54th Annual SERG Convention Results
|The 2018 Convention was held on Saturday June 9th and Sunday June 10th of the Queen’s Birthday Weekend and by all reports it was a success.
Australian Fox Hunting Championships
The weekend competition commenced at 10:00am on the Saturday morning. The first event was a 10 transmitter Fox-or hunt in the Valley Lakes area of the Blue Lake Precinct in Mount Gambier. The competitors had 90minutes to find as many of the 10 Fox-Or transmitters transmitting on frequencies between 144.00MHz up to 145.750Mhz. This hunt covers a wide area and the organizers can be a little devious when hiding the transmitters. The weather was kind. A fog had settled in the lakes area but with no cloud the sun soon burned it off. It was cool but little breeze and with the sun out all morning it was quite a nice day.
This year thanks to Bruce VK3TJN electronic scoring in the form of Sport-Ident was used. Bruce had arrange for spare SI sticks and control stations for the weekend. We are very grateful for Bruce for providing the system. The ticket system from previous years was not used. The electronic scoring made things a lot easier in that tickets didn’t have to be sorted and checked. It also mean’t less issues with tickets at the Foxors. The one drawback that a few competitors mentioned was they couldn’t check their tickets to see which ones they had.
Each competitor must locate the Fox-Or and “punch” their SI stick into the control station. Once they return to the finish line the details are downloaded from the SI stick to determin which FoxOr they found and at what time. From that information the order they found it compared to the rest of the competitors can be determined.. The scoring is weighted to encourage people to find as many as they can, being first back doesn’t not guarantee first place, although generally you will have got good placings on all the transmitters to do this anyway.
A total of 9 teams competed over the weekend, 7 from VK3, VK3BLN, VK3OW, VK3BQZ, VK3FOX, VK3FAST, VK3MD, VK3TJN and 2 from VK5, VK5TV and VK5FAB.
First event results (above)
So depending on the number of competitors each transmitter you find is worth bonus points. For this number of competitors each transmitter is worth 240 points plus the points you get for position.
The position points start at the number of competitors for 1st place and decrease by one as you go down.
Event 2 was an “ARDF” style event for the road. Competitors have to find 4 transmitters and get back to the start point within 2 hours. Each transmitter transmits a morse code Ident on the same frequency, 146.525MHz.
Transmitter 1 transmits for 30 seconds, followed by Transmitter 2 for 30 seconds and the other transmitters follow on filling the 2 minute cycle. There is always a transmission on the frequency all the time. Due to the controllers used there is a little bit of drift in the timing causing the occasional overlap but not sufficient to create problems. Unfortunately this year we had a controller fail on start. This mean’t there were only three foxes to find. At least it happened from the very start so that all teams had the same opportunities. This contributed to the quicker times.
This event provides a different challenge to the normal road event and some of the teams are looking at different strategies to successfully compete in this event. We have been running this event for a few years now, the times are dropping for some teams which means they have got the equipment and the methods working for them, others still have some work to do.
Competitors depart at 2 minute intervals so there is no playing follow the leader.
Each transmitter has some information that needs to be recorded and brought to the finish line as proof of finding the transmitter. This year the information had a theme of women in space and computing, just researching the names was educational. Three of the names came from the movie Hidden Figures, the last was a computing related reference.
Event 2, 2018 results above
Event 3 The Wayne Kilpatrick Memorial Night Hunt.
This event is in Memory of Wayne Kilpatrick VK5ZX (SK). The SportIdent system was being used on this event which meant there were no ping-pong balls this year. It was decided to stick with the usual all start at once to ensure all the hunters got the same signal opportunity.
Eight teams departed the start point at the Saleyards at 19:30, VK3BQZ was without some of his regulars and couldn’t arrange another driver so he skipped this event. Didn’t seem like that bad of a decision as the night got colder. VK5FAB were struck down with technical issues so their night was hard. They weren’t alone. VK3OW spent a lot of time circling the 6m fox, much to their frustration. It didn’t seem to help when the 6m fox gave an accidental clue as to his location over the repeater.
The 10m fox was hidden in plain sight in the Bunnings carpark. We didn’t realise until after a few fox hunters had arrived that the antenna was clearly silhouette by the floodlighting from the Bunnings sign. Another unintentional hint went over the repeater when Owen VK5HOS announced to the 6m fox that he was going to Bunnnings. At 9:00pm on a Saturday night Bunnings isn’t open so the 6m fox continued to ask why he was going to Bunnings. Fortunately there was enough competitors at the finish to find the radio call extremely amusing. Greg VK5ZGY was keeping an eye for competitors coming and called out there’s one. It turned out to be a car with a bicycle on the roof.
