reflections in the valley

Submitted by k6vcr on Thu, 07/21/2022 - 15:24
Hunt Date
Hunt Story

The Saturday Night hunt was designed to take advantage of the signal reflections that are typical of the Mission Valley region, and, in my experience, is particularly intense around the San Diego State University/ College Ave corridor.  To be certain that all hunters had plenty of signal, I placed four transmitters in separate locations within a radius of 0.5 miles with a power level of five watts each.  Each transmitter was located in a car accessable or short sniff distance from the nearest available asphalt approach.  To keep the hunt as low stress as possible, the transmissions were timed to not overlap.  Because of the separation between transmitter locations, I was not able to monitor hunt activity and therefore relied on sign in sheets to document times of the teams to aid in determining overall hunt winner.

After performing test transmissions and providing instructions to the five hunt teams, all the transmitters came on-line as programmed at 5:00 PM.  However, approximately 20 minutes into the hunt, transmitter #3 mysteriously went silent.  After making the on-air announcement of the failure of the transmitter that no one had found yet, the hunt proceeded.

As anticipated, and reported by the arriving hunt teams, the reflections played a big part in the challenge of evening's hunt.  That was particularly evident as four of the hunt teams, at different times, appeared and loitered in the student parking lot just below the transmitter #1 location on 55th street above.  The combination of strong reflections, plenty of third harmonic,  and no clear indication of an elevated bearing to the transmitter from that parking lot, caused teams to proceed slowly from that point. 

It is no surprise that a hunt of this type, i.e. multiple tx's requiring multiple vehicle hunt sessions, resulted in a variety of hunt successes.

Three teams found the 3 functioning Tx's before the end of the hunt.  Joe SZO/Greg BAF completed the hunt first with an overall time of 1:02.  Gregg RXX placed second with overall time of 1:35.  Bill ZM/Bill ORF completed the hunt at an elapsed time of 1:45.

While Mark MHO found only Tx #4, he was dealing with a new suite of hardware and no navigator services.  Considering the presence of strong reflections in the area, that was par for the course.

I was having difficulty APRS tracking a few of the teams during the hunt, but managed to watch the progress of Tom VCR/Bruce AUW.  They recorded the most mileage of any of the teams that evening owing to what I believe was a serious case of collecting misleading bearings for a good part of the hunt.  They reported "no joy" merely a hundred yards from Tx #1.

The hunters adjourned to Venice Pizza House for dinner and to snap the traditional group picture.  I had a great time hosting the hunt and hope the hunters did the same.

Joe PHB 

PS> Thanks to SZO for supplying several great pictures of the hunt.

1st Place
2nd Place
3rd Place
4th Place
5th Place