We were very lucky to have good weather for the event and also, on the Saturday, for setting up the antennas. All three stations had similar antennas; a 100-metre main antenna plus a quarter-wave counterpoise. This combination is an easy match for the transmitters and often causes confusion on site because teams are led towards the current peak about 40 metres from the far end of the antenna rather than to the transmitter. This strategy seemed to work well on station B but less so on the others.
Even though there was a good distance between Station A and the other two, the A34 made it quick to travel between all the stations.At the start, some people had difficulty with station B and an approximate bearing was given.
The A station was operated by Min Standen and was located on the side of a pond in Little Wittenham Wood. The location is a classic one where it is important to be sure whether the station is north of the river or south. Making a mistake can cost a lot of time. Several competitors resolved the ambiguity by going down to the river at Day’s Lock and taking a bearing from there. The area around the station was full of fallen trees, rotting piles of logs hidden under scrubby undergrowth etc. Nevertheless, competitors seemed to have little difficulty getting in.
Steve Stone operated the B station. It was in Great Pen Wood, just south of Newbury. Steve was in the middle of a large dense thicket made of young saplings. There were very few thorny plants and it was easily possible to walk through without leaving a track for others to follow. Some people found the station fairly easily but others had a lot of difficulty. The main length of the antenna was in the adjacent woodland.
Station C was located near the top of Beacon Hill, near the bottom of the map. Brian Bristow was the operator. There was quite a lot of woodland on the sides of the hill but it was not shown on the map. Brian was in a clump of blackthorn bushes in his usual tent. Fred, the dummy torso, was in a similar clump of bushes nearby. It was a steep climb up the hill and Brian heard several cases of heavy breathing from competitors. It was very difficult to reach this station without incurring cuts, scratches and thorns. The antenna went down the slope, ending by almost encircling a clearing.
Graham Phillips astounded everyone by finishing just after half-past three! He had two strokes of luck by arriving at the nearest parking space at both station B and station C, intending to take a bearing. Congratulations to Graham.
Tim Parker won the Trevor Gage cup for coming second and the lady’s prize went to Philippa in Graham Jones’ team.
My thanks go to the three operators and to Doreen, who prepared the tea singlehandedly.
|Position||Competitor||Finish||Time A||Time B||Time C|