Manchester DF Qualifier
Hosted by South Manchester Radio Club on 23 May 2004

Event Details:

Map: OS Landranger 118 (Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield)
Start Location: Shakerley Mere, NGR SJ 733709
Tea: The Coach and Horses, NGR 890618
First Transmission: 13:20, Shutdown: 16:30
A Transmitter: G3WFT/P, 1910 KHZ, operated by Dave Holland and Chris Heys, overlooking Macclesfield Forest, NGR 974706.
B Transmitter: G3UHF/P, 1843 KHZ, operated by Colin Boyce and Roger Thawley, just off the Staffordshire Way, south of Rudyard Lake, NGR 951563.

Report by Organiser, Chris Plummer G8APB:

Eight teams assembled at the start at the picnic area at Shakerley Mere, and enjoyed the sunshine before the start. The Organiser was not having such a happy time as tests on TX B didn’t get a signal to the start, no matter what the crew tried. Thus come 13:20 weak signals were heard from A but nothing from B, and the envelope was opened. As it turned out this didn’t help most competitors as Chris’s protractor in the office in London was well out and the approx bearing given was outside the + 4km required. A challenge was then thrown down ‘We could always follow the organiser, as he will go off to sort out TX B’ , this was accepted with a comment of ‘Try it’ Chris was in his new toy, a road legal racing car, an 1800cc Caterham 7. No contest as he wheelied out of the car park in a cloud of rubber smoke, dust and hedge debris.

Station A, run by the real G3WFT Dave Holland, with the able assistance of Chris Heys, was sparsely hidden high up in the South-East side of Macclesfield Forest. The view was spectacular and worth the climb just for the view northwest over the Cheshire countryside. This site was perched behind an ancient dry stone wall that must have been there before the forest was planted, rather precariously balanced among the pine trees on a near 45 slope. The site was some 22km due East of the start. If approached from car park at the Field Centre in the centre of the forest, the climb would have caused many a heart attack, but fortunately, most competitors followed the golden rule of ‘going to the top of the hill as it's much easier to run downhill’. First in here was the semi-local Dave Peacock who had followed round the edge of the wood and found the far end of the aerial, not that it did him any good as it soon disappeared in dense pine branches. The SMRC traditional post-Christmas event is run on foot in Macclesfield Forest every boxing day, so Dave knew at least a bit of the area. This first group of four competitors in around 3PM had then to suss out B transmitter, way behind this group came a very sad George Whenham, who besides being exhausted, admitted to having taken a start bearing some 20 off, so had visited many other hills to the North of the Forest on the way to A.

Station B run also by the real G4XWP Colin Boyce (having come up from Torbay on the Friday, for beer and a weekend of sadism) ably helped by Roger Thawley, was hidden in a holly bush just south of a nature reserve at the side of the canal feeder which runs from Rudyard Lake to feed the canal in Leek. Access here was from one of four paths, two of which followed the feeder on the flat, but were both about a mile run in. Having verified that the transmitter was on the air and could be heard quite well at least five miles away, Chris then parked amongst the model railway buffs and walked in to the TX site, and hid with his camera down on the river bank. Andrew Mead emerged from the nature reserve right under the far end of the aerial, and ran south along the rutted meadow, at the same time that Colin Merry ran north towards him. Having then consulted, they decided to beat up anything big enough to hold a TX and crew. The holly bush that Colin and Roger were in took some searching as it was quite large and on a muddy rutted 40 slope. These two got in around 15:10 and then set off for A. They just got to A in time, running down the slope from the top of the wood, so it was just as well the stone wall was there to stop them.

Teams gathered for a well earned pint and a grand tea laid on by Chris’s local pub, the Coach and Horses at Timbersbrook. Andrew Mead's team was on his way home but texted Chris to see the result, and diverted to the pub to collect the SMRC Trophy and first prize, whilst Colin Merry and Rosie collected second prize and first ladies prize respectively. Qualifiers for the National final at Torbay in September were Colin Merry and David Peacock.

Results:

SOUTH MANCHESTER DF QUALIFIER 23-MAY-2004

PLACE

NAME

FINISH

TIME A

TIME B

1

Andrew Mead

16:20:39 16:20:39 15:10:30
2

Colin Merry

16:20:44 16:20:44 15:10:58
3

David Peacock

14:55:39 14:55:39  
4

Steve Stone

14:55:52 14:55:52  
5

Geoff Foster

15:02:48 15:02:48  

6

Roy Emeny 15:03:38 15:03:38  

7

George Whenham 15:52:49 15:52:49  

8

Bill Pechey 16:23:37   16:23:37

The sites were only 14 miles apart by road, with no gated roads to navigate, in fact had the teams located the narrow gauge railway car park, 11 miles of the run was straight up the Main A road from Leek to Macclesfield. Pity more teams didn’t come to the event as it was ideal weather, and not many Sunday drivers about, also a pity more teams didn’t find two transmitters although reportedly three teams were within mile when TX B closed down at 16:30.


TX Directions from Start, 733709:

A Transmitter, 974706:

B Transmitter, 951563:


Photo Gallery, click a photo to enlarge: