2013 National Qualifier No. 1

21 April 2013

Six teams started the event from the car park at Backwell Lake in the northern end of the W-S-M map number 182. The teams included Martin Jones who was entering his first event though his navigator, Dave Dyer does have some experience in direction finding!

Colin Boyce and Graham Jones drove over 250 miles in the bitter weather conditions trying to find two suitable sites for the stations, but a combination of the general lack of high quality locations and the total lack of ground cover made this a rather daunting task. Having initially scoured the Bristol & Bath Map No 172 we decided on two locations on the old W-S-M map. One of these sites was in Stockhill Woods, a rather large pine wood that we used about six years ago; its distance was just a shade over 20 Kms from the start. The main difficulty of this site was the vast quantities of pine needles that found their way into competitor’s socks and underwear! Graham operated the station G3TRY/P which consisted of a dipole about 160 meters long and sited about 47 feet away from the path.

Colin operated G4CUE/P from a ‘swamp’; his station located a mere 0.75 km from the start but very near to both a railway line and two small fishing lakes. A simple long wire aerial and short counterpoise ending in the lake and fed via some attenuation to hopefully trick the competitors completed the station.

Two signals could be heard at the start.... not too strong but both quite readable. Colin Merry surprised Graham by appearing soon after the 5th transmission just after 2.30pm having spotted Graham’s camouflage net (some camouflage huh)! All the competitors found G3TRY/P though it was difficult to penetrate the thick forest and all competitors now hate the sight of pine needles!

As hoped, all teams drove a long way past Colin’s station and had to return. Dick Brocks and Paul Clark even made it to Weston-Super-Mare having rejected the location that he first thought that Colin may be hiding as it was far too near to the start! Colin was very near to the foot-path and with a little searching all but one of the teams found him without too much difficulty.

The event seemed to run very well but it was very disappointing to put so much effort into staging an event for so few teams to turn up. I wonder if it is worth running any more events in the West Country and should we have a minimum of teams entering an event to make it viable?

Many thanks to the teams who turned up today and special thanks to Colin Boyce and Bob England for helping to set everything up.

Lastly well done to Martin for finding two stations on his first event.

Graham Jones

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Colin Merry 15:48:52 15:48:52 14:33:32
2 Dick Brocks 16:10:08 16:10:08 15:22:40
3 Geoffrey Foster 16:10:14 16:10:14 15:14:55
4 Chris Plummer 16:21:36 16:21:36 15:16:49
5 Martin Jones 16:22:36 16:22:36 15:18:30
6 Andy Collett 16:00:46 - 16:00:46