Amateur Radio “Fox Hunting” is a fun activity for groups of amateurs around the world. The objective is to find the “fox”, a low-powered radio transmitter that has stashed away in a secret hiding place somewhere in York Region.
The hunters use directional antennas and other equipment to determine the location of the fox. This friendly competition to be the quickest at finding the fox’s transmitter earns bragging rights for the winner. All participants are generally able to find it within a couple of hours.
The foxhunting games are played for fun – and we do have fun – but they also polish our skills in the art and science of radio-direction finding. Using those skills we can identify the sources of radio interference, illegal transmissions, or or other problems affecting the airwaves.
If you are interested in joining us we can teach you what to do, and even lend you equipment to do it. The events are VERY relaxed, and it is strangely true that many of the winners of our games have been first-timers!
York Region Amateur Radio Club Annual Fox Hunts
The York Region Amateur Radio Club organizes two fox hunts each year.
The hunts are free and open to all amateurs regardless of club affiliation or previous experience.
The hunts run between 09h30 and 11h30, with foxes transmitting on 2 meter or 70 centimeter FM, and they are located within York Region.
If you’re new to foxhunting, all you need to get started is an FM radio capable of receiving 2 meters or 70 centimeters. Fox hunting is challenging and fun, and we can help you get going.
For more information, contact the club vice-president, Mike VE3BWV or John VE3IPS
Tips and Tricks
York Region has a lot of hills and valleys which can play havoc with signals as well as the Aurora ridge blocking signals as well. A past winner had an R6 Scanner radio with a tape measure beam, and the previous winner used a 4 element Quad through the sunroof on the Radio Van.
1. Attenuation is important as one nears the fox as well as getting a good bearing 2. Quads may be preferred to yagis due to the antenna lobe pattern to ensure a good bearing up front 3. A radio with a proper or expanded S-meter is highly useful….3 segment S meters are useless 4. Remember, to take two bearings before heading towards the beacon as you get closer.
Updates for Covid-19
During the pandemic we will follow the guidance of the local health authorities. If York Region is in Grey – Lockdown or Red – Control during the month of the event, then it will be delayed and will be re-evaluated the following month.
We will not organize pre or post event gatherings, registration, breakfasts, BBQs etc.
We will not organize teams. Individuals may form teams from within their own social bubble if desired. Fox hunting is a great family activity!
If multiple hunters reach a fox at the same time, they are required to observe standard COVID-19 protocols. Clear the area as soon as possible, maintain social distancing etc.
When I got licensed my first radio was the Icom IC-215 which I still have. It was a bookshelf radio – not a mobile and not a hand held radio per se.
It offered up 3 watts with a nice triple tuned front end to minimize pager intermod and could be run off 10 nicads. It came with these crystal pairs:
52/52, 34/94, 28/28 and 16/76
I could use:
TOR in Toronto, PBO in Peterborough, Hamilton, 2 repeaters in Rochester at the Rochester Hamfest
That was great for me as I had a local repeater, one up at the cottage, one on the way to Niagara Falls and of course a couple of USA ones to try to hilltop with when not at the Hamfest.
Eventually the Icom IC22 became the norm as a 10 watt mobile $249
There was no need for tome in those days. I tried my IC215 the other day on a Simplex test to reform old memories and it was a blast. I have the Kenwood TR7200 to bench test and set that up as well for old schooling on 2m.
I bought a brand new Yaesu FT-817 in 2004 and 1 week later I was a member of the blown finals club. Yaesu fixed it under warranty
I bought a brand new Icom 703 in 2003 and 1 month later I was a member of the blown finals club. Icom Canada did the mod and fixed the radio under warranty.
My Icom 746Pro got some kind of lightning or static hit and I lost the display driver, ALC issues and the finals were blown.
I blew the finals on my Yaesu FT-991 last year and it cost $300 to fix it.
Last night I had a stuck or hot microphone issue with my Yaesu FT-847 Satellite radio. I am still trying to understand what had happened but the previous week the radio was in Err mode and when I eventually unplugged the microphone the problem went away. I turned the radio on to monitor traffic on the local VE3TWR repeater and after some time of maybe 30 minutes I saw it was displaying the input frequency and it was stuck in transmit mode. I noticed the power level was 1 bar where it should have been 50 bars. So the 50 watt Power Amplifier wqs blown.
I put it on the bench this morning and sure enough the Bird 43 is showing the power to be very low on the 100 watt slug.
So another radio to add to my list of Blown Finals Club.
I apologize for the constant carrier on the repeater last night but it seems that the use of a Yaesu desk mic caused a problem out of my control. If I had the hand mic on it maybe the finals would still be A-OK so now I need to trace out the issue with the microphone. This mic has a Lock PTT button that may be defective causing the radio to transmit but on further investigation of the schematic the mic isnt as simple as it seems.