This page is an event report for one of the Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools ARDF events directed by Kelly and Patrick Sears. For comments, suggestions, and questions; please contact Kelly Sears [ksears (at) chccs (dot) k12 (dot) nc (dot) us].
We had a beautiful and hot day for this final school event of the spring. It was our first ever 2m Classic event. Very exciting ☺ . We also had a foxoring course for newcomers. Overall, we had 3 students and 5 family members participate.
If you find a mistake or need some information changed, please let me know [ patrick (dot) r (dot) sears [at] gmail (dot) com ].
The courses were on the east side of Carolina North Forest. The maximum distance across course area was 1.7 km. The 2m classic course had a distance of 1.9 km through all five foxes. All the foxes were quite close together but the nature of 2m ARDF made it a challenging course for newcomers. The foxoring course had five foxes and had about the same length as the 2m course. It was also quite challenging to newcomers because there were no direct routes following trails after finding the first fox. We had an 80m homing beacon but we couldn't get the 2m homing beacon working. So on the 2m course, getting to the homing beacon was done by orienteering.
Michael and his father Michael were the first to arrive. They had never done ARDF. After going over the orienteering map and radio direction finding techniques, they headed onto the foxoring course with Patrick. We went straight up the main central path to fox 1 and found it in no time. Just next to it, we saw a beautiful black snake, a rat snake I think. We then headed for fox 2. There was no good path to take, so we started off-trail. We were talking and didn't pay enough attention to our bearing. As a result, we drifted to the east and ended up close to the UNC facilities. Argh 😠 . We turned north and soon found the lake and a path heading toward fox 2. Much better. When we found a man-made feature to match the map, we knew we were getting close and the younger Michael took the lead. At first, we couldn't hear the transmitter. Only 10 meters down the trail younger Micheal heard it and we found it in seconds. Next, on to fox 3. We decided to stay more to the trails this time. These were mountain biking trails and all the turns made it difficult to keep track of where we were. At one point, we came to a huge unmarked boulder. But we didn't get distracted and found our way to the main trail before long. From there, we found our attack point to fox 3. It was a set of pull-up bars and they couldn't be missed. We could hear the fox and headed into the woods on the west side of the trail. But then couldn't find it. Oops, wrong way. Back across the trail, Michael senior was the first to see the fox pole.
A bit earlier, we got a phone call from Kelly that Rachel and her family had arrived and were heading for fox 1 on the foxoring course. Patrick was about to leave Michael and Michael to find them when we all met up on the main trail.
Ms Choi, Mr Ko, Rachel, and Daniel arrived a bit late and Patrick was already out with the group. After a quick refresher with Kelly, they decided to head onto the foxoring course by themselves. They found fox 1 no problem. They also saw a black snake close by. Probably the same one we had seen earlier. They decided to stick to the main central trail and so headed for fox 3. As they were approaching it, they met Patrick and the Michaels who were heading back toward the homing beacon. They were confident while staying on the main trail and so continued on by themselves to find fox 3. After finding it, they also decided to head for the homing beacon. Excellent!
Toby, Jason, and Kate arrived around this time. Toby showed us the 80m receiver kit he had built. Super cool! We talked for a long while about 2m ARDF. Then Toby and Jason went on the course. They headed for some of the hills first and quickly learned what a challenge life was at 144 MHz! At one point, Toby was getting a strong signal in one direction while Jason was getting a strong signal in the opposite direction! And they were pretty close to each other when this happened! Crazy! All of us that have done 2m ARDF take signals from a number of locations and know that a single signal is not what matters. Yet even for us, it's still difficult to keep the big picture in mind when there is a single strong signal coming from the wrong direction. Especially when we only have a few bearings and there is no big picture yet. Argh!!! They found two of the foxes and headed for the homing beacon. Super!
|#||participants (school, grade)||finds||time|
|Course: 2 m Classic|
|1||Toby (SMS-7), Jason (f)||1 4 H||51'|
|1||Michael (SMS-6), Michael (f)||1 2 3 H||37'|
|2||Rachel (CMS-6), Daniel (f), Ms Choi (f), Mr Ko (f)||1 3 H||33'|
The entries are listed first by chosen course. Those starting with the class group are listed at the end. Then entries are listed by the number of foxes found on that course and finally by the time on course. The # column gives the results placement for that course. The finds column notes the controls found: foxes 1 through 5 and H for the homing beacon. Foxes numbers in parentheses were not on the chosen course. The time column is the time on course. Students are listed with their school and grade. We use the following schools abbreviations: PMS Phillips MS, SMS Smith MS, McDMS McDougle MS, CMS Culbreth MS, CHHS Chapel Hill HS, ECHHS East Chapel Hill HS, CaHS Carrboro HS, f family or guest friend, es elementary school, s chccs student (no school info).
Thanks to all the middle school and high school teachers and staff who helped get the word out to the students: Rachel Hopler (Science Teacher, Culbreth Middle School), Christine Lippy (Science Teacher, McDougle Middle School), Al McArthur (Technology Facilitator, Phillips Middle School), Haley Wamble (Science Teacher, East Chapel Hill High School), SaCola Lehr (Media Specialist, Chapel Hill High School), Libby Diesel (Library Assistant, Chapel Hill High School), Kara Watson (Media Specialist, Carrboro High School). Thanks to Greg Kopsch (Park Manager at Carolina North Forest) for the use of CNF.
Clicking pictures will bring up original full-sized versions. All participants are listed as seen in the picture from left to right. Pictures are generally listed in chronological order trying to keep groups together.
Michael, Michael. They just got out of the thick woods to the left and are heading for the feature that will indicate fox 3 is nearby.
Toby. Showing us the 80m ARDF receiver he built. Awsome! This is not a simple project. I got to listen to the 80m beacon with it and it sounded really good.
Ruth, Kelly (back to us), Daniel, Rachel, Mr Ko, Ms Choi. Rachel and her family just finished their outing to search for foxes. Ruth is a scout leaker who stopped by to talk to us.
Kate, Kelly. Those nice leaves they are presenting to us are not from the tree behind them. They are poison ivy from a thick vine going up the tree! Wow!
Toby, listening for transmitter #5. Jason's words, "From on top of the hill, depending on exactly where you stood and how high you held the receiver, it was tricky to get a clear read on the direction of transmitter #5." 
Toby, at the top of the hill. Jason's words, "After listening to one round of transmissions from the top of the hill, we discussed which direction to go first." 
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