Multi-DF   'Haunt'  Sunday Aug 20th 2017

Organiser:  Roy  G4JAC with 10 Txs    Location:     Bobbits Lane,Ipswich.    Pub:      The Beagle, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich.
Following the successful test of the new electronic Triffids & Dibbers on Philip's event, this was a trial of a format designed to gain full benefit from them.         

A chore at the end of previous events was collecting the transmitters in, we would all finish at Tx A, allowing the Organiser to check we finished by 16:00 and then be sent to retrieve Txs. After completing an event this extra walking was .... 'appreciated by  the fitness fanatics'.   With the new Triffids,  that record times, there would be no need for this, competitors could finish by their Joker and retrieve the Tx and Triffid.  There would be a problem if a Tx was particularly difficult to find, making it necessary to use a different format 3x3 +1  instead of  5x2  allowing generous transmission times for the difficult reds at the end of the event. The new timings would make the event a little easier, hence the Organiser's secret weapon, the Ghost!

A full explanation of this may be found here

On my first visit to the site the warden was most helpful pointing out good locations for the Txs.

K can go here.

By Saturday evening all ten Txs were in place set to do test transmissions at 11:00 am Sunday Morning.

Sunday morning, all ten were heard at the start, though M was only just audible.

However, the chain K, L, M would allow those with deaf sets to get close enough to M to hear it, so one of the spare Txs was not deployed as a substitute.  

See the signal report from Chris after the results.

Good to have 'Suffolk Reds'  Keith, Debbie, Vaughn and Chris with us,  are we ready, ......    steady,  .......... di dah  .....!

Come on guys this is serious ....

 ..... well not that serious!

Have we got to cross the stream?  Will Philip fall in? Observing others is a key skill!

I suspect Debbie has dibbed!  Meanwhile Chris and Keith are sure it is the other side of the path  and Vaughn is ......contemplating the meaning of life.

If you go down to woods today ....

Decision time


 A Sunday afternoon dib, there's nothing quite like it ....

Results    40, if you are first, 32 second, 26 3rd    .... Joker doubled.  

Pos Competitor Hcap Joker A B C F G H K L M 1 Total Percent
1 Gary P 146 C 32 32 80 32 32 32 13 13 23 40 183 100
2 Chris M 0 * 15 20 0 15 15 0 80 15 0 0 160 87
3 Tim P 121 M 26 26 26 20 20 23 20 32 80 0 152 83
4 Colin M 58 H 13 13 23 40 40 80 0 0 0 0 151 82
5 Vaughn L 0 * 20 23 0 13 0 0 64 20 0 0 140 76
6 Keith G 0 * 17 17 0 17 17 0 46 17 0 0 131 71
7 Philip C 166 B 40 80 32 26 26 26 15 23 26 0 128 69
8 Debbie L 0 * 23 15 0 11 0 0 52 26 0 0 127 69
9 Colin F 145 L 11 11 20 23 23 0 17 80 32 0 72 39
10 Rosie M 59 G 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -59 0

Times       -   On your first event you are given a wild Joker and automatic validation at 16:00.

Competitor Joker A B C F G H K L M 1 Validation
Gary P C 13:58:19 13:51:40 13:48:58 14:26:42 14:23:39 14:18:20 14:57:53 14:36:55 14:49:39 15:15:10 15:29:08
Chris M * 14:39:52 14:51:37 15:23:36 15:43:00 13:55:09 14:19:28 16:00:00
Tim P M 14:09:49 14:19:55 14:42:18 15:07:03 15:03:02 15:36:45 14:01:24 13:57:50 13:52:19 15:56:09
Colin M H 14:42:50 14:58:21 15:15:55 13:59:07 14:06:10 14:18:07 15:40:16
Vaughn L * 14:38:52 14:51:09 15:38:47 13:55:32 14:18:59 16:00:00
Keith G * 14:39:38 14:52:00 15:23:25 15:42:48 13:56:31 14:19:17 16:00:00
Philip C B 13:55:43 13:41:25 14:06:19 14:44:00 14:54:15 15:10:14 14:27:51 14:18:14 14:35:15 15:40:35
Debbie L * 14:38:40 14:52:36 15:39:05 13:56:15 14:17:59 16:00:00
Colin F L 15:51:58 15:31:09 15:45:52 15:02:30 14:55:38 14:27:09 13:52:51 14:05:45 15:57:13
Rosie M G 14:43:03 15:48:14 15:10:32 14:04:20 15:01:27 15:34:32 - - - - -

Times only count for experts when followed by a validating dib at their Joker.  Those in red were not validated.
Rosie becomes  the 3rd person (yours truly and Steve)  in the 'negative league'  Top Girl!
Interesting sequence  L - A - M - K -  1(Ghost) - B , obviously wearing her step counting watch.

