Colchester & Chelmsford Qualifier 12th June 2005

Report from Philip:

Thanks to all those who attended, hope you enjoyed the day.

We did have some rain first thing as Frank and I drove down to the westerly station. Fortunately it was mostly cloud and the rain held off, so, apart from those who went wading in streams (and mud), most people managed to stay dry.

We did advise everyone to get a new map with the new A120 link from the M11 to Braintree on it. A good deal of the action took place along this route with the start mid way at Dunmow.   Only Bill turned up without the right kit but was helped  by Andrew and Dick Brocks who lent Doreen their spare map.

                                                     Doreen has previous experience of DF!


Ten teams started with some arriving fairly late. The Test transmission from the A station was also very late.


Both stations generated fairly moderate signals to the start, leaving everyone with the feeling they were farther away than they actually were.


Richard’s A station (90 degrees).   Frank's B station (185 degrees). 


Seven teams went West and three East.

Richard was near to the Braintree leisure centre. A tricky urban site (Trevor would have hated) but it did not give Bill too much trouble though, with Graham and Geoff close in tow, the three were in and out fairly quickly and shooting back down the A120.

The B station (185 degrees) was a much further run in, within a triangle of railway junctions formed where the Stanstead airport link comes off the main London to Cambridge line. Not on the map is the large expanse of water on the site, with several streams, ponds and tall stinging nettles.

The aerial ran 200 metres from one side of the sizable pond to the other with an earth stake close to the waters edge. This meant Frank could look across the lake and watch teams locating the earth stake at the other side.

The easiest way to get to the Tx was by running along a 25 metre wall that separated the lake from the stream, but only one person did this and only after wading across the muddy stream (well done Geoff – sorry I was not there with the camera). Most teams climbed across the sluice gate in order to get over the stream to find Frank who was using very little cover by the waters edge.

It was a really close finish between two teams, at different stations, with only 30 seconds or so in it. It did not have to be that way! Tim and team arrived at the A station well ahead at about 3.45 but decided to use the time to thrash around the site, pose for the camera and impress the local children with their vigour.

George and team came and added greatly to the number of people looking in the wrong place – where all the cover was (and large quantities of dummy aerials cunningly constructed from wool - apparently in place before Richard arrived! Ed.).

Then all on his own Peter Larbalestier turned up ten minutes after taking a very different approach, casually sauntering around, not looking at aerial, not looking in the bushes, Yet by wandering around in the open spaces, happened to stumble virtually straight way across Richard. Yes, OK he says he had his receiver turned on, and yes, he says the set did peak up, turning just at the right spot, but he made it all look too easy for it to be true.

Photo provided on the web site I have called Smugness, though it could be called stunned; either way it was Luk, Luk, Lucky. Tim was robbed! So was Bill who had got off to a flying start but had taken some time to sort out all the wire at the westerly station and just missed out taking the Colchester and Chelmsford trophy home for another year – coming second. Consolation prize for Bill was a qualification place and from Peter - not wishing to take the qualifier place – Tim was given a qualifier place as well (Ah bless Ed.).


Great tea and Great Saling village hall (Essex has so much more that you think) and great event all round, with all teams finding both stations within time.     Well done Peter – still think you should get a team together and do the final.

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Peter Larbalestier 15:58:20 15:58:20 15:02:26
2 Bill Pechey 15:58:49 14:41:45 15:58:49
3 George Whenham 16:00:14 16:00:14 14:53:36
4 Tim Parker 16:02:33 16:02:33 14:57:41
5 Andrew Mead 16:08:01 16:08:01 14:56:52
6 Andy Collet 16:10:37 16:10:37 14:55:43
7 Geoff Foster 16:14:04 15:05:51 16:14:04
8 Ian Butson 16:17:33 16:17:33 15:02:12
9 Alan Simmons 16:20:02 16:20:02 15:05:23
10 Graham Phillips 16:27:00 14:42:49 16:27:00

Regards Philip

Peter Replies: 

The above was a total reversal of my fortunes at other TX.
We all know the one, first on site, then the world and his dog, then just you, still searching !!!

Yep, Lady Luck decided to travel to the next site on my shoulder. Well that was because the others had left her behind as they all hurried away. ( Never seen her before, attractive isn't she?)

Stop Press! (Spotted by Richard)

Taken from 'New York Daily Times' dateline June 13 2005:
It's official! It was Hollywood's best kept secret! Yesterday, known only to but a few select people with appropriate security clearance and 160 metre band portable receivers, international film star Gene Hackman flew into London's Stansted International hub to quietly take his place with the cream of the UK's topband Direction Finding elete, to not only compete but win the event! Due to complete secrecy and protocol he was of course unable to take up his rightful place at the forthcoming National DF Final in Winchester, England, preferring to donate his prize galantly to another competitor from Brightlingsea. Unfamiliar to such a place Gene remarked "Gee, I can't wait to get over there..." Mr Hackman, who drove an unmarked black Citroen C4 sedan, hired especiially for the event, departed back to Stansted International the same day, triumphantly making his exit via the quaint old English town of Halstead, with it's reputed links with Henry VIII and Shakespeare, both keen Direction-Finding competitors and champions in their day. One unnamed transmitter crew member gushed "I can't believe it! After an afternoon of fighting off mosquitoes and other biting insects, suddenly this famous film-star bloke appeared with a DF set and he gives me his clock card saying what I thought was "you buzzard" . Strange that 'cos we only saw house sparrows round our site..."

Thanks to Philip, Richard, Frank, Daphne and Caroline. An excellent DF!
Shame about the wool though, should have taken my needles.
Peter, OK so now you have had your 16 minutes of fame, let's get back to normal. Anyway I just new Larbalestier couldn't be a real name!