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Fox hunt demo hopes to attract would-be ham radio enthusiasts

March 04, 2015
Members of the Tri-County Amateur Radio Club will give a fox hunting demonstration on Saturday morning at the Harrison County Community Foundation building in Corydon.

Fox hunting — named after the sport where persons on horseback, with the aid of dogs, track down foxes — is the use of signal triangulation to locate a radio transmitter, and is popular among many ham radio enthusiasts.

Hoping to get others excited about the world of amateur radio, Chris Bean and Don Bullock of the Tri-County Amateur Radio Club, which includes Crawford, Harrison and Orange counties, decided to host the demonstration.

Besides being a fun activity, where members of the amateur radio community can practice their skills locking in on a radio signal and finding the location of its origin, fox hunting, like ham radio communication itself, can have a practical application.

For instance, signal triangulation can be used to find rogue radio operators (those operating without an FCC license or against the rules) or even to help locate a missing person or a downed aircraft.

"To me, it's more about emergency service," Bullock, a veteran fox hunter, said.

He added that he even has assisted police in searching for a person who was jamming their radios prior to them switching to digital communications.

"There's many applications of this technology that benefit society that we just don't think of," said Bean, who, despite being involved with amateur radios for years, just started fox hunting last summer.

The Tri-County Amateur Radio Club, with the assistance of Bullock, who had moved to Southern Indiana from Kentucky, included fox hunting exercises as part of its public field day at Sycamore Springs Park near English.

Bullock, who previously belonged to a ham radio club in Cincinnati, said signal triangulation can be incorporated into other hobbies, such as geocaching, where enthusiasts hide and search for containers with items inside.

In addition to the general public, area Boy Scouts have been invited to Saturday's demonstration. Not only could the event assist them in earning their communications patch, but it may help some of them develop a passion for technology

"That might interest a couple of them into learning electronics as a career," Bullock said, adding, "There's a lot of jobs in the industry of what ham radio does."

Fox hunts are also an easy way for people of all ages to get involved in ham radio.

"You don't have to be an amateur radio operator (which requires an FCC license) to do a fox hunt, because you're just receiving," Bean said.

While Saturday's gathering will provide a demonstration of what fox hunting is, including the equipment needed, a full hunt won't be conducted until either April or May. That way persons who are interested can either build or purchase their own antenna and participate in the exercise.

"We'd like to build the skill-set up again," Bean said of amateur radio operation, in general.

While he and Bullock hope to see the Tri-County Amateur Radio Club, which currently has about a dozen members, grow, they also want to see more people using the available radio frequencies, as the FCC has taken a use-them-or-lose-them stance.

To further increase interest, Bean said the Tri-County Amateur Radio Club may partner with the Louisville Astronomical Society, which has an observatory near Curby, for an all-day event later this year.

"Astronomy and amateur radio fall in well together," he said.

The event would include ham radio activities during the day and astronomy once the sun sets, Bean said.

Saturday's demonstration will begin at 9 a.m. Following the information session on fox hunting, participants will be asked to help test Harrison County's weather sirens.

With the spring storm season almost here and amateur radios having played a key part in disaster recovery when traditional forms of communication have been down, Bean thought it would be a good exercise.

Participants will be sent to the locations of the various sirens and then report if they sounded during the test.

The HCCF building is located at 1523 Foundation Way, near the YMCA of Harrison County.

For more information about the Tri-County Amateur Radio Club or the fox hunt demonstration, including videos, visit the club's website at www.KC9OLF.com.

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    thank you
    March 09, 2015 | 12:18 AM

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate.

    Donald Bullock
Schuler Bauer
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