Mid Essex Trophy   14/10/12

Operator Roy  G4 JAC  with 10 Txs
Start Tiptree Heath,  Site  Hilly Fields to North Station, divided  by Cymbeline Way.
Times 1:00 - 4:00 pm.  Tea at 'The Cricketers'.

In view of the history of this event a 'two site' area was chosen and with a trophy at stake I planned to give the old hands a good run for their money. 

All the land used is owned by the council with farmland being let out to a tenant farmer. Thanks to the lady living in the house by the T of Moat for giving me all the contact information.  With the Council Wardens and Farmer all happy, a week before the event I was wandering the Hilly Fields (near the College) full of confidence that all would go well. 

Then I saw a sign advertising a cycling event on .......... 14/10/12!   I contacted the chap running this for the East Anglian Region, he was as put out as I was that the Council had not mentioned the clash.  We agreed that DFers could cross the cycle tracks provided they took reasonable care.

On the day I arrived early so I could set up everything on the North side of the A133 and leave plenty of time to find locations for Txs amongst the cycle tracks. By 10 am there were hundreds of people and bikes! The tracks were taped off and looked very much "Don't cross this" despite the fact that a conversation with one of their officials confirmed that we could.  Clearly DFers would be put off by this!  

So, with reluctance I had to locate the Txs outside the lovely wooded area in the triangle of footpaths under the word College.  Fortunately there was a lay-by with a large hole in the fence see P1 below.   This gave access to fields and dog walking paths, Jolly Joker L and its Micros were set up as shown. H was more of a problem, I didn't want it too close to my second 'beginners' area but it had to have access without going across the cycle tracks, with time now pressing I decided to add distance rather than depth of hide and put it on the path beside the College. Starter Graham was contacted; not wishing to mention the cycle event as posters were everywhere, the phrase "Take care near fast moving objects but don't be put off by them" was passed on.

P 1-5  are the possible parking spaces (slightly moved to make letters show up)  There is a tunnel under the railway from P4 (top right).  Two beginners areas (for Richard and Pam)  were centred on Jolly Jokers K and L.  Tim was given an A Joker so that he would bring Richard to me at the main Tx for a bit of tuition, while Graham took a Jolly Joker, which should allow him to take Pam to one of the beginners' areas.  

So what happened .........?
What a beautiful day, the sun is shining and if the Maxi signals aren't enough surely the gentle steam rising from the dung heap will have someone heading this way soon.....

Yes there is Colin, ........ but no, he runs off to the South.  Where can Tim and, more important, Richard be?  (Answer ... they parked 2 - 3Km to the North of the site).

At last!  Here they come,  and yes,  Graham and Pam too.

Richard and Pam are told to listen for K and then search for X and Y in the top wood.

Soon Richard is back and he is sent in search of the Micros to the South using L as a guiding beacon.

First beginners' area - all very pleasant but where are those pesky Txs?

The original path running North has been duplicated on higher and drier ground but of course most of the old hands preferred the swamp and brambles!

Hey guys, it's easy just follow the new Farm Trails .........  hmmm, I don't think they are listening.

Note the small bridge under 'e' of Westhouse on the map above, sadly this led nowhere but a very high fence, definitely not the way to L (Rosie's very Unjolly Joker).  I suspect from Philip's comments in his report (see bottom) that he also used this bridge rather than the large one to the East - a very pleasant walk!

Larby signals that his sense is broken and he doesn't know which way to go to A ....  ....... just follow your nose.

Richard did remarkably well on just his 2nd event, especially after a very long initial run; Colin got 4 of the Minis but his set was too deaf to hear the Micros.  However, there is just one very clear winner - a 'staggering' performance by young Philip, 3 Txs better than anyone else.  Very well done!

So how did he do it?  ......

Mid- Essex teams prove they still have balls. 

The initial gathering of the brave Essex wild men (and Women) was Tiptree. A bright glorious day, with seven teams taking the field. To the normal risks, new dangers had been added and we were warned to watch out for ‘high speed objects’. Fathoming out what these latest fiendish innovations were, pre-occupied me most of the afternoon. 

A huge signal, transmitted from a portable station which was giving out its location? (Bradwell-On-Sea). Another innovation perhaps, no just some other amateur doing weird stuff on a Sunday afternoon and swamping the airwaves. We waited another five minutes and whilst some managed bearings in the right direct we still broke open the approximate just in case.

Through Tiptree village and up onto the A12, northbound, the Maxi A regularly coming up on its new frequency – 1978 KHz. This made it easier to switch the in-car set between transmissions, down to the minis on 1960 with nothing coming up until after I just missed the turning for Eight Ash Green, when the first could just be heard, so slipped down the turning for Colchester and the roundabout, before pulling into Spring lane in time to catch the Maxi.

After a brief trip in the wrong direction, it became clear I had landed, so drove into The Chase Way and the Cymbeline Meadows farm trail. Parked in Front of the Football club, who were in full swing, was this where the flying objects were going to come from?
Locked onto ‘I’ which seemed really close, the signal took me north through some paddocks, across Lexden Dyke and onto the Golf Green - hard hat time! Eventually found my way back onto a footpath which led me into some woodland right next to the railway. Took a couple of transmissions to pin the mini down where I picked up 40 points and two golf balls (ex-high speed objects). Checked for micros and heard ‘W’ which was strong but actually miles away. Also picked up on A & K but decided I had to make for my joker ‘L’. Passed by Graham and Pam on my way south and also managed to miss J slightly to the west as I approached and crossed the river Colne.  Then ran into the hedge-line for the A133 and had to climb a fairly high fence before coming face to face with streams of more ‘high speed objects’ going in both directions, making it really difficult to cross the road on a busy Sunday afternoon. On the other side of the road and onto Hilly Fields, finding micro ‘W’ with 40 points. Then approaching the wood found this was taped off as there were more ‘High Speed objects’ careering round on bikes. Eventually found ‘L’ close by on the right side of the cordoned off area, with 40 more points and after a chat with a local Radio Ham, found micro ‘Z’ and 40 more.


Time to post some points, with a long run before a turn towards a large heap of manure, Roy has thought of everything. Managed to get on the wrong side of the hedge so missed ‘A’, but picked up on X close by, with Rosy then in hot pursuit on ‘K’. Went back to A, picked up the points left there and posted all collected so far and went back to find micro Y, which I had feared was way off with H, but was only a bit further up the line towards Colchester. 

Met up with Colin, posted final points at about 3.30 pm as Graham and Pam appeared again and we waited for the contest to finish.  By then having run miles, finding nine Tx, I was tired, cold and knackered, so collected J and sat in the car trying to warm up before making for the pub. The new frequencies had worked well for me, with a better grouping on the dial and a logical progression from Micros on 1915 and 1930 up to Minis on 1960 through to the maxi. So whilst the Tx where hard to find, the frequencies were easier to pin down during the confusion of the contest.

Thanks for the report and pictures Philip.
The league table is here, note that those receiving a Wild Joker are not added to the league.