When it was known that Chris Plummer was off to foreign parts and would not be able to run the usual South Manchester National Qualifier and was after volunteers, I stepped forward. Early on, I soon found problems in that people asked to help (who where more than willing) could only give me a possible for the given date. After asking on the web site, I was given the name of Neil Woodley, from Leek, who has been of tremendous assistance even getting his fiancée Ann and her daughter, Grace, to make the teas, who, along with my wife helping, did a fantastic job of feeding the competitors and operators. Roger Thawley and Chris Heys were those operators; they deserve thanks for travelling down from Manchester.
When planning the locations for the sites there is much to choose from on the Stafford and Telford map but with very hot weather in abundance I did not want anyone keeling over with a long run up the Wrekin, although it was nice to let the competitors think that was a possibility. Eventually the locations of Gnosall Heath and Adamston where chosen; Gnosall Heath because the old railway would provide excellent cover and it was roughly half way between Newport and Stafford with main A road access and Admaston because of the amount of greenery around that was not shown on the map.
Station A G3FVA/P 1910kHz was located just to the East of Gnosall Heath, NGR SJ832204 on a disused railway, near a rather unusual double bridge with a stream under a farm track with the track above. Around this area was plenty of the wet stuff even in drought conditions! Good thick vegetation made this an ideal hide, but a bit too obvious, so Roger decided that he would hide almost out in the open where the competitors hopefully would not look. With wire easily on view around the area, the stage was set, but unfortunately with copious amounts of wire used the signal was not heard from the start 13km away.
Station B G3UHF/P 1843kHz was located at Admaston to the north east of Telford and 28km from the start NGR SJ 638129 this area is a young planted wood and not shown as a green area on the map, so when I discovered it I had to make use of it. Unfortunately the fuse went while tuning up and by the time this was sorted, the first transmission was missed but we were back on air for the rest of the contest. All competitors made this their last station to find with Andy Mead being first at 15:24, with George Whenham bringing up the rear and only just before shutdown at 16:27.
With all eight teams finding both transmitters, I think everyone enjoyed their day out except for yet again Brian who got a farmer closing a gate on him, to let the cows through but there were none in sight, so a rather irate Brian had to turn round and go back 4 miles.
|Position||Competitor||Finish||Time A||Time B|