Fifteen teams assembled near Aynho, on the Northamptonshire side of the Northants/Oxfordshire border, for Round 2 of this years national direction finding competition.
Two very strong signals appeared on the stroke of 1320. Signal strengths indicated that neither station would be located too far from the start. Within a short time all but one team had departed without the need for emergency bearings.
The station was located just 17km west of the starting point, at Traitors Ford near Hook Norton in Oxfordshire, and was using a simple quarter-wave end-fed aerial laid along the hedgerow. Peter had tunneled his way along a small stream bed concealed within the hedgerow and was well protected from the footpath by some tasty bramble bushes.
The station was located within 100 metres of the roadside, amazingly, some contestants with long memories (from the 1960s), when the nearby woodland had been used for a qualifier, decided the site was inadequate and drove away again for a while. The station was hidden at the southerly end of an ancient track way, over 4km in length and, to the delight of the organisers, some contestants felt compelled to try much longer routes into the transmitter site. Only one team failed to visit the site during the afternoon.
The station was located 32km NNW of the start beside the disused railway line at Model Village between Southam and Long Itchington in Warwickshire. Again, a simple end-fed aerial was employed, this time around 300 metres in length. The transmitter was hidden just a few feet from the footpath with brambles and hawthorns serving as a shield preventing access from the track. This was effective in all cases bar one (Thanks, Philip).
The station was only 400 metres from the A 423. Banbury to Coventry road. Most teams, though, preferred to gain access to the site by the slightly longer route from the Grand Union canal. However, at least one team successfully found the operator's car parked invitingly beneath a railway bridge along a gated road over a kilometer away. I enjoyed the extended walk too!
Afterwards, over forty people assembled at Wroxton for the traditional superb tea and discussions. The winner, Alan Simmons, was presented with the Banbury shield. Both Alan and Brian Bristow (second place) received presentation packs of Hook Norton ales. Dave Peacock's team collected a prize for the first team home with a young lady navigator.
Both Alan and Brian explained how they had completed the course in just over two hours. Brian then thanked everyone from Banbury for putting on a very enjoyable event. He confirmed that he would not be participating in this year's National Final as he was the organizer of the event and thus Chris Plummer qualifies in his place. With this, the afternoon closed with much hilarity.
Thirteen teams found both stations, the remaining two teams located their second hidden station but both were just out of time.
Subject to confirmation, Alan Simmons and Chris Plummer qualify for this years national Final.
Special thanks to Ronnie and Mike Mallinson, Duncan and Daphne Nicholls and Peter Bradley for all of their time and hard work. Also thanks for the special language directed at me on the railway line, I heard every word…
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