I had found this site last year but settled on Ruislip Lido instead. This year I had a look in Oxhey woods and Mad Bess wood, but decided that they were a bit too obvious. The Northwood Gravel Pits were a major source of gravel for mending local roads for over a hundred years, but were worked out by 1898. For a further hundred years they were a public amenity but only developed with pathways from 2004 onwards. Off the pathways, the numerous gullies, very high trees and, as Brian would say 'boonies', made it a good place to hide. It also had plenty of parking around two sides of the area.
The distance seemed about right, given that this was the contest with the most daylight, making it torch less!
Stuart, M0SAR, and I arrived at the site around five o'clock and, with the trusty catapult and fishing reel, made our way to the area that I had previously found. Stuart found the little plateau where we actually hid, thinking it would give us a good view down in all directions. We chose a suitable tree branch about 80 feet up and fired at it. The weight vanished into the tree, but without the line which broke! The second attempt seemed good but the weight stayed up in the tree. A third attempt had the same result! At the fourth try, the weight came down to earth on the far side and enabled us to pull about 180 feet of wire up over the tree and down to the transmitter. We threaded a length of wire through the bushes to create a counterpoise and tested the aerial getting signals into Stanwell and Derby. I was using my new 'micro-transmitter', so quite pleased that it was radiating well, although we later found that the aerial was producing rather a lot of sky-wave giving competitors a hard job in pin-pointing us. Sorry about that, but I thought the big vertical length would radiate a rock crushing ground-wave!
A little before nine o'clock we were startled by a female fox who seemed about ten feet away calling for a mate Ö very loudly! Then we started to hear twigs breaking and general noises of DF competitors, which slowly became closer (and, in some cases, ruder)! Phil Arnold was the first to find us, and then he quickly fled, looking to find Geoffrey with the key. He managed to do so and they became the winners.
For the next eleven minutes we were rather busy as the other nearby competitors found us.
After packing up and returning to the car, we found that Geoffrey had dropped his iPhone, so we returned to the transmitter area where he quickly found it. The moral of the story: have your phone in a bright red carry case!
Back at 'Ye Olde Greene Manne', the results were obtained from the new time-clock, and the winner suitably worshipped!
Thank you all for taking part, and particularly to Stuart, without whom I could not have run it.
|Competitor||Time||Adj. Time||Time Diff.||Score||Bill North|