Murphy's Law

Submitted by k6vcr on Mon, 03/13/2023 - 13:59
Hunt Date
Hunt Story

Murphy’s Law

If anything can go wrong, it will.

What I intended to do was find a location with Line of Sight conditions at the surface.

Put up a balloon as a decoy with the transmitter on the ground under it.

The place I found on the map I didn’t have time to actually go to.  I had seen other examples where the map was out of date and didn’t show current development.

At the last minute, I selected Fairbrook Neighborhood Park just south of Pomerado Road off of Fairbrook Rd.  I had been to the park and seen that it would make a good hide.  It was just short of being LOS by only about 150 feet.  So a balloon at that end would make it.  Unfortunately, during setup, I ran out of helium as I was inflating the first balloon.  This was a potential disaster.  The SCADACore - RF Line of Sight tool I mentioned in another email indicated I did not have LOS from here to Grossmont.  With no balloon, the “Main T” would be at ground level.  The I had to quickly come up with plan “B”. Fortunately, I brought my 3 element yagi and the hitch mounted mast.  That would give me about 15 feet elevation.  The balloon it would have been more than 150.

I setup the new “Main T” using the FTX-400 in the car with the Yagi pointed at the crest of the hill to the south.  No time to test.  It was already 4:30 and I still had to hide the rest of the transmitters.  One was in a small ammo box at the base of a tree.  It was a PicCon controlled IC-W32A at low power.  Another was in the infamous “Black Pipe” from the “Under Water” hunt. It was attached to a tree support frame and contained a quawk Box (voice) transmitter.  I used a Micro Fox 15-S at the bridge over the creek.  It was on one side of the bridge and I put a large ammo box with a mag mounted antenna on the other side of the bridge.  It was decoy and not active.  Because I didn’t run a transmitter up with a balloon, I had a spare.  I hid it in the top of a trash can.  I failed to realize that doing this added another transmitter to the hunt.

At 4:50, I tested the Main T.  I started with 25 W.  Amazing, it worked!  Hunters were receiving loud and clear.  I can only assume propagation over the crest of the hill bent the signal down enough to be received.  I backed it off to only 5 W.  Still good.  The hunt started.

The Since It was still daylight when the hunters arrived, the balloon probably would have been obvious.  In the dark, it probably would have gone unnoticed.  My “Decoy Idea” was a fail.

I don’t know how to score this.  Since there were actually 5 transmitters and the hunters were told only 4, they stopped looking too early.  Eacteam found a different set of transmitters.  In the initial instructions, hunters were asked to take a picture of each transmitter as they were found.  For credit they needed to send me the picture as an attachment to a Text or email.  The time stamp on the picture or message would establish the actual order of the finds.  Perhaps I wasn’t clear.  There needs to be only one event per message.

So far, I haven’t received a full set of pictures from all teams. 

How I got the data. 

Regardless of the source, a text message or an email, it had a timestamp.   The problem is that if there are multiple pictures in the message, you may not be able to get a specific time for each picture.  Some pictures had a creation date and time imbedded in the file header.  If it was present, that is what I used.  Otherwise, multiple events will have the same time.

The bottom line is that nobody followed the instruction to send a picture message as you find each transmitter.  That would have time-tagged each event.  Most sent a single message with multiple pictures.  I was lucky to get as much time information as I did.  I think by the end of the hunt, everybody found all the transmitters.  I just have no hard data to say when.

Nearly everybody came almost directly to the Main T.  The 52 back to the 15.  North to Pomorado road.  Then east to Fairbrook and south to the park.  When someone missed a turn, they corrected quickly.   Everyone arrived within 15 minutes of the first.

Reporting with pictures:

Bill ZM sent an email at 9:24 AM Sunday morning with a picture timestamped 5:31 of the Xmtr at the tree base.

Greg BAF sent a message with 3 pictures Main, Tree Frame, and trash can.

Tom VCR sent a message with pictures of the main, tree frame, and tree base at 5:36.

Tim SP sent an email at 5:41 with a picture of the Xmtr at the bridge and the trash can.

Joe PHB sent a message with a picture time stamped 5:53 of the transmitter in the trash can.

It was just getting dark about 7:00 as we gathered up the hunters and equipment.  Dinner was at “On the Border” in Mira Mesa.  It was a short, fun hunt.  A good time was had by all.

Now everybody has a smart phone capable of taking pictures and sending them in messages as attachments.  We ought to adopt a procedure to use it in documenting a hunt.





1st Place
Bill ZM & Tim XP
2nd Place
Bill ORF
3rd Place
Greg RXX & Conrad JEI
4th Place
Joe SZO & Greg BAF
5th Place
Joe PHB & Tom VCR