Ghost buster Gary - Top man! Unfortunately had to dash off, hence presentation in the car park. At this stage we didn't know he had also grabbed the Hero.

Rosie couldn't find her Joker but she is not afraid of ghosts, especially when bottled.
So how did Gary do it?
I was armed with a fully refurbished set, complete with new head phones and hoped that my poor form of late would start to change, especially after a recent DNF on a traditional evening event. I was also feeling relatively fit and injury free, meaning that I could get back to running between transmissions.
It was good to see some new competitors - The multi format certainly deserves to attract more attention. Hopefully the revised format would mean that they would be successful. It will be interesting to see over time, how many occasions there will be of DF'ers not being able to return to their joker and bank their points. There will be no additional help from other competitors who would have previously finished early at 'A' and been able to assist others who were running short on time. One advantage however will be that the time taken to retrieve all of the equipment will be significantly reduced, with the 'finish at your joker' approach.

I was pretty confident at the start that I would be able to dib 10 times during the afternoon (being the 3 groups plus the final dib at the joker). This actually turned out to be close to 20 times with my dib happy behaviour at 'M' due to the position number not flashing correctly). Note from Ed. for future reference: If a Triffid battery is low the main red display shuts down and the white LED only flashes once to save power - however the single flash means your time has been recorded, no point in dibbing again.  I hadn't banked on reaching the ghost transmitter - I thought that this would be too difficult with the transmission length and time unknown.

My joker was 'C' (red) and my initial thought whilst waiting for the first cycle of transmissions was that I might seek all three red transmitters first, as Roy had indicated that they would get significantly harder as the event progressed. This would mean covering a lot more ground than necessary and I quickly decided to adopt a more traditional approach and attempt to complete each group before moving on to the next.

I could hear 'C' from the start and in fact, all of the other 8, although needed to revert to the new morse grid, with the introduction of new letters into the sequence. I therefore ran off towards 'C' which appeared to be in the direction of Spring Wood, in a similar location to where I hid on a recent traditional event. Philip also headed in the same direction, although slightly further North. I did wonder whether there may be a transmitter hidden on the other side of the road. I wasted time whilst getting caught underneath the triple power lines and thought best to move slightly out into the open. 'C' became significantly stronger and clearly headed very close to where I had on the recent event. I passed through a gate and spotted the transmitter relatively easily. The dibbing pot, (are they still called triffids?) Ed.-Yes  proved to be more difficult to locate, but spotted it 5 minutes later.

My approach was to go for 'B' next in the hope that competitors would go for the easier 'A' first, to leave me with solid points at 'B'. After hopping across a ditch it wasn't much of a run before I found 'B' successfully, located next to a path. This banked me 32 points after gaining 40 at 'C'. (I was surprised how close it was to the path).  A waist height fence prevented me from running directly towards 'A', and so I had to run along the path in the hope that there would be a gap or turn in the fence direction. 

After 100 yards, the fence did turn in a circular direction, however Philip was heading towards me and I knew that he must have grasped the '40'. He had, but I was still satisfied to have only dropped 16 points from the first group.

I knew that the secret to this event would be to get to the second group whilst the majority of the competitors were on their first. I headed across the railway bridge into the woodland area used for motor cross events, which Richard S had used for a double event at the start of the year. My assumption was that the other group (K, L & M) would be more popular and that the higher value points would be more obtainable at (F, G & H).  

I could see very little activity and hoped that my previous assumption was correct. I headed for the harder 'H', which took me close to the power lines and far away from the main path. The transmissions were getting shorter and it took me several 
attempts to reach 'H', perhaps being over cautious not to over-shoot. Colin was there, and despite me locating the transmitter first, he spotted the triffid attached to the tree at ground level. 'G' was luckily still transmitting and I spotted the aerial within minutes. The triffid wasn't too difficult to spot and after banking another 2 x 32 points, I knew that I was off to a great start. Things got even better, when I managed to get a quick bearing on the ghost, which pointed back towards the power line. A very quick dash to 'F' and I managed to gain a third 32 points from the group. Realising that Colin had probably got a complete set of 40 points, I needed to head off quickly to the final group.

