Staffordshire DF Qualifier
Hosted by South Manchester Radio Club on 26 May 2002

Event Details:
Map: OS Landranger 127 (Stafford and Telford)
Start Location: Near a nature reserve, NGR 896039 (but everyone moved up the road to 898044)
Tea: Hilton Park Services (Southband), NGR 963052
First Transmission: 13:20, Shutdown: 16:30
A Transmitter: G3FVA/P, 1910 KHZ, operated by Chris Plummer, below power station south of the River Severn on the Shropshire Way underneath pylons, NGR 654034
B Transmitter: G3UHF/P, 1843 KHZ, operated by Roger Thawley in Cannock Chase Forest, NGR 993173

Report by Chris Plummer:
The Stafford National DF qualifier was run on the Telford and Stafford map as a last minute fill in for a blank date in the normal 8 rounds of qualifier dates, thus the start near Codsall had to be chosen with a pin and was set more for its location nearest to most competitors, than for bearings to the two transmitters. In the event most competitors moved about a half mile to a nominally closed minor road which gave more space for bearings. This move may have made later matters worse as it was nearer to pylons than the set start.

At the due time transmissions were heard from both transmitters, and bearings plotted. As it turned out if the A transmitter could not have been heard the competitors would have had a much better approximate bearing than the ones they actually took. Most teams plotted about 340-360 degrees, whereas the approximate bearing would have given them 280 degrees (the actual one being 275 degrees). The bearings on B were better being roughly NNE of the start. This general northerly set of bearings led most teams to tramp way up the map, some getting beyond Stafford. Thus at 2pm they could only hear B, and thus assumed they had gone too far for a low power transmitter for A and went back near the start. In fact A was transmitting quite high power (for a DF transmitter at any rate, 6 watts) but was 22 km west of the start.

Station A, run by Chris Plummer, was hidden in woodland to the South of Ironbridge power station with its aerial deliberately loading up a pylon. It is true, this was intended to confuse the competitors, but only locally. As it happens no single competitor found the site let alone the TX crew at all, and when it was analysed at the tea later, it was found that the power line over the TX traversed the map to within 2 miles north of the start. Some teams went for this one first and thus got frustrated, and then went for B coming well down the field. Others just said it was part of the game, and if they had done it rather than Chris, they would have been declared a resounding success. In fact one said he had been trying to do this for years, but never succeeded as well as this.

Station B, run by a newcomer to DF, Roger Thawley, was hidden in fairly dense conifer woodland at Parr's Warren on Cannock Chase. The spiral of wire radiated nicely throughout the afternoon, but Roger's fair hair eventually gave him away to the stampeding searchers. All teams found this station, and thus the results were declared on one station.

Due to greedy publicans wanting 10+ for a finger buffet, Chris had to organise a last minute tea at Hilton Park Motorway services, this turned out very well, and enjoyed by all who came.

Congratulations to Paul Clark, and Geoff Foster and their teams for being 1st and 2nd and also qualifying for the final, and to Rosie Merry as 1st Lady. See photographs below for the happy (or so) faces at the tea.

Thanks to all those who supported this last minute event, Roger who was conned into being a TX crew, and the tax man who will pay some of Chris's 350 mileage organising the event.

Chris Plummer

Results:

STAFFORDSHIRE DF QUALIFIER 26-MAY-2002

PLACE

TEAM

NAME

FINISH

TIME A

TIME B

1

3

Dick Brocks

14:21:57

 

14:21:57

2

6

Geoff Foster

14:34:27

 

14:34:27

3

11

Colin Merry

14:35:10

 

14:35:10

4

4

Andy Collett

14:50:41

 

14:50:41

5

7

Steve Stone

14:51:50

 

14:51:50

6

1

Chris Heys

15:06:23

 

15:06:23

7

5

George Whenham

15:06:30

 

15:06:30

8

9

Andrew Mead

15:07:13

 

15:07:13

9

8

Alan Simmons

15:46:01

 

15:46:01

10

10

Roy Emeny

16:13:17

 

16:13:17

TX Directions from Start, 898044:

A Transmitter, 654034:

B Transmitter, 993173:


Photo Gallery, click a photo to enlarge: