Feb 28, 2010

A Thrilling Adventure : 2010 MARS Chennai Foxhunt

The MARS (Madras Amateur Radio Society) Fox Hunt was conducted today 28.02.10/Sunday at Chennai. Many teams participated in the event which began in the morning at 8:00 am with the fox making an announcement for commencement and then fox started howling the tone in fox frequency 144.900 Mhz. The timeframe target for locating the fox was 8:00 am to 12:00 am and indicated distance was 60 Kms line of sight from city “0” stone.

The tools of the trade, straight out of a 007 BOND movie, beam antenna, compass , VHF Transceiver etc being kept ready at startpoint for taking initial direction bearning.

The fox tone was given for 60 sec on & 240 sec off and the power was reduced from 50/25 W in the beginning hours to 500 MW by the end of the hunt. Most of the teams started the fox hunt from City/outskirts and then signals indicated West/South West towards Tambaram/GST Road direction. But since signal tracking is a real skill and is influenced by so much extraneous environmental factors, the fox signal proved very elusive and erratic.

The veteran YAESU handy tuned to the fox frequency.

Team taking intermittent bearing on hilltop.

5 teams participated in this years MARS foxhunt as below.
Team 1 : VU2DH , SWL Vipin Shankar , SWL Satheesh & VU3UBR
Team 4 : VU2DRK , VU3MOA , VU3USI
Team 5 : VU3WIB , SWL

Checking signals in the middle of an overbridge.

But the fox signal proved very elusive with conflicting signal strengths as well as directions as time passed . After 12:00 pm /4 hours an announcement was made that since nobody could locate the fox, the hunt would be extended for another 30 minutes.
By this time most of the teams were within 5 Kms radius of the fox and were into drastic measures including walking on hot dry Palar river bed, climbing up a stone quarry hill , use bikes to check on smaller trails, rummaging through farm houses etc , but all this did not yield anything.
Finally close to 12: 30 PM the fox location was announced as “Pazhaya Seevaram Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple” which was a hilltop temple shrine location on the banks of Palar River and on Chengalpattu-Kanchipuram road at an approx 60 kms to 75 Kms direct road drive distance from Chennai depending on the route you take . No team managed to catch the fox this time even after the time extension . The fox hole was at an approx line of sight distance of 56.6 Kms from Chennai “0” stone point (source - Wikimapia software).

The "Fox Den"/hilltop marked in square as seen in this sattelite aimage with adjacent shrub jungle/stairs/hills etc.

Participants had to climb up many steps leading to the "Fox Den" at the top of the hill .

The "Fox Hole"

The elusive fox was VU2GHX Madhavan . Within 5 to 10 min of the fox locaton announcement most teams reached the spot.
Anyways it was real fun as after all its for the love of HAM hobby that everybody set aside a whole good Sunday and made this trip . All teams had their own moments of fun , joy, tension, anger etc which all made the whole foxhunt a thrilling and challenging experience for one and all, especially for the first timers. Thanks to the MARS organising team for conducting this event again after a gap of couple of years. All HAMS hope the Chennai Foxhunt becomes an annual event moving forward.

A special mention of VU3WIB (Right) who's spirit & love for the hobby really needs to appreciated as he travelled the entire journey of 150+ Kms with rig/beam on a two wheeler with an SWL.

A good lunch session/getogether was arranged by MARS for all the participants near to the fox den which was appreciated and relished by all. The only regret was that all the day’s hard hunting by teams didn’t yield any prizes to take home, only good memories of this unique experience .

Anybody else having more photos/something to be added to the story board pls send across.
ChennaiHamsBlogspot Team


  1. congragulations for the teams who participated. as a good practice only omni directional antenna was used by the fox to transmit signals but in chennai a yagi antenna was used in a fox hole to transmit made more reflections from so many places misleading the teams to reach the locations. any way congragulations to the organizers for not allowing any body to win for the past 3 years.

  2. fox hunt is game and teams should be allowed to win the prizes not to discourage them. Today with the high fuel cost the organizers must consider to limit the radious with in 25 to 30 kms to save the fuel. over the years the participation on the fox hunt in chennai has come down from 20 to 5. why?

  3. Congrats , beautiful writeup about Fox Hunt as well as Fox Hunt signalling challenges, diplomatic acceptance , thank the organisers for the wonderful arrangements, beautiful photos, well done

    Mohan, VU3MOA