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Author Topic: New twist to geocaching / fox hunting  (Read 39507 times)

Posts: 60


« on: March 23, 2012, 08:19:33 PM »

Just a random Idea, Geocaching is neat, but how to use in ham radio?
How about building low power transmitters, on low use bands 220/902/1296 That are set up for long duration beaconing say ID & Hint in Morse sent in CW once every minute or 2. Design it so that it can last for say a solid week. Create a website for them similar to the geocaching site, and post the information such as '250mW 2 Minute beacon located within a 2 mile radius of point 'A'  Maximum 1 week Hunt. Have the people that find the transmitter take a photo of it, and award Points for the 1st say 5 People that find it. Then when the 1st 5 or 10 or however many people find it, relocate it. It could become a year long competition. Then award winners with 'something' ?

I've never geocached, I would tho if I had a portable GPS, Same with fox hunting.. but as I know it fox hunting are very short duration events.

Thoughts? Ideas? Already been done?

-Steve Raas

Posts: 17477

« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 06:54:55 AM »

I have heard of folks setting a beacon out for a week at a time and announcing a
starting point.  That lets folks find it whenever convenient.  It certainly is something
that a club could do if there was enough interest.

But there is a trade-off between having enough folks in the area who are interested
in fox hunting vs. having unused frequencies where the transmitter wouldn't interfere
with other operations.  The more obscure the frequency band, the larger the general
ham population in the area required to have enough hams who are equipped to hunt

Posts: 585


« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 01:42:16 AM »

Garmin have beat us to it! Cheesy

There is a tiny little geocache device available, compatible wioth certain models of GPS receiver, that beacons a very low power ID and hint signal. The device/system is called 'chirp'. Im not sure the frequency it operates on, but i suspect its a bluetooth device. Its programmed by the cache owner, and those cachers with suitable receivers can use it to help lcoate the cache once within range, range is a few tens of meters i think.

However, although the beacon is cheap (about £20), it does require a fairly high end GPS receiver. Most of us dont have those yet. I myself am a geocacher (cache owner as well) and use a cheap 2nd hand Etrex H receiver.

BYUs concern about available frequencies is valid, especially with 80m beacons (which i use/find). But a geocache event (multiple caches and cachers together ona  day) combined with ARDF would be good. Perhaps widely spaced 80m beacons, taking you into the area of a number of geocaches?

You say youve never Geocached, nor foxhunted? Both are great fun. I would recommend you try geocaching, all you need to know can be found here and if you look up user 'Flyingcompass' then thats me! Buy yourself a 2nd hand GPS, the Garmin Etrex H is ideal and can be found very low cost. Im a keen walker and finding these has added a bit extra to my walks, and my son loves it.

After youve done that, get involved in a foxhunt! There normally a bit more energetic though!

Martin G7MRV


Posts: 17477

« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 09:07:07 AM »

Quote from: G7MRV

After you've done that, get involved in a foxhunt! There normally a bit more energetic though!

They needn't be, however.  We often practice with 5 transmitters (30mW on 2m) in an area
roughly 100m x 200m with multiple paths through it.  You can hunt at a leisurely pace and enjoy
the birds and fresh air.

Posts: 442

« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 03:04:44 PM »

This isn't a new idea but I would say relatively new.  I read an article (I think on ARRL) or maybe a link from this site about a group of boy scouts who did a combined GPS/ARDF event.  They were in teams and had to run a course comprised of GPS geocahes and frequency clues for ARDF.  If I recall properly, the course was about 4 miles long.  It appears the boys loved the challenge and had a really great time running through the woods.

Personally, I own a Garmin Oregon 450 and really like it for geogaching.  It will work in a vehicle but pretty much sucks for that application.  It was made for the trail.  I like geocaching a great deal and it is awesome exercise.  I am just now getting into ARDF and learning the ropes a built a tape measure yagi and modified it a bit mechanically to make it as light as possible.  I also made the offset attenuator found on ARDF websites.  I just bought a little Fox transmitter from Byonics and have played with it a bit.

I can see where the two activities combined could be really great exercise and fun.  I am going to present my limited experience and findings to our club and see if they are intereseted in doing a "make and take" on the tape measure yagi and then follow it up with a geoARDF hunt.

I also hope to do something similar with my middle school kiddos that I teach.

Have fun with it and go for it.   What have you got to lose but a few hours and a few bucks?

Posts: 7

« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 07:11:45 PM »

I would like to drift a bit. We started a few years ago what we coined "QRP in the Park". We pick a park, everyone shows up about 5 pm (sat or sun) and brings their QRP rigs with whatever antennas they have. 4 hour field days if you would. We do these about every 4 or 6 weeks. Lots of fun, no stress. Then, my buddy and I bought a bunch of the Byonics 15 milliwatt tx's. We hide these in the park, and hand out our DF equipment for others to use. This has swung several hams over to join us in the DF hunts. And then give the equipment to a 10 year old. They love it.

So enjoy the outdoors, have fun and spread the joys of DFing.

Tom K8TB

Posts: 17477

« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 12:38:22 PM »

I also have a set of the micro transmitters.  At the 10 to 30mW level it is practical
to use body shielding with a standard unmodified HT and get close enough to find
the transmitter if it isn't too well hidden:  that way you don't have to loan out your
DF gear for others to find it.

Before such things were available commercially I had a modified xtal HT in a paint
can that I set down that low.  I took it to the park for the local club picnics, and
all the kids had a great time looking for it (including some from neighboring picnics.)
Whoever found it first got to go hide it next - I think they ran close to 20 hunts
one day.

Posts: 22

« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2013, 08:09:51 AM »

I'm considering doing something similar here.  In the past we've set out dumb beacons that are on tx loops constantly, that would run for a week or more on a car battery.  Some people that are interested in tx hunting don't have the schedule to join a regular hunt.  Or only have an hour or two a day at the same time to spare, or don't like the pressure of competition.  This allows them to go out and hunt at their leisure, whenever they have time, even if only spending a little bit of time a day on it.

Now that I have remotely controllable foxes, I'm considering setting one out that can be turned on/off as needed.  At first I was just going to have them call for me when they wanted to play, but it occurred to me that there's no reason they couldn't just turn the fox on/off themselves.  Just because they can control it doesn't mean they have to know where it's at Wink
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