First off, very new to ham radio. I wanted to track my High altitude balloon using APRS, and after loosing that payload in a mature cornfield for 2 months, decided to add a micro-fox from Byonics to find it if it couldn't easily be seen. So, I need some pointers for finding this kind of fox. Can I actually do it without a yagi antenna, and hope to find it? It will not be "hidden" by clever humans, but fall randomly and be covered by super bright duct tape. I have already gone over budget and would like to avoid purchasing an $80 antenna, but just don't have the skills or equipment at this time to make one. Using my Baofeng UVR-5a can I use body fade, aluminum can tube, make a trashcan lid shield? etc? While testing yesterday I was having a lot of difficulty getting body fade or a tube wrapped in foil to work. It sounds simple, but I am missing something, and the only video tutorial I could find on body fade was just some adorable baby boy scouts doing an easter bunny hunt, and not a tutorial at all. Sorry if any of this sounds silly, I just need a little advice on this strange fox hunt activity. Thank you so much.
Would this help? A cheap and simple yagi that's been used for fox-hunting before. http://www.arrl.org/files/file/ETP/The%20tape%20measure%20antenna.pdf
Here's a youtube vid from AmateurLogic.tv https://youtu.be/PqTH42NRMck?t=30m8s
As far as the payload you lost - does it currently have the micro-fox installed? If so, have you tried taking a 2m HT out to the field to see if it's still transmitting and the battery hasn't run out?
If the reason you're having trouble with body fade is that you can hear the signal no matter what, then you need to make the signal weaker, so that you can hear the difference in how well your receiver is picking it up. To do this properly, you use an attenuator between the radio and antenna.
But of course, that's also equipment you need to buy or make (a basic attenuator is just a resistor network between two connectors). You might be better served by getting a Yagi or loop antenna first.
Serious foxhunters have both directional antennas and attenuators; the attenuator is needed when you are very close to the fox such that the signal is loud and clear even when your antenna has its null pointed at the transmitter.
If you really want to try with improvised equipment and the signal is strong, try using a terrible antenna:
- Remove the antenna entirely. The antenna socket, and leakage through the case, will still pick up some signal.
- Use an antenna of the wrong length. You can use a piece of wire, provided that you have a way to attach it to the antenna socket without damaging the contacts (such as a coaxial to binding post adapter, which is generally handy for experimentation).