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160 metre (Top Band) Events

Most of these events are basically the same. The differences are the number of transmitters to find, the duration of the event and the times of transmissions. A qualifying event is described.

These take place on Sunday afternoons starting at 13:20 local time. The start location is published in advance as a map reference. All competitors assemble at the start and sign in, paying for the tea. Most competitors arrive early and eat a picnic lunch while chatting about DF and things in general. Some competitors go to a nearby public house for a more liquid lunch.

Just before 13:20 everyone gets out their receivers and goes to stand away from all obstructions. At 13:20 precisely, two transmitters transmit for 4 minutes in morse code followed by 2 minutes of speech.

Click here to hear a sample of the morse (DFCW.WAV 264 kB).

The morse is "TEST DF TEST DF DE G4CFG/P"

- . ... -   -..  ..-.   - . ... -   -..  ..-.   -.. .   --.  ....-   -.-.   ..-.  --.   -..-.   .--.

Click here to hear a sample of the speech (DFVOICE.WAV 126kB).

Having taken bearings on both signals the competitors plot their bearings on the map and decide where to go for the next transmission . They get in their cars and drive there.

At 14:00 both transmitters transmit 2 minutes of morse followed by 2 minutes of voice. The competitors again take bearings on one or both transmitters. It is possible to take one bearing, drive a short distance and take a second bearing within these 4 minutes. The bearings are again plotted and a decision (more accurately termed a guess) is made as to where the transmitter might be. Then it is back into the car and drive towards this guess taking more bearings if necessary. Transmissions are now randomly timed: no more than 15 minutes off and no less than 2 minutes on.

When the competitor believes he is close enough he leaves the car and proceeds on foot. When close to the transmitter the aerial wire might be seen but as this could be a mile long, high up or routed through dense bushes it can still take quite a time to find the transmitter operator who is likely to be dressed in camouflage gear and hiding in a bush. Having found the operator and had his card entered into the special clock it is back to the car and off to find the second station.

At 16:00 there is another scheduled transmission followed by almost continuous transmissions until 16:15 after which transmissions are continuous until the end of the contest at 16:30.

The winner usually finds both transmitters by about 15:30, having driven about 40 miles and run another 2 or 3 miles not counting the distance covered running around searching for the transmitters .

All the competitors then go to tea, usually a salad with plenty of cups of tea at a pub, village hall, or scout hut. During tea competitors exchange stories of how they would have won if only...  The clocks from the transmitters are connected to a computer which does the calculations and after tea the results are announced and prizes awarded. The winners then get a chance to depress everyone else with how easy they thought it all was.