A hidden transmitter, or fox as it is sometimes called, is used by amateur radio operators for sport. Somebody hides a fox, and participants use different methods to find it. This is for practice for when there is an illegal transmitter nearby. Then the "hams" know what they are doing when tracking it down.
The transmitter usually transmits a long tone followed by a fcc granted call sign in morse code. The club I am a member of needed one of these, so I sat down and started designing it. I based it around an arduino, though this could be ported to many different microcontrollers.
Step 1: How the Code Works
EDIT 12/7/13: In the original code, you must insert the morse for the call sign to be transmitted manually. In the updated (albeit messy, apologies) code, you just need to input the call and any other text in the string Text. For the program to transmit the easterEgg string instead, you must hold pin 10 high at reset. This is what qualifies the project for Hackaday's contest.
Step 2: The Hardware
Please note the picture is inacurate on wiring the ptt. The ptt pin needs to be pulled to ground. Therefore a relay or MOSFET is necessary.Putting 5v into the radio has the potential of damaging it.
Step 3: Hunting Down the Fox
The easiest is called body fade, where you simply hold your radio to your chest to block most of the signal coming from behind you. Wherever the signal is strongest, thats the direction the fox is in.
Another way that works a little better is a directional antenna, such as this one: https://www.instructables.com/id/Radio-Direction-Finding-Antenna-for-VHF/
That is what I use.
There are other systems that can be used such as a doppler system, which uses four antennas to determine the direction. These are complex and expensive systems, so few people own them.
You don't have to have your license to find a fox. In fact if you find a club nearby that is planning a fox hunt, they would be glad to have you join them. You will need a radio to do this, but most programmable scanners can receive on ham frequencies such as the 2 meter band, which is was many t hunts are on.
Good luck and 73s!