Our next FOX hunt will be Spring of 2023!
Enhance your skills while getting some exercise by joining our hidden transmitter (FOX) hunt.
Come and join us on April 13th as we build a 3-element tape measure antenna and learn the basics of Amateur Radio Directional Finding. The class starts at 7:00pm ET and will be at Roane State Community College in Huntsville.
Everyone is welcome to attend the workshop where you will have the opportunity to build your own antenna. Please see the above link and bring the necessary components with you to class. If you are unable to source the parts let us know and for the cost of the components, we will make a kit available to you. We will provide the necessary tools and soldering iron to help complete your project. This is an instructor led workshop and there are no skills required to attend. Please bring a hand-held 2-meter radio as after building your own antenna we will do a mini–FOX hunt to test out your antenna and get you started in the sport of amateur radio direction finding.
After a successful building event we will host a FOX hunt with another training session which will probably be in May. We encourage you to come out and hunt or at least come and watch us wander around a field!!
Fox Hunting or Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) is a sport known around the world. It uses tiny, and sometimes not so tiny, transmitters that send periodic messages that others look for using radio receivers and antennas. It’s like geocaching where you use latitude/longitude coordinates to look for treasure except that instead of a location you’re given a transmit frequency of the FOX. Then you use a radio and directional antenna to find the “treasure.”
ARDF transmitters (the ‘FOX’) have a low power output and operate in the 2-meter amateur radio band. The transmissions are in Morse code. Each transmitter sends a unique identification that can be easily interpreted even by those unfamiliar with the Morse code by counting the number of dits that follow a series of dashes or playing a little tune followed by the owner’s call sign in Morse code. The transmitters (or Fox) each transmit in sequence for one minute at a time in a repeating cycle.
The radio equipment used must be capable of receiving the signal being transmitted by FOX and useful for radio direction finding. This includes a radio receiver that can tune in the specific frequency of transmission being used for the event with a signal meter, an optional attenuator or variable gain control, and a directional antenna. Directional antennas are more sensitive to radio signals arriving from some directions than others. The most common directional antenna used by ‘hunters’ is three element Yagi antennas made from flexible steel tape. This kind of antenna has a cardioid receiving pattern, which means that it has one peak direction where the received signal will be the strongest, and a null direction, 180° from the peak, in which the received signal will be the weakest. Flexible steel tape enables the antenna elements to flex and not break when encountering vegetation in the forest.