Southern California Radio-Orienteering Practice

Rowland Heights, California -- August 1, 1998

Click for photos of this event

Despite temperatures in the 90's, everyone had a great time at the international-style foxhunting session in Schabarum Regional Park on Saturday, August 1. Eighteen persons took to the course, attempting to find six transmitters (called foxes or T's) on 146.565 MHz. Each one came on the air for 60 seconds at a time, one after another in numbered order.

This was an official training session for the USA's ARDF Team, which competed at the World Championships in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary during the first week in September 1998. Team Captain Dale Hunt WB6BYU of Yamhill, Oregon participated, as did Team Member Marvin Johnston KE6HTS and Team Trainer Dennis Schwendtner WB6OBB. Three other members of the US delegation to the championships were unable to attend.

Most hunters went out alone, but there were also a few pairs and trios. Teaming is not permitted in formal championships, but was allowed here because it is an excellent way to teach RDF techniques, especially to young people. WB6OBB was assisted by Extender Jay Hennigan WB6RDV. Dennis will not be allowed to officially compete in Hungary because IARU rules presently forbid assistance for blind persons on the course.

International championship hunts have five foxes and a time limit of 120 to 180 minutes, depending on the course length, as determined beforehand by the judges. Anyone who does not return to the start/finish line within this time limit is disqualified, no matter how many foxes he/she has found. For this session, however, there were six foxes and no time limit. Hunters could stay out longer, for extra practice. They had the option to seek all six foxes if they wished.

Here are the results of individuals/teams that found at least one fox.

Scott Bovitz N6MI           OT   1346  2:15:25   L-Per
Dale Hunt WB6BYU            OT   1346  2:17:45   VK4BRG
Marvin Johnston KE6HTS      OT   1346  3:41:12   L-Per
Scot Barth KA6UDZ           SR   1346  4:07:15   3 el yagi
Dennis Schwendtner WB6OBB   OT   346   2:08:46     ?
Glenn Allen KE6HPZ          SR   146   2:28:04   N6WZI
David Corsiglia WA6TWF      OT   36    2:23:00   L-Per
    with Darwin Homer KF6RHB and George Obregon
Dick Palmer WB6JDH          VT   1     2:27:00   N6WZI
Shawn Ewald                  ?   1     2:49:40   VK4BRG

*Competitors at IARU championship events in 1998 are divided into age/gender divisions as follows:

  SR     Seniors      Male     Any
  YL     Women        Female   Any
  JR     Juniors      Male     After 1/1/79
  OT     Old Timers   Male     Before 1/1/58
  VT     Veterans     Male     Before 1/1/43

About the T's

Transmitters were placed in accordance with standard guidelines for IARU foxhunts. None were buried or concealed inside a covered object. Punches were readily visible to sharp-eyed observers, either at ground level or eye level. All foxes were within the boundaries of the 9 X 12 inch topographical orienteering map carried by each hunter or team. The map included most of Schabarum Regional Park and part of the Powder Canyon Wilderness Area.

Wonder where the ones that you didn't find were? Here is a table showing location, bearing (degrees magnetic) from start point, distance from start (airline, in km), elevation of each T (in feet above sea level) and number of hunters that found it. The starting point elevation was 620 feet.

T  LOCATION                                  BRG   DIST   ELEV  #
1  Base of fence near horse stables          116   0.54   640   7
2  Base of fence at water tank               133   1.34   990   0
3  Chest-level on fence near NW boundary     351   0.87   480   6
4  In tree near eastern park boundary        040   0.76   560   6
5  In tree along fire road through thicket   139   1.88   840   0
6  In tree near northeast park gate          033   1.08   520   7

I heard some grumbling about changing power and/or moving antennas on foxes. But none of that was going on. In accordance to with IARU rules, all foxes ran the same power level (0.75 watts) into identical antennas (quarter-wavelength vertical whips). Regulators in the foxes kept the RF output power constant through the hunt, compensating for battery voltage sag. The only departures from Euro/Asian-based IARU rules were the use of FM instead of AM tones and vertical instead of horizontal polarization. This made it easier for hams that use RDF sets with dual switched vertical whips.

Nobody found all six foxes, but that's not as bad as it sounds. The goal was to have two easy ones, two intermediate, and two that were really difficult. T2 and T5 were easily accessible from trails, but they were near hilltops in the Powder Canyon Wilderness. The horse trails are long and the foot trails are steep. Getting to all six foxes and back in two hours would have required the speed and stamina of an experienced long-distance runner. Unfortunately, no marathoners showed up.

A no-mistakes circuit from start to each of the four lowland foxes (T1-T4-T6-T3) to the finish was about 4 kilometers, making maximum use of the horse and foot trails.

Thanks to all who came out, and special thanks to April Moell WA6OPS for help in organizing and putting on this event.

73 de Joe Moell KØOV

Map by Los Angeles Orienteering Club 1991. Reproduced for educational purposes only.

For more about the basics of international-style foxhunting, see International-Style Foxhunting Comes To The Americas at this Homing In site.

Suggestions for foxhunting gear are on the Equipment Ideas for Radio-Orienteering page at this site.

HOMING IN logo Surfing suggestion: Find out more about upcoming ARDF events at the Latest Championship Foxhunting News page of this site.

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This page updated 11 March 2005