2014 National Qualifier No. 3

15 June 2014

Having said in an unguarded moment that I would organise this qualifier, the first task was to sort out the tea arrangements. Last year we used the Cosy Cafe at Flackwell Heath and having ascertained that we could use it again, that meant that we would have to use the Reading and Windsor map. I decided to use Lane End as a starting point and looked on the map for likely sites about 15km away. A wood near Kidmore End looked promising and Ockwell's Manor near Maidenhead also looked suitable. Both were about 15km from the start and about 18km apart. During the nice weather at Easter, I walked round both sites and both offered a number of places to hide a transmitter and operator. In the week before the event I went to the sites with the operators and having found a location that they were happy with, we put up an aerial. In both cases the aerial was a simple length of wire put up into nearby trees using the G3XTZ catapult and fishing line method. Min was the operator at Station A, G4MDF/P, which was sited in a wood called New Copse near Gallowstree Common, NGR 695810. Ray was the operator at Station B, G3TRY/P, which was sited in a small wood near to Ockwell's Manor on the outskirts of Maidenhead, NGR 872784. Both sites had a number of possible entrances.

12 teams assembled at Lane End for the start and both stations were heard by everybody at the 1320 start. The majority of teams headed for Station B which as it turned out was probably the best way to it. Those who went to Station A first had a difficult time as the signal seemed to take them to the wrong end of the aerial. Most of the excitement was at Station B which, following Friday nights storm, had turned into a bit of a quagmire as the nearby stream had overflowed. Peter Lisle was the first to arrive on site and the first to find the station at 1441 and then managed to sneak away without being spotted. The other teams on site took almost another 15 minutes to find the operator but once the game was up they all piled in together. At Station A, those arriving from Station B had the same problems with the signal taking them to the wrong end of the aerial. Peter Lisle was the first to find the operator at 1558. The other teams eventually found their way in. 11 teams found Station A and 10 teams found Station B. A special must be made of Ian Butson who managed to find Station A and sneak away without the other competitors noticing and then make his way to Station B - the only competitor to find both stations that way round.

All the competitors made their way to the Cosy Cafe at Flackwell Heath for an excellent tea, followed by the announcement of the result, prizes and the winners' speeches.

John Mullins

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Peter Lisle 15:57:55 15:57:55 14:41:13
2 Graham Phillips 16:00:09 16:00:09 14:54:46
3 Tim Parker 16:07:16 16:07:16 15:03:05
4 Ian Butson 16:18:24 15:06:55 16:18:24
5 George Wenham 16:18:26 16:18:26 15:04:01
6 Mark Coventry 16:21:43 16:21:43 15:03:22
7 Roy Emeny 16:23:42 16:23:42 14:54:29
8 Paul Clark 16:24:03 16:24:03 14:54:13
9 Colin Merry 16:24:55 16:24:55 15:04:17
10 Geoffrey Foster 15:34:47 - 15:34:47
11 Andy Collett 15:57:38 15:57:38 -
12 Alan Simmons 15:58:18 15:58:18 -