2003 National Qualifier No. 4

15 June 2003

The Torbay Top Band DF started at Woodbury Common on map OS192, Exeter and Sidmouth on Sunday 15th June 2003.

The day was one of the best for blue sky and sunshine and was ideal to help get the DF hunters hot and bothered.

Nine teams gathered at the start, and although some grumbles were muttered about the signals, all teams used their own bearings and the approximate bearings were left in the bag as usual.

Both signals had been turned down a bit to try and fool those taking part that the sites were further away than they were - this did seem to work well. Both sites were only 5 to 6km away from the start, but either side of the river Exe.

Station A, 1897 Khz, was on the east shore near Exmouth. The operator, G0BTH, was situated in the open with a splendid view of the estuary, under a railway bridge out of sight of the wood where all the antenna wire was plainly to be seen. The antenna wire was carefully run along the railway fence, but to the unobservant eye was tied off to the fence some distance from the bridge. An earth stake and lots of wire helped keep the signal well removed from the transmitter.

Station B, 1847 Khz, was operated by G4XWP. He too had a good view of the estuary from his site, located near Powderham Castle on the South West coast path. Here, there was virtually no cover and G4XWP put his reputation on the line and went for the ploy that the DF hunter would run past in search of good cover. His "hide" was to lay under the lip of the concrete sea wall with an antenna running along under the lip, too, with earth stakes at each end in the sea.

From comments heard at the tea, nearly all tried to get bearings from well past both stations with the difficulty of weak or no signals heard at 2pm. Bearings seen on various maps showed large errors with several crosses showing the stations to be 0.5km out to sea.

After several bearings, a reasonably even split of competitors turned up at both sites. At station A these first teams found the wood and wire irresistible and spent some time hunting around in the dark. Eventually one keen bush beater ran to the bridge "just for a look" then raised hell to allow three of the four teams to come racing in. Unfortunately for one team they were at the other end of the wire and did not get this advantage and spent a hot afternoon investigating all aspects of the wire and wood.

Station B had his plans seen through as competitors raced past him without a second glance and had good exercise along the coast path before a transmission brought them racing back. All the small bushes and tufts of grass were keenly looked into but eventually they did look over the wall and clock in.

The winner finding station B then A beat the pack by dropping into the culvert under the railway (about a 6ft drop) to get to the wood quickly, and after slipping ass over head on the green slime bumped into the operator at the exit of the culvert onto the beach.

Well done to all who took part, it was a great day for the organizers and all seemed to enjoy it after suitable words were said!

Paul Clark

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Dick Brocks 15:52:13 15:52:13 14:57:06
2 George Whenham 15:56:31 15:13:50 15:56:31
3 Tim Parker 16:00:23 16:00:23 14:58:48
4 Steve Stone 16:00:32 16:00:32 15:01:38
5 Brian Bristow 16:04:14 16:04:14 15:01:33
6 Geoff Foster 16:04:20 16:04:20 15:03:42
7 Rosie Merry 16:07:48 15:13:47 16:07:48
8 Andy Collett 16:23:33 15:13:42 16:23:33
9 Bill Pechey 16:03:57 16:03:57 -