly dawdle, but they didn't run, either. They didn't have to be faster than the young guys who were serious athletes; they only had to beat the other women in their class. I must say, though, some of the younger women would've given the men a run for their money.

    Cro- Cool! I love it!

    Skippy- Thank YOU! I'm thrilled you're finding this stuff interesting.

    Arleen- It really IS great fun.

    Delores- There's actually a lot of ways the hobby can be physically demanding, but I only have 26 letters to work with here!

    Sharkbytes- Wow! I'm impressed. Visiting ALL of the participating blogs this month is gonna be like a full-time job unto itself! Good luck with it, and thanks for making it to mine.

    Linda- Always happy to make you groan. (Um, that doesn't sound real good, does it?) Glad you could pull yourself away from your WIP to pay a visit. Hope the writing is going well.

    Laura- It IS fun. Some of the hunts are simple and straightforward, just to get participants comfortable with the whole direction-finding concept, but the more advanced ones are verrrry tricky.

    Carrie- Uh-huh, we barely broke a sweat in the tent.

  14. Oh my goodness you learn something new everyday! I'd never heard of that before!

  15. Well, now somehow I had not guessed you would be interesting in hunting for that kind of fox. I reckon it just kind of hunkers down and sends out signals, eh? That is a new one on me. Thanks for the very interesting discourse on fox hunting. Ruby

  16. You are so very interesting...this is awesome. How does one get into ham radio?

    Thank you for visiting my prayers for your friend Gale and for you.

  17. Grammy- I'd much rather hunt this kind of fox than the kind with teeth! Thanks for stopping by; it's great to hear from you again.

    Jaimee- Thanks. I appreciate it. One gets into ham radio by passing a test and earning a license from the FCC. (And then one has a LOT of fun!)

  18. 'And I'm telling you, in spite of the challenges of the wooded hilly terrain of Pine Mountain, many of those competitors were flat-out running when they came out of the woods and headed for the finish line.'

    Love it. Great pics of the competitors, too.

  19. This reminds of the joke that tells ladies beware if your husband says he is going DEAR hunting he maybe talking about DEAR hunting. So now I know about Fox hunting. Thanks.

  20. Suze- Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

    Debra- Yep. Deer/dear hunting works just the same.

  21. How does Dopler figure in if the fox isn't moving? Sort of like geocashing.
    Anyhow... I miss Pine Mountain. Lived in LaGrange and the Pine Mountain area for about ten years.

  22. Susan,

    Love your explanations! can't wait to read more. :)


  23. Nr. C- Doppler figures in because the hunter is moving. It doesn't matter which one is stationery and which one is moving, because the effect is based on the change in their relative positions. So, if you lived in Pine Mountain you probably know what I'm talking about with the terrain. The competition was held at a park there, but right off my head, I can't think of the name of it. We made a side trip to the Little White House while we were in that area, too.

    MOV- Great! Glad ya liked it.

  24. This looks like lots of fun, treasure hunting for radio heads :-)

  25. Hey Susan,
    You can relax. Yes, it's me, Finally showing up with one of my highly sought after comments.
    Nice to see you having so much fun with the alphabet challenge. For some strange reason, the creator of this gosh darn, golly gee whiz n'stuff, challenge has decided and I quote from good ol' Lee, "You have been appointed as the official anti-A to Z spokesman." Well, not really, I wish you and all those involved, much fun and fulfilment :)
    And, what with it being Easter, I've put on my 'rabbit ears' antenna. Now where did I leave my cologne?
    Take good care Susan and have a peaceful, positive Easter,
    In kindness, Gary

  26. Cogito ergo sum. Happy A-Z challenge and remember don't forget to become one with the rock.

  27. Sarah- Yeah, kinda. And it IS fun.

    Gary- Nah, you're not an anti. Not really. And you have a wonderful Easter, too.

    Spaceguy- I'd rather become one with the chocolate.

  28. Hi Susan .. if he's running out of the door with cologne behind his ears .. I'd have a different fox to chase - thankfully I have no worries there.

    Saw three foxes here yesterday though ..

    And a fox hunt makes it different from an Easter Egg one .. probably deserve your dinner after that - with the eggs probably not so hungry ..

    Cheers Hilary

  29. Wow. Having a biology background and so heavy into engineering stuff! You must've rocked the sciences :)

  30. Hilary- How neat that you saw the "real deal" foxes yesterday. Only places I've ever seen them before are in zoos and animal sanctuaries.

    Effervescencia- Dunno if I rocked 'em, but I certainly enjoyed them.