Kent   Multi-DF     Sunday  June 28th 2015

The most compact DF ever?

Host Colin F

Stubbs Wood
near Seven Oaks.

10 Txs running the new three phase software allowing for test, event and collection.  

Thanks for being the guinea pig on this one Colin, report on the technical side at the bottom.

Yes it had all the above plus ten very well hidden triffids sprouting in the plentiful undergrowth.

The event started with us being shot by a cannon (comment from Colin)  and would finish with a machine gun, would the 'in between' be less threatening?

True Colin (F) had kindly placed all of them by paths but, unaware of this, whenever I took a bearing from a path my next Tx was invariably at 90 degrees to it so .......

Yes I'm in there,  imagine trying to see a triffid in this!

Others had more problems to contend with, Dave W was getting loads of interference .. eventually traced to his mobile phone. Seems to be a particular problem on 1915 KHz ... perhaps we should try a different frequency?

Bob had broken his sense aerial ... we have all been there but on this site retracing your steps was ............................................. fun!

Dave C (left) looked very cool and calm after the event while others ......

Note to self ... next time use paths even if they are at 90 degrees to where you want to go.

Next problem - which way to run along  path? Ah well after many years of DF I am still learning,  perhaps in my eighth decade all will become clear .... ??

Position Competitor Handicap Joker A B F G I J R S Y Z Total Percent
1 Colin M 40 S 20 23 26 26 26 23 40 80 0 0 224 100
2 Tim P 101 Y 13 11 40 40 32 32 26 26 64 40 223 99
3 Gary P 40 J 11 40 0 15 40 80 0 0 40 32 218 97
4 Roy E 49 R 32 17 17 20 0 26 64 32 0 0 159 70
5 Rosie M 10 Z 40 20 32 23 0 0 23 23 0 0 151 67
6 Graham D 0 B 26 64 15 17 0 20 0 0 0 0 142 63
7 Dave C 0 F 23 26 26 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 92 41
8 Bob S 0 G 15 13 20 26 0 0 0 0 0 0 74 33
9 Dave W 20 I 17 15 23 32 0 0 0 0 0 0 67 29

Wow what a finish!   Our current Hero Tim, with 10 Txs found, almost did it despite the 101 handicap but Colin M just pipped him, of course he now has a big handicap for the next event .... Multi-DF is tough at the top!!!

Colin received the Multi-Star ....... and more!

Gary hacked his way to the 'Most blood lost' award.

However, the best prize went to Dave W to help him recover from his bout of triffid blindness.
Report from Colin M
This is the once a year visit to Kent for a multi-DF and Kent has something that Essex doesn’t – hills! Colin Ferrer had found a seriously hilly spot at Stubbs Wood in Goathurst Common (near to Ide Hill). Although Colin is much-experienced in multi-TX DF-ing this was his first opportunity to organise and deploy transmitters and triffids.  I certainly did not expect to win this event and wondered if I might achieve a third or fourth place but, with taking handicap points into account, I scraped a win beating Tim by just ONE point. The hunt had some similarities to the one near Ipswich – that is I found the R and S pair first and had particular difficulty with station A.  My joker was S. At the start I held back until R was transmitting then I headed along the westerly path until the signal turned left and down the hill. On the third “R” transmission I found the triffid and was not surprised to pick up 40 points as nobody else was in sight. Headed for micro S next. I guess it took another three transmissions to track it down – but managed another 40 points here.  Then up the hill for F (I and J seemed to be in the opposite direction and I thought that Y and Z would be directly south, down the steepest hill).   Approaching the F vicinity, I found Bob searching the undergrowth for a triffid. After a bit of looking I found it and awaited a transmission from “G”. “G” came up and I ran off to find it, meeting up with Rosie who was also looking for G. We both arrived at the same tree in search of a triffid. I just got there first. My next move was to go towards A or B which seemed to be centrally located. “A” came up in strength before “B”, so station “A” was to be my next find.

