The Weston-Super-Mare National DF Qualifier was run on the Weston-Super-Mare and Bridgwater & Wells map, though the event was focused on the Mendips and "wetlands" area ( the flooded Peat excavations). Both of these sites had been selected to be within reasonable distance from the start point, and to allow for the slow and winding country lanes in Somerset that are often blocked by farm traffic and tourists at this time of the year!
Two good signals were received at the start point on Priddy Village Green; the "A" station located towards the South West was particularly strong, and gave the impression to many teams that it was possibly located only a few miles/ kms away.
Station "A" was operated by Peter Smith and was 10.7km from the start point. He was hiding on the bank of one of the flooded peat lakes and a short antenna of 15 metres linked the Tx to a much larger system comprising of a wire link fence surrounding the lake, and a further wire of 150 metres crossing the track into a bracken and tree copse, this latter wire was grounded. Tests showed a very strong signal from the earthed end of the antenna, while several peaks and nulls could be observed from the wire surrounding the lake. The Tx itself was in a particularly good null, and as we had hoped, many teams spent a considerable amount of time thrashing about under the 150-metre wire that was earthed well away from the Tx. The event winner, Paul Clark, initially stopped for the second transmission well short of the "A" station, then realising then that it was further away than the starting signal strength indicated soon made his way to the correct area, finding Peter in a time of 1 hour 10 min. Second team to locate Peter some 9 minutes later was Rosie Merry.
Station "B" was located just over 10km to the North West in a raised part of the Mendips covered with bracken and some light tree cover. This station was operated by Colin Boyce (it was later explained to me that this was why all the teams headed for the southern TX first)! The area had good access via a RUPP, though the surface of this was perhaps best suited to four wheel drive vehicles. Despite this, many teams decided to climb the escarpment from a wide variety of access points. Considering the height to be climbed on what was one of the hottest September days in a long time made a very uncomfortable experience for many teams! The area had a number of sink holes leading to small pot-holes and it seemed that every one of these had been explored judging by the flattened bracken! The antenna was 170 metres of wire forming a loop, the wire itself being very high in some of the trees, but visible if one looked high enough. Secondary radiation was also evident from a wire fence some 400 metres away. Colin fed the antenna through the earth stake, and many teams got within 4Mtrs of him and then turned and moved away toward the main loop. Paul Clark's son found the earthing point, and Paul said "I have seen this trick before" and promptly found Colin hiding in the bracken under a camouflage net.
This was the first DF event staged by the W-S-M club, and we would like to thank everyone who gave us so much support and help, and in particular Colin Boyce (he is very sneaky and now we know why all teams headed South first of all). It has and is, a very steep learning curve for us and we hope you enjoyed it all. One lesson we certainly learned was to ensure the tea is central to both "A" and "B" stations so the clocks can be returned quickly despite the traffic conditions.
|Position||Competitor||Finish||Time A||Time B|