Fox Hunt Proposal

from Aurora, KN4VXB

Fellow Hams,

I mentioned this idea to at the Zoom OCRA meeting today, but I don’t think it got broadcast on the repeater, and I wanted to share the idea with the larger group:

Like many, I was sad that field day won’t be happening as usual, and I was trying to think of a group activity that could be done while maintaining social distancing. As preparation for eventual recovery of my own high altitude balloons, I would like to improve my skills at finding hidden APRS trackers.

The logical combination of these two ideas is a Fox Hunt! For those who don’t know, a fox hunt is a scavenger hunt for hidden radio transmitters.

I am happy to be the organizer for this event, but as I am am new to this, I would like an experienced advisors (or two) who would be willing to assist. I recently ordered a small APRS transmitter that I am willing to let the group use for the event, if needed. I have a few questions:

1. Would you be interested in participating in a club fox hunt?
2. Have you done so before? If so, what did you like/not like about what you did before?
3. Do you have equipment we could use for the event, such as APRS transmitters or extra antennas/HTs for folks who don’t have them?
4. Should we have prizes or simply bragging rights? If prizes, how should that work?
5. Would you be willing to help me organize?
6. Do you think late July or early August would be a reasonable time to do this? (I’m starting grad school in mid-August, so if I’m organizing, I’d like to have this done before then.)

Thanks in advance for feedback and ideas!

05/13/20 Update:
Thanks everyone who gave me feedback on my idea!  Based on feedback I’ve gotten so far I’d like to amend my original proposal in a few ways.  I propose we have TWO events over the course of a day or weekend:

  • Event 1: An early- to mid-morning (before it gets too hot) on-foot search for transmitters at a park or large private property.  From the feedback I got, a 2-m transmitter that sends out a string of Morse code would be better than an APRS transmitter, as I originally proposed.  I think this may be fun to do in teams of 3-4 people to make it more social.  Maybe one experience person and 2-3 newbies per team?  Perhaps a capture-the-flag type event where each team hides transmitters that the other teams have to find?  For public health reasons, team members that are not from the same family must stay more than 2 m apart, which should be easy to do.
  • Event 2:  A late morning thru afternoon fox hunt in vehicles to find a hidden person transmitting from an undisclosed location.  The ideal fox would place themselves in an unlikely place where they can work the repeater, but not be heard on the input.  For 50 minutes out of every hours, the “fox” must answer questions when asked by repeater users on the club repeater.  Since this activity can be done in air conditioned vehicles, this event will allow folks who don’t want to slog through the woods or be out in the heat to participate.
If this sounds ok, I will work on putting together a more fleshed out description of events for the group to review and an online survey to figure out who is interested in doing what.  I will plan to only organize events that people actually want to do, and are willing to help out with preparations for.