2019 National Qualifier No. 1

07 April 2019

Organiser's Report

11 teams assembled at the start in Lane End car park. Both transmitters could be heard at the start although Station A was quite weak. All teams were able to take satisfactory bearings with nobody requiring an approximate bearing.

Station A was operated by Ray and was around 15km from the start on a bearing of 80 degrees. It was situated in a small wood about 1km to the East of Hodgmoor Woods. Station B was operated by Min and was on the Western edge of Dinton Pastures Country Park. It was about 20km from the start on a bearing of 190 degrees. Both sites had power cables nearby which caused a few problems to some competitors. However, once on site, the operators were fairly easy to find as both had simple quarter wave aerials and there wasn't a lot of foliage to provide cover.

The majority of teams headed for station B, perhaps because it was stronger but it was probably the harder station to DF into as there was no footpath marked on the map. As I arrived on the path near station B, Justin was leaving and Alan had already clocked in and gone so it couldn't have been that difficult. Other teams then arrived and found the operator. I then drove to station A which took longer than I had anticipated owing to a 50mph speed limit on the M4. As I arrived at station A, Justin, Roy and Graham had already clocked in and they were soon followd by Paul Clark. With less than a minute to go, Alan appeared and despite being called in he missed the deadline by a minute.

With hindsight, it was probably a bit too difficult because of the distance between the 2 stations. I'll try and do better next time. Despite a forecast of showers, the afternoon stayed dry although cold - so that was a plus!

Teams adjourned for tea, prize giving and speeches at the Fox and Pheasant near Stoke Poges where we were well looked after.

Thanks to Ray and Min for sitting out in the cold and running the two stations.

John Mullins

Winner's Report

Well that was a surprise! I would like to thank John, Min and Ray for running a good opening event to the 2019 DF season. We were lucky with the weather too, though it turned out to be quite a challenging event.

At the start I got one good signal from Min on the southerly B station near Reading, though the bearing I plotted, 181 degrees, was not as good as others managed. Rayís signal from station A, the other side of High Wycombe was barely audible to me and I was thinking of asking for an approximate. I got a sense on the signal and guessed it was in the Beaconsfield area. As no-one else seemed to be needing an approximate I decided I didnít need one either.

Heading south, I considered stopping near Maidenhead for the 14:00 transmissions, but thought better of it and continued further south stopping on a country lane south of Paley Street about 1 min after the TX came up as I struggled to find a good spot for taking bearings. My bearing said the TX was probably in the Dinton Pastures Country Park area, so I set off heading away from the line to try and get a cross. After driving for about a mile or two, the TX was still on, so I stopped again and got another bearing. This was not quite as good it turned out and I thought the Tx was closer, in the area of Surrells Wood. So I spent a few minutes touring the area looking for likely locations and not finding any. I stopped on a junction due west of Binfield, near Straight Mile Farm and waited for another transmission. This reconfirmed the Dinton Pastures area and I made my way there. Arriving in a housing estate on the outskirts of Woodley, I. came across Alan his friends white van, waiting for a transmission. I decided to wait there too and shortly up came the TX and I got a solid 199 degrees and my set said probably less than 1km. I drove a couple of hundred yards parking up at the entrance to a footpath I knew existed. Unfortunately Alan was behind me so followed me in. Once on site , under the power lines! the Tx came up and we both ran in the general direction of the ponds and swamp. Here Alan managed to sneak in and out of the Tx before me! I managed to get back to the car just in time to see Alan and white van man driving away. I took the M4, A404, M40 to junction 2, I did not hear the A station during the journey. Just coming off the slip road the A station Tx came on and I stopped in a lay-by for a bearing that said due north. I checked out Hodgemoor Woods, but saw nothing that indicated DFers were about. The TX came up and said due west, though not too strong. I meandered my way west, looking for likely indications of DFers, finding none and ended up in Penn Bottom when the TX came on and said back due east! Now I was wondering which bit of woodland it could be and decided to go to Winchmore Hill to try and get a cross on the 4pm transmission. Fortunately I got a reasonable indication and headed back towards the south end of Coleshill to stop and get out for the run down hill from the north. I fully expected the Tx to be in the bottom of the valley and almost ran down there. The TX came on and it took me a moment to realise it was behind me and I ran back up the hill and into the corner of the triangular bit of woodland where I found Roy also searching. I was determined I had to find the Tx first and I got lucky when Roy failed to spot the operator propped up against a tree and walked off around some fallen trees and bushes. I immediately looked in the same area, found the operator!

Considering it was now gone 16:20 and all the faffing about I had done trying to locate the stations, I was convinced any teams going the other way round would have long since found Min, but it turns out not so. Only at the end of the event did it begin to rain too.

Thanks again to John, Min and Ray. Thanks also for the good variation in intervals between transmissions (not just every 15mins like some events). Thanks also for the good turn out of teams.

Justin Snow

Report from Station B

John and I went and found the site about a month before the event. On the Wednesday prior to the contest we again visited the site to put up aerials. We did not put a great length out due to losing some of our wire in frantic 'Abbott and Costello' antics in trying to gain some height from the transmitter.† We were concerned on two fronts not to make the site too difficult given the distance between the two stations and the power lines that were close to each transmitter.

John and I both thought that access from the competitors would be from the lay-by on the Amersham/Beaconsfield Road just above and opposite the pub. However that wasn't the case and those who did get to me came in from the north. However that is where I parked my car up from the lay-by, and a long walk with about 5 layers on got me in a state before getting on site. Luckily the aerial was in place, and soon had got connected up, and did a test with John at the start who said I heard me but rather faintly. The time clock was set at an hour in arrears, someone forgot about BST last week-end.† The bearing from the start to the site would have been 80 degrees.†

All very quiet until about 14.40 when the first visitor was Peter Lisle and his good lady, good eyesight from her, as she spotted me whilst Peter was struggling a little. Next was Geoffrey on his own, about ten minutes later. Then a long gap until after 4pm. I had heard from Min that he had seen a few, so I did step up the transmissions† from 3.45 onwards, they had been exactly ten minutes apart. It was obvious it was going to be a tight finish between those who came to me first, and to keep it fair no help was given at all as to where either of us was situated. Three more teams came in in a rush at about 4.20, firstly Justin, then Roy, followed by Graham.†

I enjoyed the afternoon, hope you all did, and hope to see you more this coming season when Bowls doesn't clash.V

Ray Goodearl

Min Standen has also sent a report as A station operator - click here to see it.

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Justin Snow 16:18:01 16:18:01 14:49:52
2 Roy Emeny 16:19:17 16:19:17 15:00:11
3 Graham Phillips 16:22:12 16:22:12 15:10:42
4 Paul Clark 16:26:32 16:26:32 15:03:20
5 Peter Lisle 14:42:18 14:42:18
6 Alan Simmons 14:45:38
7 Geoffrey Foster 15:27:16 15:27:16
8 Rosie Merry 15:37:52
9 Richard Scott 16:05:08
10 Graham Jones 16:05:23
11 George Whenham