Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Portable Operator Association!

This site is dedicated to supporting and encouraging portable amateur radio operation, primarily in the mid-Atlantic united States of America.

Upcoming local events

Gary Koch has coordinated three foxhunts coming up at the end of April and early May, see below.  Many thanks to all who are working on this! 

 – 1st one = Apr 28 2019 (Sun) – at Sam Michaels Park  Jefferson County WV- 1pm – W8ORS-sponsored
 – 2nd one = May 4 2019 (Sat) – at Hagerstown HamFest Washington County MD- 1pm – ARA-sponsored
 – 3rd one = May 18 2019 (Sat) – in Frederick – 1pm – Ballenger Creek Park Downtown Frederick- FARG-sponsored

FOX HUNT #1 – SAM MICHAELS PARK (Apr 28 [Sun]) – There will be at least three different Foxes to hunt for up to THREE (3) groups.  There will be some instruction prior to the hunt.

FOX HUNT #2 – HAGERSTOWN HAMFEST (May 4 [Sat]) – 1pm — There will be a Foxhunt Table at the Hamfest, with discussion and discussion/instruction during the Hamfest;  The Hunt will start at 1 PM;  We will have a limited amount of loaner equipment available for use, and various DF setups on display.

FOX HUNT #3 – BALLENGER CREEK PARK (Frederick) – May 18 [Sat]) – 1pm — This is sponsored by the FARG group.

Email MAPOA@runbox.com or Gary Koch, garymkoch@gmail.com, for more information on any of these events, and PLEASE spread the word among the amateur community.

Direction Finding Basics and Foxhunt general information

These events are appropriate for all levels of amateur radio operator interested in DF techniques, and also for those unlicensed persons interested in radio direction finding, and is open to the hamfest attendees.  As one of the attendees at the 2018 Hagertown event commented:  “This is one of the few amateur radio activities where you get some physical exercise!”

To that point: expect moderate but not arduous walking through cleared fields, along marked paths, and through rolling wooded areas.  Total distance covered is expected to be about one to two miles at most. Note that at least one hand, and possibly two, will be required to manipulate antennas and radio receiver.

Foxhunt rules-

  1.  Safety first.
  2. Have fun!
  3. Learn something new!
  4. Courteous behaviour towards other attendees is required.  These are family friendly events;  appropriate language and behaviour is required from all participants.
  5. At the starting point the fox frequency will be given, together with the on/off cycle for the fox.  The fox will be able to be received at the starting point.

Equipment required:

  • VFO capable  PORTABLE 2 meter FM receiver.  Signal strength meter is highly desireable.  Internal signal attenuator is desirable. RF gain control is desirable.  Typical 2 meter handi-talky (HT) or scanner with removable antenna (to allow you to connect the antenna you’ll use for DF) is all that you have to have;
  • Cables to connect radio and antenna;
  • Directional antenna.  Recommended types for those on foot in Bold;  all of the types listed in Bold have been used effectively in recent hunts. Possible types include but are not limited to:
    • small Yagi (3 element tape measure yagi is very popular)
    • 3 or 4 element Quad
    • Moxon
    • Adcock (can be used effectively from 6 meters to 70 cm)
    • TDOA (Time/Distance Of Arrival)/switched interferometer active antenna (Handi-Finder is one of many types; also can be used on multiple bands)
  • Notebook and pencils;
  • Power source, either internal to radio or outboard.  (one fully charged battery should do, but a spare charged battery is recommended if using an HT;)

There may be a limited number of loaner DF setups available on an “as-available” basis of various sorts at the Hagerstown hamfest;  Not sure about the others.  Those interested who do not have an antenna but are interested in attending, please email MAPOA at runbox dot com (make the proper substitutions, please!) with your name and contact information.

Equipment  recommended:

  • Headphones or earphone that fits the receiver you will be using;
  • A compass or handheld GPS;
  • Outboard signal attenuator with cable(s) to connect to radio and antenna; (HIGHLY recommended!)
  • A clipboard;
  • A small voice recorder for making comments, recording noises or identifiers from the Fox;

Clothing and other things to wear/bring:

  • Sturdy outdoor walking/hiking shoes;
  • Hiking clothes (long pants and long sleeved shirt recommended);
  • Broad brimmed hat;
  • Raincoat if sprinkles or showers expected
  • Your insect repellent of choice for both mosquitoes and ticks (I use Deep Woods OFF. but there are other brands)
  • small bag, pack or haversack;
  • Drinking water (at least 1 liter per person)
  • snacks
  • First Aid kit and any medications you may need.
  • Cell phone

Note that temperatures and weather are subject to rapid change.  Note also that as the weather is expected to be warm, stinging insects and hazardous wildlife may be active on the grounds; watch where you walk.

We look forward to seeing you at these foxhunts.  Yoickes!  Tallyho!