April 14th 2013
Start Great Bentley Green      Times 12:30 - 3:30 pm
Site Hilly Fields Country Park Colchester   Tea  was at The Cricketers, Eight Ash Green
Operator Roy G4JAC

A small site but it still kept them busy.  
Summary of the new format for 2013:
GREEN - long transmission and easily accessible .. through to RED  short transmissions and well hidden.
Txs are now in pairs, A leads to B.  F leads to G  etc.  Gaps in alphabet make pairs obvious.
All Txs are timed and identified by Morse.  The old continuous bleeping Micros are only used for initial training.
Having a range of difficulty makes it possible to entertain beginners and experts on the same event.
Green and Yellow Txs can be approached without being stung or scratched making at least part of these events attractive to a wider audience.
The intention is to shift the emphasis more towards radio/ear/thinking skills and away from physical endurance.

My car was parked just in front of these railings handy for Maxi A about 50 m into the trees to the left.

A perfect Multi-Site with paths and plenty of trees, almost every one having a rabbit hole close by where Txs could be safely buried out of public view.

No need to hack through nettles, there were paths everywhere.

There were even 'Help the Aged DFer' facilities

Tx N was buried down a hole by the tree on the right, the triffid within 3 metres by the tree to the left. A similar approach was used for all Green and Yellow Txs.
Various competitors, deciding that I couldn't be this kind, spent large amounts of time searching thick undergrowth nearby!

The Red Txs were, as advertised, more difficult in a swamp and very well hidden, Y only transmitted for 30 seconds then 20 seconds in 10 minutes but some still found it! Many competitors went for the Reds hoping for high points, this left some easy Greens with good point scores - I wonder what will happen next time?  Swings, roundabouts .....  cats, mice ..........even more Multi-Spice!

Perhaps it is not too surprising that top DFer Philip is number one again BUT the next event will be more of a challenge, he will start with a -40 point handicap. Will he be able to walk off with a second trophy and the honour of a -80 handicap?  The handicap resets to zero at the start of each year. Everyone has a chance as the year progresses and more of the 'experts' pick up a trophy and a handicap.
Some newcomers may win sooner than we expect, look at Colin F - only his third DF and this result with no help. His clipboard, pencil,  methodical approach (oh and DF set) very nearly did it!

Sadly Graham and Pam had a car problem and had to limp back home. Richard S suffered with a senseless set. He hopes to have his own set built ready for the next event.  Tim claimed a severe bout of Triffid Blindness - yep I've been there too, if anyone has the antidote please let us know.

Chris came along with Gary and borrowed a set for the first time. Concentrated on following the null and keeping Gary in sight. By the end he was able to go off and found J with no assistance from anyone. Thanks to Gary for bringing him, the more people we let try DF the more chance DF will survive.
So perhaps for the first and last time this year it is over to Philip.

The Key to getting lost on Hilly Fields.
A new season, brand new format and a new organization - ‘East Coast Multi-DF’.
Off to Gt Bentley on the same day Spring decided to launch a new season as well.
Short and sweet signal at the start giving 282 degrees across the (did I mention the word new?) map towards Colchester.
Round trip out of Gt Bentley, avoiding the long traffic lights at the road works, and onto the A120.
Ignored couple of signals, then stopped on the top of the northern bypass for 1.50 pm, by which time some of the minis were also coming through on 1960. Tim arrived at the same spot. I had a bearing of 167 degrees, crossing near Sheepen Rd College.
Up to the Eight Ash Green junction, then back into Colchester. Along Cymbeline Way even the micros were coming through, but there was no means to turn right, or turn round other than go up to the Westway roundabout, finally parking on the side of the road by the Hilly Fields nature reserve where the micros sounded loudest.

Gary conducting the Joker Draw.  The green bag for the less experienced contains only Green Jokers.  The Red bag for those who have previously won a Multi-Event (any year)  contains all colours,  sometimes you will be lucky, sometimes ......

Jumped out and whilst hearing Z, the micro that was going to cause me most grief, decide to leave this (and F & G) to run right across the whole site to track down my Joker N. This was a fairly easy find, though its parent M took a couple of turns to sort out. Having got off to a good start decided to have a go at the two toughies, Y & Z so ran virtually back to the car, passing Tim who was having slower start to his afternoon. Y was not so difficult on the edge of the swamp, but Z was clearly in the middle of the wet land, which I ran round several times, crossing streams and marshland with gay abandon. Clearly walked passed Z several times but failed to spot it after about 40 minutes of short signals. Decided to give this up as a lost cause and went back for J which was coming in strong. Found Rosy looking for ‘I’ and chasing her for a photo, where I made the mistake of opening up my zipped jacket pocket and allowing at some point my car keys to fall out.

We then pinned down ‘I’ before I took a photo of Colin Merry who joined us, then did J. Plenty of time then to go right back across the site again to tackle the last pair before the maxi.
Found G a bit tricky – getting there no problem but finding the Triffid difficult.

F was even sillier, no real cover in amongst the trees, but where was the Triffid? Eventually found it well hidden under some leaves at the base of a tree.

Hmmm, was this the Multi-Wind or a Multi-Joker, it was not covered in leaves when I set it up - Ed.

So up the hill to find B by the edge of the wood, meeting up again with Rosy and Colin before finally getting into A to post all tickets at about 3.15 pm.

Shame about Z, but hey 15 minutes left – maybe worth a look. Down the hill past the large drain cover, round the lake with the daffodils, to start kicking down the reeds around the area searched already. Finally knocked the bag with the TX in, then found the Triffid close by. Only five minutes to get back up the Hill! Bit of a slog but arrived and found my watch was actually fast, or Roys’ was slow, so got the ticket in with about two minutes to spare. Ten stations in the bag – good going!  One of the minutes was the new 'one minute grace' period to post your tickets (3:30 to 3:31) - this special transmission allows Maxi A to mark the end of the event with its machine gun without doubling with the Txs that are normally on at the end of the 10 minute cycle. - Ed.

Pretty ......... evil.

Micro Z removed from its hide and doggy doo bag for collection.
Agreed to pick up Y and Z on the way back to the car, to find I had lost my car keys somewhere along the line. Once again re-traced all my steps in the hope of finding them, to no avail.

Spare set of keys brought in by Caroline on the way home from Brightlingsea Gig Festival.

A drink and a trophy, then a phone call the next morning to Colchester Police to discover that some kind soul had already handed my keys!

It does not get better.  Good event, all the new kit worked, the timings with emphasis on easy and hard, worked in practice. It felt tough, but with a number of teams, including novices, finding the majority of TX, it clearly was not anywhere near as tough as people were expecting. And, due to some complicated PIC programming organized by Colin and Roy, the Sun came out right on cue as well.


Philip finally got to the pub to pick up his trophy - excellent news re car keys.

Colin F a new DFer to watch. Thanks to Rosie and Colin for introducing him. Clearly I must get a clipboard before I am forced to compete in one of these wicked events!

Next event Sunday May 26th, details soon.