Peter GM4DTH and John GM8OTI report:
This year's DF Hunt was affected by the weather. The previous two days the conditions were decidedly unfavourable for outdoor activities with stormy conditions dominating. The day of the DF Hunt dawned and there was a remarkable lull in the bad weather. The decision was made to scale down the event and to restrict the search area and speed up the hunt. The silence periods were also shortened to reduce the time taken. The Fox station GM3HAM/P was located on the south side of Blackford Hill overlooking the Hermitage of Braid (NT256705). This was a line of sight to the start. The aerial was a short wire about 15 feet long at ground level fed against a 40 foot counterpoise. The start time was 19:30.
The first Fox transmission was heard by the hunters outside the Braid Hills Hotel, not a strong signal but enough to track. Brian GM8BJF retired back to the shack for some rapid maintenance (dead battery!) and the rest set off in different directions. It eventually turned out that the Fox was approached from three different directions by the hunters! - so it was not as easy as it looked.
The first to find the Fox was Brian GM4DIJ followed fourteen minutes later by John GM8OTI; a further thirteen minutes had elapsed when Brian GM8BJF arrived. It took a further forty-five minutes before the final group arrived consisting of Mike GM8KCS, Mike MM3MDB and Melvyn GM4HYR.
21:11 GM8KCS MM3MDB GM4HYR
There was a reduced turnout this year as some of the competitors were unavailable. It was suggested that a second full scale hunt could be held in good weather at a weekend in the summer.
Photos by John GM8OTI and Peter GM4DTH:
Peter GM4DTH operated the Fox station GM3HAM/P from a location on the south side of Blackford Hill.
The GM3HAM/P Fox station in Peter's rucksack. If you look carefully you can see the antenna wire (brown) and the counterpoise wire (black).
Melvyn GM4HYR and Mike GM88KCS taking their first bearings on the Fox station from outside the Braid Hills Hotel.
Mike GM8KCS (OM) & Mike Jr. MM3MDB (son) at the start.
Brian GM8BJF had difficulty in hearing the fox initially due to a flat battery and had to make a quick trip home for a fresh one!
Brian GM4DIJ and Melvyn GM4HYR at the start.
John GM8OTI's ferrite rod antenna (thrown together the day before the event) attached to a Yaesu FT-817.
Note also the compass and SOTA tee-shirt at the top.
Receiver of Brian GM4DIJ. Looks like it has survived many previous DF Hunts!
Brian GM8BJF (with fresh battery in his Rx) scrambling over the rocks towards the elusive Fox station.
Melvyn GM4HYR nearly there!
Mike GM8KCS nearing the Fox station.
The first three seekers to find the Fox station were (L-R) Brian GM4DIJ, John GM8OTI & Brian GM8BJF.