2005 National Qualifier No. 6

24 July 2005

Having searched some of the ‘wetlands areas’ of the Somerset levels in vain for suitable sites with good cover, we eventually decided to use two wooded hill top locations approximately 11 km to the North West and 28 km South West from the starting point at Cheddar Reservoir.

The 'A' Station G3TRY/P operated by Bob England on 1950 kHz was located on Cadbury Hill, a prehistoric Bronze Age settlement. This was a small forested hill top with moderate coverage and access was available from three major routes; two with tracks leading part of the way up the hill and suitable for vehicular access. The third route in having a car park but a modest climb of ¼ mile to the hill summit. The initial intention was to put up a large loop antenna to try and cause some confusion at the top, however Colin Boyce having spotted a new cattle fence consisting of a ‘mesh’ fence with two separate single top strands he said we had a ready made antenna and counterpoise. With no other additions needed that is what we used. The fence surrounded the top of the hill and the operator cover was provided by a large bush beside the fence on the side away from the wood.

The B Station G3UJO/P (1910 KHz), was operated by Peter Smith in a location called ‘The Thickets’, and this consisted of a 300 Mtr + ‘push pull’ antenna located right on the edge of the forest facing the start point. The longer North route in was adjacent to the station however it was hoped that the angle of the shorter Southern route in would hopefully draw teams into the center of the forest.

Both signals were clearly heard at the start, the ‘B’ station being reasonably strong despite the 28 km distance, ‘A’ being weaker than when tested the previous day due to the effects of the evenings rain on the forests between the signal path attenuating the signal. Despite horrendous weather conditions being forecasted, the rain and thunder managed to stay away leaving a rather humid atmosphere during the event.

Geoff Foster’s team won the event at 15:49:15. Geoff headed for Cadbury Hill first after taking a reasonable bearing at the start. Arriving near Cadbury before the 2.00pm signal they thought they would ‘take a look’ as it was too late to move further away. When the signal came on, Geoff was also able to hear the ‘B’ station at the same time, but decided to run up the hill after the signal source. Towards the end of that transmission and before Geoff could reach the top of the hill Robert found a ‘talking bush’ and that was that!

Second place winner was Coin Merry, who went after the ‘B’ station first, and despite not having the best possible bearings was soon able to locate Peter's hiding place. His hunt for the ‘A’ station at Cadbury was completed at 16:13:17 after hearing the ‘operator audio’ from the penultimate transmission!

I must pass on congratulations to my daughter Stephanie and her partner Barry. In their first ever event on their own, and using my receiver they really showed me up, managing to find the ‘B’ station and coming in 7th. To ensure that they gained no ‘insider’ information and cheat I even bought them a new map so that no pencil marks from my initial searches and plottings would give them any clues.

Graham Jones

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Geoff Foster 15:49:15 14:21:11 15:49:15
2 Colin Merry 16:13:17 16:13:17 14:42:44
3 Graham Phillips 16:17:19 14:45:32 16:17:19
4 Tim Parker 16:23:43 16:23:43 14:44:34
5 Brian Bristow 16:26:18 16:26:18 15:02:04
6 George Whenham 14:45:48 - 14:45:48
7 Stephanie Jones 14:57:06 - 14:57:06
8 Paul Clarke 15:21:19 15:21:19 -
9 Bill Pechey 15:22:25 - 15:22:25
10 Andy Collett 15:47:59 - 15:47:59