Up until now I felt that I had been quite efficient (a time logging system would have supported this observation). Now “A” was arguably not difficult but I wanted to make it difficult for myself by passing it as I headed off down the hill, passing “A” whilst going to an area I was to be revisiting time and time again. It was steep. There were many holly bushes and even more fallen trees. Each fallen tree had a pit which would have been ideal to house a maxi transmitter. I went round and round and up and down for a good 45 minutes before finally finding “A” in a place which was more prominent than hidden. The hide opportunities were limitless but there it was – in the open – why didn’t I see it earlier. Now my performance statistics were rapidly changing to an “also ran”. (I then realised at this stage that I hadn’t been crossing off the stations as I found them, so had to rely on my memory to tick them off!)
Needed to find “B” next so took a beeline downhill and, on arrival near to the B TX, I again met up with Rosie. We edged rather slowly towards the transmitter and were almost there apart from being on the wrong side of a particularly thick holly bush. We edged around said bush and I just pipped Rosie to the post at the B triffid.  At this stage I knew that I had exhausted the transmitters to the west of the start. Now it was time to change to the easterly wood, passing Colin F in the car park. Rosie was also switching to the easterly area. Stations I, Y and Z seemed to be to the east and J was more to the south, down a very steep road. I took the path for I, Y and Z.  Running along the east-bound path all station were definitely off to the right and downhill. The bearing on “I” was turning more and more to the right until it was distinctly behind me – although Y and Z were straight on. I needed to turn right at the first opportunity. But the opportunity never arose! There were no paths that way so I had to go cross-country. At the bottom there was a difficult choice. Go left for Y and  Z or go right for I and J. Time was becoming critical now so I decided to pass by Y and  Z and go for I and J instead. I ran parallel with a field just inside the wood. “I” was getting stronger. There was a boundary fence which seemed to be re-radiating so I took to looking behind every single  border tree while passing. The strength of “I” started to decrease so retraced my steps to the corner of a field where I could see that someone had made their way through some high nettles. It seemed likely that this path went somewhere useful and I wasn’t wrong. Station “I” was eventually found.  Now for “J” – this turned out to be very near to a road. I wouldn’t have known which side of the road to choose if it wasn’t for Roy and Graham looking intensely in the undergrowth. I joined in and eventually Roy came across the triffid, I spotted this and followed on. Then it was a gruelling fast walk up the steep hill to the start car park and on to station “A” again (which was again difficult to locate).

Colin did a sterling job of setting out the stations and also finding a handy local pub and providing some really interesting prizes. Many thanks to Colin. It was a luxury for me to be able to attend such a local event for a change.
We don't normally have a report from the Hero but in this case I think he reached Super-Hero status so how did you do it Tim?

