The Echelford qualifier got off to a good start as the weather was fine and dry in contrast to the preceding days of heavy rain and 10 teams assembled on the green at Pirbright to await the first transmissions at 1320. The map being used was the Aldershot and Guildford map. Station A, operated by Chris, G0JSH was situated approximately 10km to the south at Puttenham Common by a lake known as the General's Pond (NGR 911 463). Station B was situated 25km south of the start in a small wood by a stream near Shillinglee Park (NGR 965 312) and was operated by myself, M0MRY with assistance from Peter, G3YAS. A good signal was heard from station A but station B was very weak although most teams managed to get an acceptable bearing.
The next transmission at 1400 caused a few problems as some teams were unable to hear station B although they had travelled some way south from the start. Those that didn't hear station B assumed it was back near the start and went in pursuit of station A.
At station B, things started to happen at around 1450 when Roy's warbling set could be heard nearby. However, his team were on the wrong side of a small river and spent a lot of time thrashing about in thick vegetation in a swampy area. At around 1500, Alan Simmons appeared and soon spotted the station, clocked in and set off for station A. Shortly afterwards, the Torbay Tigers appeared, followed a bit later by Roy who had finally found the right side of the river.
There was then a gap until other teams started to arrive, having gone to station A first. First in was Steve Stone at a few minutes before 1550. Geoff Foster followed a bit later. Ten minutes later there was a crash and a splash behind me as Colin Merry tried to cross the stream on a rotten branch and got his feet wet! Two more teams followed before closedown at 1630.
The competitors retired to Pirbright Village Hall where David Ryan, (Mr X) ably assisted by Peter Cousins provided an excellent spread.
Both stations were located very close to water... Station A had an inverted "U" antenna, about 150 feet long and 45 feet high with the far end terminated to a wire fence which ran along the footpath. This was intended to throw competitors off the scent, but it didn't work!
Station B had a similar antenna, but about 200 feet long without any termination at the far end. For some reason this seemed to produce a rather weak groundwave signal with very directional lobes.
Stuart, M0SAR kindly handled the start at Pirbright, and after seeing the competitors off, drove down to Station A to do a little spying and videoing.
In the end, 8 out of the 10 teams had managed to find both stations in time, and no-one did it very quickly, so I think the degree of difficulty was about right.
|Position||Competitor||Finish||Time A||Time B|