Firstly everyone at Banbury would like to thank you all for staying to help clear the hall it was very much appreciated.
In perfect weather conditions, fifteen teams of forty-six competitors assembled at Farnborough Hall (NT) in Warwickshire to take part in this years National Final. At the given time, signals were received from all three hidden transmitters and within seconds of one o'clock everyone had departed the start in their quest to find the hidden stations.
The long hot summer had taken its toll on "DF country" in central England and the normal summer time cover proved very hard to come by. Careful planning ensured that the event would still prove a worthy test for the country's best Direction Finders. With the competition being spread over four counties, all members of each team would have some hard work to do.
Was located 28km South West of the start in a steeply sloping strip of woodland called Bakers Hill wood, 4km NE of Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire. The antenna was a full wave in length, run at some height along the hedgerow at the top end of the woods. Approximately a third of the way along, the aerial was tee'd off over the footpath and down into the transmitter which was just metres down the slope from the footpath. The station was hidden within bracken and Gordon had aided disguise by digging himself into the sandy soil.
The station was only a few hundred metres from the road and could be accessed from most directions, as the afternoon progressed, footprints in the dry soil aided location of the transmitter, despite determined efforts by Brian Bristow to bury the transmitter crew. One of the many times Brian was to become "possessed" during the afternoon.
Teams finding this station as the first or second choice now had a lengthy journey to their next checkpoint.
Was located in Oxfordshire, just 12km South East of the start on the banks of the River Cherwell, just at the point where the river disappears beneath the M40 motorway, 3km. south of junction 11.
Roger hid beneath a simple full wave aerial draped along the top of the bushes that edged the river. However as a final act of devilment the far end of the aerial was launched into the river on the end of a bottle. This act did have the desired effect of drawing people away from Roger for a little while.
The transmitter being placed on the bank with least cover and easy access only seemed to encourage contestants to spend time fruitlessly searching the more interesting undergrowth on the far side of the river.
The station was some distance from the nearest main road and close enough to the Oxford canal to cause some difficult moments for the navigators. However as the organisers had expected, the brave managed to find vehicular access to within 500m of the station.
All bar one of the teams managed to find this, the prettiest of the afternoon's sites.
Was located 18km North East of the start in an area hardened DFers should be well accustomed to, as in the past at least two other Banbury DF transmitters have been placed within a square kilometre of the present one. The location chosen this time was a disused railway line on "Freedom to roam" land 6km. west of Daventry in Northamptonshire.
It was quite possible to legally park ones car within 150m of the aerial, but the nearby Oxford and Grand Union canals coupled with footpaths with the habit of taking you away from the transmitter caused a delays to the unwary.
John, running his first every DF station, was hidden in a shallow hollow at the bottom of the railway embankment, beside a rather inviting culvert. The aerial was once again a full wave in length, with John sitting at one end of it. Despite a nearby pond, stream and otherwise boggy ground, the earth spike was left unused. Choosing instead the old, but electrically sound, wire fencing. This was to prove an excellent earth system.
All bar one of the teams managed to find at least two of the transmitters and almost half of the field succeeded in finding all three stations within the time limit.
Afterwards, fifty people gathered together at Wroxton village hall near Banbury for the traditional DF tea, complete with genuine Cornish Pasties, imported direct from Cornwall just the day before.
After tea, Linda Gage, our guest of honour, presented the winner, Phil Cunningham, with the DF Trophy and a case of fine ales. Linda then presented second placed Brian Bristow with the Gage Cup and a large bottle of bubbly. Brian then returned the compliment by presenting Linda with a bouquet of flowers from all British Direction Finding Club Members.
Firstly Andy then Brian entertained us with tales from the afternoon's competition.
George Whenham then took the stage and, after reading out the final placing from this years Rose Bowl, presented the winner Phil Cunningham (again) with the Rose Bowl and the Banbury shield.
Every one thanked John, Mick, Roger, Duncan and Gordon for the hard work and a very special thank you for Ronnie and Daphne for yet another excellent Tea.
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