Del Norte Amateur Radio Club - W6HY

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The Fox Hunt Is On!

RDF -radio direction finding- hunts are a popular ham club activity across the country.   Fox Hunts work better with groups, so if you get some ideas you think would be fun for us, bring them forward. I hope this turns into a nice summer event that covers Curry and Del Norte counties.
This is our first attempt and every single person is a beginner including myself. If you have an antenna bring it, if you don't, we'll group up. If we only get one antenna, we all go together. Remember this is a learning process and these are the baby steps to bigger more exciting hunts.
A few tips:

Radio signals can overwhelm your antenna. The signals see strong from all directions so you need to attenuate or knock down the signals.

-Bring a map and draw lines where you think the signal is coming from. Intersecting lines increase the odds of that being the transmitter location. This comes in handy if there are no roads or paths that directly go to your source or the signal directions change. -Try listening off frequency to cut or attenuate the signal. This works very well if you are near the source. Take your handheld and listen on a frequency up or down from the hunt frequency. -Signals are polarized. In the future we won't tell you, but tonight we will be transmitting using vertical antennas. Try turning the elements of your receiver antenna 90 degrees. You should see a gain or a drop in signal strength as you match the polarization of the transmitter. This is a pretty handy technique. If you are close in and signal seems strong from all directions, then use the polarization that cuts the signal. If you are far away and don't hear anything, use the polarization that boosts the signal. -Signals bounce off of everything and can appear to come from more than one direction. Worse yet a signal bouncing off a vertical or horizontal surface can change polarization. The bounced signal can appear stronger than the original.  Don't be surprised if you follow a signal in one direction and then it changes. This is part of the skills we need to build. -When very close, the signal can bypass the antenna and just enter the radio. Unhook the antenna and listen. If you can hear the signal, you are close.  Place your receiver against your body and use your body to block the signal. Slowly turn around, When the signal is strongest it will be in front of you.  
The hunts are fun, but also build a valuable skill. It's not uncommon for a microphone to get caught in the seat of your car with the PTT pushed in and transmitting harmful interference without you knowing it. We can track down those signals if needed.  (It happened on the 88 repeater earlier this year. The signal stopped right as Gideon and myself were getting out our antennas to track it down}. Also you never know when you might be asked to help find a missing hiker or downed plane. RDF plays a big role in Search and Rescue.
Again, since this is the first time for everyone, just come out, participate or just watch, have fun and help us learn this skill. Next time we'll make it a little harder.

News & Events

  • Every Thursday EveningProject Night will return, soon! With scheduling conflicts and location issues resolving, we should be ready to roll with new ideas and license upgrades sometime this year, 2016. Stay tuned... 

Amateur Radio... a proud history

Nobody knows when Amateur Radio operators were first called "hams," but we do know that Amateur Radio is as old as the history of radio itself. Not long after Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian experimenter, transmitted the Morse Code letter "s" from Newfoundland to England in 1901, amateur experimenters throughout the world were trying out the capabilities of the first "spark gap" transmitters. In 1912 Congress passed the first laws regulating radio transmissions in the U.S. By 1914, Amateur experimenters were communicating nation-wide, and setting up a system to relay messages from coast to coast (whence the name American Radio Relay League). In 1927, the FCC was created by Congress and specific frequencies were assigned for various uses, including ham bands.

Contact Us

Del Norte Amateur Radio Club - W6HY
1672 Northcrest Dr.
Crescent City, CA 95531
United States
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