2009 National Qualifier No.3

17 May 2009

The Torbay DF was held on Sunday 17th May. Start, as usual, was at Woodbury Common.

The nine assembled teams knew that they were in for a hard DF - it was Torbay and to be expected.

Luckily the downpours of the morning eased off and it developed into a fine afternoon (for which the soaked transmitter operators were truly grateful).

Station A was heard by all at the start, being only 8km away, but station B was only heard by five of the teams. Station B was 21km from the start, but it was the heavy rain that had probably knocked the signal down as we were using the fence in a novel way. Those that did take bearings on B did seem to get reasonable results.

Eight of the nine teams headed to station B, situated 8km due East of Cullompton at North Hill. This area, dotted with rhododendrons, backed onto the gliding club field, separated by a barbed wire fence. Matthew, the operator, was hidden about 4ft off the ground in a small unimportant looking tree at this boundary fence. The base of the tree was clear so it was obvious no transmitter operator was there! The transmitter was connected to the top barbed wire of the fence and grounded to an earth stake at the base of the tree (and out of view). The main visible antenna wire was connected to the fence a quarter wave away from the tree with two earth stakes earthing the top wire a quarter wave the other way from the tree and a half wave from the tree beyond the antenna wire connection. These earth stakes forced the signal up the antenna wire which was several hundred metres long and finally earthed in yet another earth stake in - yes a rhododendron bush.

This antenna system kept some of the finest DFers running around for nearly an hour. Matthew tried to help the situation by giving out more transmissions, but it was only when Rosie spied the earth stake at the base of the tree that the game was up and station B was found. A wave of teams now headed for station A, situated on a disused railway line at Harpford Wood near Newton Poppleford.

I thought I had been sitting alone at station A but one fine team had come to get me first! From my point of view I heard no one on site until 4:05pm when shouting and panting came from Brian scaling the hill up to me. Had I known, George and Phil had been researching the station A antenna system since 3pm. They had found both earth stakes in the valley and after many re-visits were convinced I wasn't near them. They had, after careful inspection of the wire, found the T that connected to me. It went up into the trees and over the valley to me. This painstaking work served Brian well as he arrived just at the right time to use this information and beat George up the hill to me.

Brian's shouts of joy at being first in brought other teams up the hill to me which was probably a good thing as time was running out.

Paul Clark

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Brian Bristow 16:08:42 16:08:42 15:15:34
2 Andy Collett 16:11:06 16:11:06 15:14:15
3 Rosie Merry 16:17:16 16:17:16 15:12:04
4 Steve Stone 16:17:34 16:17:34 15:13:35
5 Bill Pechey 16:22:50 16:22:50 15:14:04
6 Graham Jones 16:25:07 16:25:07 15:17:41
7 Richard Brocks 16:29:13 16:29:13 15:13:45
8 Graham Phillips 15:19:08 - 15:19:08
9 George Whenham 16:08:51 16:08:51 -