Sunday, August 21st, 2016
Banna Doem ARDF – Registration and Briefing
All were up very early in the morning as we need to check out of our rooms and head to the marshalling point some distance away. Our luggage were transferred and kept in a spare room so that we can come back from the event and have a bath.Â The marshalling area was another petrol stop which was good as they had toilet facilities. Registration and briefings were done there. A chicken porridge breakfast was provided by the organisers.
Somebody brought durians, the king of fruits,
however, I dared not try them before a hunt.
There were 3 categories in this hunt.
- Open Category.
- Under 40 – (age) Category.
- Above 40+ (age) Category.
We qualified for the 40+
and need not have to hunt fox beacon number 4 (MOH).
- Malaysian Team 1
Myself (KC – 9M2LC) and Off – E23CAL (Hatyai ham)
- Malaysian Team 2
Lee – 9W2YCL with Chow – 9M2CF as his wing man.
The participation fees for this ARDF event was set at 300 Baht per team. One team consists of 2 persons with only one set of hunting equipment. Once everybody had registered, we had to drive to another location where the actual hunt would be carried out.
Banna Doem ARDF – The Hunt
This ARDF event followed the classic 2 Meter procedure, consisting of 5 fox beacons transmitting on 144.4375 Mhz ( an odd frequency step ) running the standard 1 minute ON and 4 minutes OFF staggered cycles. Homing beacon was on 144.150 Mhz.
Identification of the foxes with proper slow audio morse code announcements fully followed the international standards, using MOE, MOI, MOS, MOH and MO5. Transmission mode was narrow band FM (F2A) since they were using handies set at low power (approx. 200 mW)Â as the beacons.
Another deviation was the antenna system. Instead of the official horizontally polarised omnidirectional turnstile antenna, they were using just the handie duckies which radiated in no fixed polarisation. ( Depending on the placement of the setup ).
Total run time allocated was 140 minutes, as per international standard.
Some nasty tricks were in play.
One of the beacons was placed in a metal bucket to channel the signals in a bounced direction.
Most of the beacons were hidden in ditches or the trail to the fox beacons being blocked by twining creepers with sharp thorns.
Banna Doem ARDF – Site Map
Site map was just an A4 size paper, which showed very minimal landmarks. The contrast to show the roads or pathways were very feint due to the poor colour choice. Although the start point was given, the end point was missing, thus had to be requested to be announced and marked on the map.
Choice of location for this is good. There were two distinct main dirt tracks with narrow paths cutting across them. Area was flat, and there was a pond nearby which created a lot of bounced signals from one of the foxes which created havoc to the hunters.
The hunters were sent out in batches of 5 minutes intervals as per international rules.
The Finish Point was at a pavilion besides the dreaded pond.
A homing beacon (MO) were howling out to any lost hunters to guide them back on 144.150 Mhz.
Banna Doem ARDF – How was my hunt performance?
Well, the Malaysian Team 1 was sent out as the first batch. We were so eager that we did not follow our planned attack methods. Was supposed to spend the 1st 5 minutes and take the bearings of all the 5 foxes before homing on any of them.
Big mistake. We headed down the closest path and it took us almost to the Finish point. Had to reverse and take a side pathway to attempt to nail fox number 2 (MOI) and fox number 1 (MOE). Was quite close to fox number 2 but the treacherous thorny creeper vines blocked our progress.
Decided to try another route to access by going down the narrow path and it came out on the second dirt track.
Disaster struck! My Aussie made sniffer suddenly went nuts and throwing tantrums! Figure 9 appeared on the display and went to full muting. Thought that somebody must had keyed on a handie nearby and caused swarming effect. But no! Even in past hunts I never had a figure 9 attenuation before even when standing next to a fox transmitter. At the most I would get a figure 5 to 6 attenuation.
Tried powering off the set and reboot again. It worked momentarily before going on strike again. Took the opportunity when it behaved itself to quickly locate fox number 1 (MOE) which was sitting in a ditch. Although we found the fox beacon, however the flag did not have any identification markings. Had to hang around for that fox beacon to transmit in order to verify.
This should be rectified in future hunts as the idea is not to get hunters hanging around the fox once they had located it. Other hunters will easily spot them.
Since the fickle-minded sniffer refused to cooperateÂ anymore, we sadly, had to call it a day and headed for the finish point.
A scrumptious lunch was arranged for us. The Thais really knows how to make us at home in their events.
Next: Banna Doem ARDF – The Results
Written by Musang