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This page is devoted to Fox Hunting and Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) in Middlesex County. Foxes are hidden in conservation areas and other public places almost every week in the spring, summer, and fall. Announcements of where and when to start looking are made via email, so be sure to join our email list (see below) to get the latest information.


Resources

Conservation Areas and Trail Maps

Most towns in Middlesex County have conservation area trail maps available online. Click the town link below to access these maps.

Acton. Click on the left sidebar list.
Billerica
Carlisle
Chelmsford
Littleton
Westford. A book of maps of Westford conservation areas can be purchased for $5.00 at the town clerk's office at Westford city hall and at the Roudenbush Center.
Wilmington

OpenStreetMap has trail maps available
here. This site requires a login, but is free.

Build an Antenna for Two Meters

A two meter fox hunting antenna can be built for about $15 with PVC pipe and fittings from Home Depot or Lowes. Building instructions are available here. A YouTube video of how to build it is here.

You'll also need an "offset attenuator" for your antenna. Attenuator sources include:
A complete antenna and attenuator kit is available here.

80 Meter Fox Hunting

Hunting foxes on 80 meters is actually much easier than on 2 meters because the 80 meter signal doesn't reflect like the 2 meter signal, and the 80 meter fox with its antenna is usually large. The 80 meter receiver and antenna is (believe it or not) MUCH smaller than the 2 meter system.

Receiver systems for 80 meters include:
  • R3500D available from China. Information is here.
  • The RigExpert FoxRex 3500 has been discontinued, but is still available from DXEngineering here.

Own Your Own Fox

You may want to have your own fox so you can hide it and challenge the hunters. The Homing In site has instructions on how to build a fox, or you can buy one from these vendors:
  • Byonics sells two foxes.
  • x-beacon is a start-up company that will be selling assembled foxes and kits in April 2020

Reference Websites

Check these websites for more information about Fox Hunting and ARDF:
  • Homing In is the place to start. It's got everything you need to know or links to it.
  • ARRL has an ARDF website here.
  • The ARDF USA website is here.
  • IARU has an ARDF website for Region 2 here.
  • A Fox Hunt training video is here.

Safety

Hunting foxes on the conservation trails can be hazardous! Recommended safety precautions include:
  • Protect against ticks and other insects. Treat your clothes with Permethrin at the start of the season. Use a good insect repellant and inspect for ticks when you're out of the woods. When you get home, take a shower and throw your clothes into the dryer for at least 15 minutes on high heat to kill any ticks that may have hitched a ride home with you.
  • Carry a bottle of water.
  • Print a copy of the trail map and carry it with you.
  • Wear a hat and use sunscreen.
  • Most cell phones have the capability to remember where you parked your car. Know how to use this feature and be sure it's enabled.
  • Cell phones sometimes lose a signal in the woods. Carry an extra HT with an extra battery and monitor a local repeater. The WB1GOF repeater (146.955 pl 74.4) has good coverage in Westford and surrounding communities, so do a radio check on it or another local repeater before you start hunting and monitor the frequency.
  • The conservation trails are usually well marked. Remember the designation of the trail you start on and always look for landmarks so you can recognize the way back to your starting point.
  • Call for help if you're lost or injured!

What Do Foxes Look Like?

Foxes don't want to be found! Here are pictures of what you're looking for:
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This fox is pretty obvious. Foxes are usually covered with leaves, and only the antenna is visible. There may be a log book with the fox for you to enter your call and time of discovery.

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Yes, there is a fox in this picture. Can you see it?

Join Our Email List

We use Groups.io for fox hunting email and notifications in a group called "Northeast Massachusetts Fox Hunters." This is a separate list from the PART list, so you'll need to specifically join this group to get news about fox hunts.

Groups.io gives us a lot of capability to manage email to members, and additionally provides space for files, photos, and even a wiki. If you're not a member of Groups.io, signing up and using the system is easy, just enter your email address below and hit "Subscribe."

If you are a member of Groups.io, go to our group site
here and request to sign up.