W.A.D.A.R.C. - North Wales D.F. Challenge
Sunday 10th September 2006
September 10th 2006 will be remembered for a number of reasons in the world of amateur radio. For a start, it was the end of the weekend during which the Leicester Rally was held. It was a glorious day weather-wise, but most importantly, it was the date of the Wirral & District amateur Radio Club North Wales D.F. Challenge.
At ten o’clock in the morning, 7 teams assembled at the Clwyd Gate Restaurant’s car park near Ruthin. Although this was a lower turn out than on previous occasions, it was good to see a new face – Gordon G8MMM, the W.A.D.A.R.C. Chairman, in one of the teams. The weather conditions were perfect and the fox, G4BKF was already in hiding 14 miles away at N.G.R. SH961530. The nature of the terrain in the search area posed a number of obstacles to even the most experienced Fox Hunter. Not least of these were the overhanging tree branches which converted Barrie (G4DEJ)’s two metre mag-mount into three 70cm antennae “at a stroke” as he passed beneath. Reflections and R.F. “Black Holes” between mountains were other hazards for the unwary searcher. Several teams became worried when they had not heard the fox for over half an hour and they began to develop that “lonely feeling“ in the middle of the Clocaenog Forrest. Not one-man team G3UVR though, Dennis of legendary “I’m a radio Amateur. Get me out of here!” transmission fame during last spring’s foxhunt (after becoming trapped in the forest), redeemed himself by arriving at the fox in just 1hour 20 minutes. The fox was situated in a small hill side quarry overlooking the Lynn Alwen reservoir dam. Although in a bright red car, and only 50 yards from a road, several teams passed close by and continued their search for the fox, oblivious of his proximity. Nevertheless, all teams bar one (who was still looking for bits of his antenna) eventually found him before the end of the morning hunt.
The Sportsman’s Arms provided both lunch time sustenance and a good starting point for the teams who prepared for the afternoon hunt. During lunch, the “new boy” G8MMM expressed his indignation that the morning fox had broadcast a misleading clue by saying he was situated between two reservoir lakes, because his (G8MMM)’s map only showed one reservoir! Much hilarity ensued when Gordon was invited to check the publication date of his O.S. Map and compare it with the completion date of the Brenig Reservoir (1976!!!).
The two foxes departed to their lairs. Bob, G4NCI established himself on the shore of Lynn Brenig at N.G.R. SH982574 while Tom G4BKF set up his station at N.G.R. SJ051451 – a couple of hundred yards from the edge of the search area. All of the participating six teams took bearings on both foxes at the start – and then the fun began! As the hunters spread out in pursuit of their chosen first fox, they soon discovered that there were few locations in the search area where either of them could be heard. Eventually, five of the six teams did detect a signal from G4BKF and began to close on him.
One by one, they found him parked on the side of a narrow country road. First to arrive was Dennis G3UVR in 1hour 33 Minutes followed 20 minutes later by Team G8DEJ (who has given new meaning to the phrase “mobile Antenna”) After exchanging the customary handshake with the fox, each team sped off in search of G4NCI. Meanwhile, team G4OAR however decided to go after G4NCI first. Considering this fox was situated on the shore of a huge lake with the expectation of a good “take off”, the surrounding hills were very R.F. unfriendly. Consequently, G4OAR and all of the teams who had found G4BKF first, failed to discover Bob before the official end of the contest. However, Bob stayed on air for another half hour giving out clues and was eventually found by team G4OAR and then G3UVR. So a moral victory to Dennis, G3UVR – the only one to find both foxes - well done!
Lessons learned for the next DF:
1) Check publication dates of your map
2) Read the rules concerning the search area boundaries
3) Regular transmissions from the fox(es)
4) Check the integrity and flexibility of any mag-mount antenna you may have on the top of your car!
FINALLY a date for your DIARY:-
next fun day out in North Wales, for the 2007 WADARC D.F. Challenge
Sunday 22nd April 2007 (Fourth Sunday in April)
Final Results for the Day
If you know of anyone else who would like to join in our DF activities, please contact Tom at email@example.com
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