With a handicap of 101 this had to be an all or nothing attempt.   Tactic 1 failed miserably as a dash for A on the first transmission resulted in a serious overshoot; the following B signal seemed right down a steep slope, so a decision was made to go for a louder G. A short search was needed after the next transmission but I didn’t quite expect 40 points as I thought I had seen others heading this way. F seemed quite weak at G and after a tortuous as the crow flies route I ended up in the vicinity of Bob and Rosie. Thankfully I got in first without seeing any distracting bottles as reported at the inquest. 40 points.   Whilst waiting for transmissions I already knew that R and S were over this side of the wood but I, J, Z and my joker Y were back beyond the car park. An off the track route towards R was chosen and a follow in a straight line even when the transmission was off policy paid off. Only 26 at R so I thought that others must be leading at this point. A quick route down a lane was taken towards S but here there was self inflicted frustration as I searched around a tree stump in vain after finding the transmitter by a tree opposite. Rosie joined me and somehow I expected her to nip in first with her geocacher’s eye. But that didn’t happen and  I graciously handed her the following ticket from the stump-triffid.. Txs I and J seemed to be the next option as by now I had relegated A and B to be the last to find. Choosing to follow paths (hello Graham) I ended up back in the car park, then down the lane and up a steep slope into the Eastern wood. Ground was covered whilst waiting for signals and Tx I came up strongest and closest. The next signal was the short one and just took me to the edge of a nettley bushy bit with plenty of cover. There appeared to be tramplings from a previous visitor and during the off time a circular search was made without luck. The next transmission brought me home. J’s signal took me back towards the lane and surprisingly across it after a bum slide down the steep slope. Here the unmistakable sound of toe hitting triffid-on-stake was a slice of luck.
Oh no, not back up the slope again ! I knew that Z and Y were beyond I, so off-time was used to cover distance. A quick check on both Y and Z suggested Z was closest and I had overshot. Committing Y’s direction to memory, Z was hunted on the next transmission in the direction of a large beech ? tree balancing on the edge of a very steep incline. I really didn’t want to descend so a thorough search round the tree base was made. Perhaps the next tree ? Not that one either. Convincing myself again not to descend the slope, I considered the possibility that Z had been placed in a similar position to the previous event; and there it was, nestling at head height in the big tree.   Now for Y; ground was covered in the direction still lodged in memory and a stop was made on high ground as it would be easier to go down than up when the next signal arrived. Time for a breather too !  
On cue Y seemed to be further on and it was difficult and energy sapping going both uphill and over fallen trees. Thankfully the following signal took me the right way, and slightly downhill now. A flashing l.e.d. gave the game away a bit; but where’s the triffid ? A full-body search of the tree was fruitless, so the 3-metre rule was invoked and a quick sweep brought about success. 3.20pm.
Just A and B now but the legs were no longer willing to run, so it was 3.30 when I got back to a deserted car park. With some prior knowledge and a long transmission, A was found easily and tickets bagged. Just B then. Downhill from A. It took about 3 transmissions to cover the rough terrain, and probably another 2 to get me from the wrong side of B’s holly bush to the “correct” side. Time to walk back to A, and finish all 10 stations at 3.50.
Mixed feelings at the tea; pleased to be the only one to find all 10; but frustration to find that Colin had beaten me by just the one point.
Well done Colin but also Gary for getting very close.

Well DF is all about challenge and there is one for you!  Stating the obvious: A perfect handicapping system would have us all finishing on the same score, it is intended to highlight the person who most exceeds their normal performance on that day. You are competing against your own normal performance rather than those of others. The results show that this is starting to work and the rules don't need changing but perhaps Tim has a point, those who want to challenge him must think very carefully before throwing away valuable Hero Points.   Hero League 

As promised a technical update:
Colin (M), Steve and I have been working on the software that controls the Txs, mainly for our amusement rather than to respond a great need.  For the above event three sets of timings were stored:
Pre-event -  very brief transmissions on one frequency for the operator to check operation without much opportunity for competitors to cheat.
Event  -  normal timings as before on three frequencies, but we have been running these easy timings all this year - watch out!
Collection -  Maxi A silent and more evenly spaced transmissions from the others making recovery of the yellow and red Txs easier.

This all worked well. The only small issue being Tx G (still transmitting under waterproof lid) being carried by the person looking for Tx F next -  signal swamping.
The lid could have been removed and the Tx turned off but rather than do this the 'collect times' have been adjusted for the next event so that Txs in collection pairs do not double with each other.

If we can get the software finished and the timings entered it is hoped that the next event will feature tapered times:
The transmissions are very short at the beginning of the event even on the greens, encouraging 'old hands' away from them and towards their Joker. As the event progresses transmissions get longer. This should keep people separated and prevent the initial big point grab.  Also it should slow competitors down,  no need for big distances and getting physically knackered. Mind you we may need to take anti-frustration pills, in my day that meant bromide, anyone know of a modern alternative?

Thanks to Colin F for a great event on his first attempt, just the right level of difficulty with only our Super-Hero managing all ten. I will be bringing chainsaw and of course triffid glasses to Colin's next one.

Next DF Richard S is in charge, Sunday July 19th watch this page for details.

Hope to see you there .....