Not everyone made it to the 10m fox this year.
Event 3 results (Night fox hunt)
VK3BLN were the winners of the night hunt with the highest score and in keeping with the NERG Trophy tradition, VK3FOX were awarded the trophy for being the first in to the 10m Fox. Greg VK3VT is a member of the NERG club so when he gets home he will have to award himself the trophy.
NERG began sponsoring the night hunt trophy because in the past the scoring of the individual legs could mean that the team that won the event, did not necessarily reach the last fox first. NERG thought that first team home should be rewarded, hence they now sponsor the NERG trophy for the Night Hunt. SERG greatly appreciates the support from NERG.
Event 4 was the Sunday morning sniffer hunt. With only an hour to complete this event is over a smaller area and the layout and terrain actually affects the results. Going off in different directions gives more opportunity to get a good placing on some of the transmitters. The venue is curved around the hill so you can’t seen from one end to the other. It’s other redeeming feature is the close proximity of source of a decent coffee for those not competing or just before they take off for the next event.
Event 4 Results are below.
Event 5 immediately followed the sniffer hunt. Signals were clear at the start of the event so all the teams headed off.
Event 5 results above
Event 6, in the afternoon, had the nine teams starting just west of Mount Gambier.
The event was 2m followed by 6m finishing with 80m. This event was also not without it’s problems.
Initially there was a call that a team was bogged and needed extraction and then the 80m fox had transmitter trouble and competitors had to be given a waypoint to get them started to find the final leg.
If this was Hogwarts (Harry Potter Fame) we would have to award bonus points to Bevin VK5TV. Bevin was competing in the event when he came across VK3TJN. He announced that he was stopping to help them. To return the kindness VK3TJN made sure Bevin found the 2m fox. Greg VK5ZGY left the 2m fox running and came to the aid of VK3TJN. After he put the winch cable back on the winch everything went rather smoothly and we were all out in time for the next event.
Event 6 results above
Event 7, the last fox hunting event for the weekend is the 1296MHz fox. For the last few years this event has had the fox hiding somewhere in the country side and not in the one of the craters and it was the same again this year. Competitors start at a high point with a good initial bearing, strangely enough when they took off some of them took different directions.
Event 7 results above
Australian Fox Hunting Championship Results Summary.
Congratulations to all competitors for a very a competitive and enjoyable weekend. We should also mention the people who took time out of their weekend to hide and play foxes. Andrew VK5MAS, Tim VK5AV, Owen VK5HOS, Colin VK5DK, Peter VK5KBF, Greg and Gabi VK5ZGY and the Naracoorte Radio Club Ross VK3KBO, Alan VK5ZLT and Phil VK5PCL.
As is becoming traditional, the convention dinner after the presentations was well attended and if the noise level is anything to go by, everyone had an enjoyable time.
Home brew competition 2018
|This year there were 7 entries in the homebrew competition. They were as follow:
Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL displayed and demonstrated their mini satellite ground station. Based on a wifi enabled Raspberry PI to mobile phone app, it was a complete tracking system and included a SDR receiver for monitoring. It was intriguing that the constructors were able to do both azimuth and elevation with one sensor providing both magnetic direction and accelerometer elevation.
He documented his project very well.
|Brian VK3YNG displayed his Fox Box Mk3 fox transmitter for operation between 2.5MHz – 1300MHz.
His emphasis in design was low power consumption using two AA cells and low level spurs for testing purposes.
It included a 4 layer board.
Ralph VK3LL and Damien VK3KQ showed their large display GPS locked start clock.
It had a number of features for use as an event timer.
Powered from a LiPO cell 11.1V to manage the 400-700mA power draw of the clock.
Gary VK5JR displayed his conversion to 10GHz of MITEC RX/TX. Labels clearly showed functions.
The device was capable of GPS stabilized if 10MHz is provided. So far Gary has worked the length of the street with 100mW. Greater distances to come.
Tony VK5ZAI showed his 10MHz GPS standard.
Tony does a great job of presenting this kit from Silicon Chip.
Due to the original microprocessor not reading the NMEA data correctly at 9600baud Tony enlisted John VK5DJ to successfully redo the software to read the chosen GPS.
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