I very quickly scrapped my idea of going for the ghost before the final group (K, L & M). This could be too risky, especially with no previous ghost knowledge. I headed for 'L' first and predictably, I would be located on the wrong side of the stream. Luckily there was a bridge nearby and I was able to find the point on the path where my set had been pointing. There was no likely hiding place on the other side of the path and I knew that, after finding 'B' so close to the path, that it could be hidden next to the ivy covered tree, right next to the stream. It was, however my dibbing hadn't proved as successful with a small number of points gained. I got caught out on my travels to 'M'. I carried along the path however realised, as my set turned, that I was on the wrong side of the stream. It would be a fair distance around, but found the transmitter after 10 minutes or so, with there being more cover to search through. After dibbing several times, I headed back towards the main path in my attempt to find 9 before 3pm.

After identifying a short clearing within the wood close to the car park, it didn't take me too long to track down 'K'. Again, not a high points score here, although I was happy to find 9 around 3pm. There was now plenty of time to find the ghost and get back to my joker. Luckily, after taking a bearing on the ghost previously, I knew it would be close to the power lines, probably not too far away from 'C'. After downing a bottle of water from under Roy's car, I headed along the power lines, with the ghost transmitting more often than I was expecting.

It took me several transmissions to get anywhere close to 'C'. Again, getting caught out by the power lines, but also the distance from the car park. The set kept telling me to go straight on, almost until I reached the main entrance. The set did however turn at approx. 3.15pm and pointed directly at a tree standing on it's own. The dibbing station was also reasonably visible and I was pleasantly surprised to be the first to find. I was expecting other competitors to have been tempted by the mystery prize, but it seems that playing it safe was the order of the day. I headed back to my joker and managed to clock in at 3.30pm. It was then a case of waiting 30 minutes for the event to finish, before packing up the equipment and heading back to the car park.

Thanks to Roy for a great event and for the mystery prize (Ghostship). The site has again proved ideal for a multi event, with roads, streams, power lines and a railway line to make things more interesting.


Very well done Gary!  

Technical stuff

The Ghost's time hopping kept all but Gary and Rosie 'Scared!

You can see my programming of the Ghost times here, they will probably be used for the next event - all may feel free to memorise them, obviously I have  :-)
I am sure we would all like to thank Colin for the original PIC code and Steve for the PC program that makes such fun possible!

Signal report

I have just quickly checked my SDR recording of top band for the  afternoon and I was hearing nearly all of your TX's apart from M on  1910 kHz.
 The 1910 TX's were weaker but that may be my antenna as I think I tuned it higher in the band . TX strengths were about S7/8 apart from P and A  which were much stronger at S9. My home is from 1.7 miles from the DF site. Antenna inverted L at 35 ft, Rx Perseus SDR.

I noticed that an AM net was taking place on 1908 kHz , one of the stations was G1OZU in Ashingdon Essex and he was over S9 with me, others in the net were not detectable.

Chris G3XVL

The green, yellow and red Txs have progressively shorter aerials,  5m, 3m, 2m.   The body of each Tx is just placed on, or close to, the ground, no direct earth connection,  making setting up much faster than for Tx P (see below), this causes variability in effective output - adding to the 'amusement' for competitors.
Tx P, on at the beginning and end of the event as a 'homing beacon' in the car park, was one of the original Txs designed about ten years ago by Paul Clark G0BTH, same output stage (200 mW) into a 4m aerial with variable inductor aerial  tuning, earth connection and built in SWR meter which explains the S9.  Tx A obviously hit the sweet spot on ground coupling and M didn't!   During testing all Txs are on 1960 KHz, as soon as the Organiser establishes that they are  all working, another  'efficient Tx similar to P'  is used to swamp the weaker signals from the event Txs to prevent competitors taking bearings before 13:30. This sends out a message, stating that the frequency will be in use until 16:00.  Four of these original Txs are available and can be set to act as replacements  for any of the other Txs should the need arise. Since I could just hear M at the start location about 400m away, I didn't bother to replace it, relying on the stronger signal from K to draw competitors close enough to pick it up.
As far as I know the first SDR recording of one our events!  
Many thanks,

Hero League

196 HPs and no discard, now that is brave, even for a proven ghost hunter!

Uncle Gary has the Hero for now, but someone else has Grandad building a DF set for him, the crown fits perfectly!

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