2009 National Qualifier No. 1

05 April 2009

Ten teams assembled at Stansted Village Hall on a beautiful sunny day. Competitors took bearings from the adjacent village green. The aerials had been put up on the preceding Friday and Saturday and tested. Station B, to the South was a little stronger than we would have liked, but this proved useful on the day as there was QRM on frequency at the event’s start due to a QSO. Station A was to the south west, and weaker. Most teams managed to get a decent bearing on both, except Andy Collet whose set was not working well at the start until he hit it in the right place.

Most teams headed off for the weaker station A first. A couple of teams thought that they would use the M26 motorway, unfortunately they did not study the map well and found themselves well off the map in Surrey for the 2 o’clock bearing!

The hunt had been planned by finding a couple of sites with good undergrowth (not easy this early in the season) and running fairly long aerials at each. The idea being that people spent time on foot thrashing through the undergrowth at the sites rather than it being a ‘road race’.

Station A was hidden in a thicket of holly bushes containing lots of fallen trees, from the hurricane in 1987, which affected this area of Scords Wood near Toys Hill quite badly. The operator, Ray, was concealed within the root of a large fallen tree.

At station B, in Dene wood, (Forestry Commission) the aerial had been strung through rhododendron bushes and down a valley into a boggy area in the hope of tempting teams into having a paddle. The operator, Ian, an ex-Dartford Heath club member dug himself in and covered himself in leaves as far as possible. He commented ‘I've never seen such a close finish as the first two, they just came crashing through the undergrowth which had given us so much trouble, in more or less a straight line, as if it was just long grass!’

The two sites were also relatively close together, but with no easy route between the two for people to practise their navigation skills.

All teams successfully located both stations. Congratulations to the winning team consisting of Peter Lisle and son, despite the wrong turning on the motorway. Brian was second by only a matter of seconds. Well done also to Steve Stone, on his own, who also fell foul of the motorway junction at Sevenoaks (or lack of). Peter and Brian Qualify for the final.

Tea was enjoyed back at the village hall and was provided by Lynn (ex-Dartford Heath), Marj and Rosie, with Colin also being chief trifle maker. Thanks to everyone who helped and for people coming to support us. Hope you all had a good day.

Colin and Rosie Merry

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Peter Lisle 15:22:30 14:41:34 15:22:30
2 Brian Bristow 15:22:50 14:41:45 15:22:50
3 Steve Stone 15:45:46 14:52:27 15:45:46
4 Roy Emeny 15:46:23 14:50:45 15:46:23
5 Bill Pechey 15:51:42 14:43:05 15:51:42
6 Geoffrey Foster 15:53:54 14:50:56 15:53:54
7 Andy Collett 15:56:21 14:50:50 15:56:21
8 George Whenham 16:16:33 14:50:40 16:16:33
9 Tim Parker 16:24:30 15:41:53 16:24:30
10 Graham Phillips 16:24:51 16:24:51 15:06:23