2004 National Qualifier No.5

04 July 2004

Independence Day 2004

It was the day of the underdog - Greece surprised Europe by beating the Portuguese; Bill staggers the World of DF by beating Brian by over an hour, and a station!

The Colchester event on the Ipswich, three rivers map nearly hit trouble when two transmitter operators had to pull out and we are indebted to Ian Butson for standing in at the last minute.

The advantage of having the start on the sea wall at Manningtree is it looks straight down the river to Harwich and is ideal to determine which side of the Stour estuary stations are on. The down side this time was some awful bearings for some, but not all competitors. Fortunately these were mostly off to the north which helped keep people on the right track and no-one took a trip to Harwich. A couple of teams needed help with the approximate bearing as they failed to hear the A station over 20 km from the start.

The anticipation was most teams would head for north east Ipswich to take the two oclock bearings to help decide which side of the River Orwell the Stations were. Martlesham Heath by the BT research centre appears to have been the area chosen by several teams. It meant that people were already close to both stations and were able to start running into the sites just after 2.15 pm. There was a fair split of teams heading for both stations - both had a fair run in. Steve Stone and Peter Larbalestier had bearings that took them the wrong side of the river to Shotley. Ian and myself had thought this might happen but reckoned, given the short drive in-between the two stations, teams could still get back round and do both stations in the time - this proved to be the case.

The time taken at both sites to find the TXs varied considerably. Bill was the first to find a station at 2.30pm (Ian), the B station TX proving to be more difficult, with long aerials and a reluctance to climb over the fence into the bird ringing area of the site. Roy Emeny coming in from the opposite side by the Pill Box, finally tracking me down at 2.49 pm. The rest of the field took some time to locate their first stations, with Steve and Peter not getting to their first site until after Bill had already completed the event. Eventually most people got away from their first stations and with the short distance between the sites had plenty of time to do both.

This A station was located on the west side of the River Deben at Kirton Creek - most people coming in from the little village of Hemley. The site was bounded by the muddy estuary and drainage ditch. Ariel was a U array around the field - Ian hidden at the top of the hill under good cover. Ian had toyed with hiding across the River at Ramsholt, which would have meant going off the map via Woodbridge. This would have been a great help to Brian who decided this was the location and made the mistake of heading in that direction - never to been seen again.

B station was on a hill at Trimley St Mary. This use to command a good view of Harwich Harbour, but is now obstructed by mountains of containers at the noisy and ever expanding Felixstowe Docks. The site was guarded by Raymond (Cunningham Jn) who was in charge of taking photos and showing really lost souls where the TX was. He would have helped Brian in this manner - but refrained, after being threatened. Aerial run along the footpath, down the slope and back round to the viewing area, with a tee off into the dense stuff behind the fence.

Well done Bill, not forgetting the other half of the winning team - Doreen whose vital contribution to the success of the day, whilst waiting in the car for Bill at Hemley, was to nod off to sleep?

A good day overall with the rain just holding off until the event finished with a tea at Bramford Church hall, served up by the other half of the Cunningham household.

Philip Cunningham

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Bill Pechey 15:30:18 14:30:36 15:30:18
2 Roy Emeny 15:39:16 15:39:16 14:49:30
3 Andrew Mead 15:44:17 14:42:54 15:44:17
4 Geoff Foster 15:52:04 15:13:25 15:52:04
5 Colin Merry 16:07:45 15:13:01 16:07:45
6 Peter Larbalestier 16:21:19 16:21:19 15:41:40
7 Steve Stone 16:22:01 16:22:01 15:33:36
8 Dick Brocks 16:22:23 16:22:23 15:23:20
9 George Whenham 16:22:38 16:22:38 15:25:48
10 Brian Bristow 15:10:53 - 15:10:53