Spring 2006 Issue
By Joe Moell, KØOV
This LoCATor pet tag weighs one-half ounce and has a breakaway link to prevent accidental choking of the animal. (All photos by Joe Moell, KØOV)
Visiting a high school last weekend reminded me how important the Internet has become in a relatively short time. On every bulletin board were flyers with URLs where students could find information, resources, and fun. Most of them probably can’t remember a time when there was no Internet.
This month marks ten years since I put my “Homing In” website online.1 I hoped that a site with basic information on hidden transmitter hunting would encourage more hams to try it. It would also answer the basic questions about radio direction finding (RDF) that I often received in letters and e-mails.
What I didn’t expect was the number of
non-hams who stumble onto the site and want to learn about RDF devices
that they can use. From stolen cars to model rockets and missing children,
there’s a lot that people want to find and keep track of. From the
beginning, I have tried to respond to every inquiry, no matter how vague
or outlandish. In the process, I have learned a lot myself.
As it turns out, Tracy was completely serious,
and I discovered that a multi-million dollar market for RDF equipment has
emerged among owners of hounds for sport hunting. When their dogs are
following the scent of an animal such as a fox or raccoon, they may run
several miles away from their owners. Radio tracking allows the humans to
catch up and to round up any hounds that stray from the pack.
Near the top of the list of companies riding this wave of demand for consumer RDF hardware is Communications Specialists of Orange, California.2 This is the same ComSpec that has made subaudible tone (CTCSS) encoders and decoders for well over 20 years. However, according to owner Spence Porter, WA6TPR, “Our main business has not been building PL stuff. It’s been building homing stuff.”
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