2003 National Qualifier No.2

11 May 2003

This year Chris decided to stand back from competing and do the Full Monty with the organisation. Starting from the sheep field at Chris's farm, good signals were heard from both stations so the six intrepid teams set off into the variable weather of North Cheshire to find the deviously placed stations. With the (ill-founded) reputation of having at least one station far flung from the start, Chris decided to outfox most of the competitors by placing both stations at about 6km from the start and trimmed the power for each back to about 250mW, loud enough at the start to be heard, but weak enough for the competitors to think it was far off as usual.

Station 'A' was located 6km north of the start with a start bearing passing over The Cloud (last years A station) or Macclesfield Forest depending on bearing accuracy. When Chris first sought out the site, he was going to use the marshy ground at the back of the pounds at Bosley locks on the Macclesfield section of the Canal, however when scouting around the week before the event with Chris Heys, a better option was found at the bottom of land slip between the canal and the River Dane. Thus a nice big bramble bush was found next to a deep part of the river and a half wave aerial put up which was earthed down at the far end in the river. Access to this site with dry feet was over the access bridge for the bottom lock on the canal, but most found that the river was shallow enough to splash through from the meadow on the Cloud side of the river only 60 yards downstream of the station site. (Shame really as we had put dummy wire up over the blue bells in the woods above the site, next to the canal) This station, run by John Heath and Chris Heys was video'ed by Chris P but only one competitor was caught on tape as the others all went to 'B' first. Congratulations to Dave Chippendale for finding this station first in the afternoon, after finding Chris on the opposite side of the river with the camcorder, saying 'I suppose as You are over here the TX is on the other side, **** !!' It then rained heavily just to get Chris as wet as everyone else that afternoon. Reportedly the fight to get over the river later would have made much better video, but then nearly everyone missed the wire coming out of the brambles and the big hole in the bush on that side.

Station 'B' was placed at the very top of Hanging Wood on the west side of Mow Cop, also 6km from the start, but with an aerial end on to the start, and a bearing which went over several enticing areas near Crewe. John Jocys and Roger Thawsley had been quite inventive and set the aerial off down the steep slope away from the start to tempt the competitors to over shoot the site and come up from the bottom of the hill (steep that, and quite slippery on the day). John then hid with his monitor set, an FT817, in a thick holly bush 10 yards from Roger who had the real transmitter. Several competitors following the signal up the wire and up the slope found John first, and cursed, then to spend several minutes finding the well camouflaged Roger under a flowering crab apple tree next to the barbed wire fence (correct the fence was used as a counterpoise) The 'Easy' way in to this site was from Mow Cop village over the top of the hill, but only one competitor found that way in, he didn't find it easy as the apple tree spread well out into the field over the wire fence. Five out of the six competitors came here first, but did not fall over each other to get in, it must have been the shortness of breath after the climb that handicapped them.

Gathering back at the tea in Chris's office at his farm it turned out that everyone had found both stations, even if Geof (the reigning National Champion) had been convinced that station B was near the canal at Alsager (six miles from the actual site) and thus only just made the second TX.

Congratulations to Dave Peacock, who proved his second place last year was no fluke and Tim Parker, who came the furthest to compete, both of who qualify for the final. As Dave Peacock and Donna are getting married on the 23rd May when asked what wedding present they wanted from Chris, they asked only to be able to win a local SMRCC single event thus beating Chris, but winning the SMRCC trophy came a good second best. It is the first trophy or national event that Dave has won, so it shows the winter training has worked over the years, together with the drive given by the 'Get Plummer' incentive.

Refer to the SMRCC website for map extracts of the sites, and photographs from the tea.

Chris Plummer

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Dave Peacock 15:56:18 15:56:18 15:23:56
2 Tim Parker 15:56:37 15:56:37 14:56:48
3 Steve Stone 15:57:14 15:57:14 14:58:03
4 Phil Cunningham 15:59:16 15:59:16 14:56:04
5 Dave Chippendale 16:25:01 14:41:21 16:25:01
6 Geoff Foster 16:28:00 16:28:00 15:38:15