Report from Andrew and Tim:

Greetings fellow Dfers
The results of the first event of the season...

Snowman DF

30th January 2005

On a dry bright day - the sun even came out for a while - 9 teams assembled for the start of the first DF of the season next to playing fields in Dunmow. A new map and a new start were tried this year, as the new dual carriageway linking Stansted and Braintree is now open, and Dunmow, towards the middle of map 167, is now only about 5 minutes from the M11, hopefully making the journey easier and quicker for visiting teams from other parts of the country.

Good signals were heard from both stations at 12.50, half an hour earlier than usual, to allow competitors to find both stations in the daylight. 7 teams headed North-east for the stronger station A, located 19 Km away near the edge of the map in Shardlows wood, whilst the other 2 teams headed South-east towards station B, at 24 Km, located on the southern part of Danbury Common.

Recent rain had made the footpaths in Shardlows wood extremely muddy, making the half mile or so run in quite entertaining (not to mention a bit hazardous for the TX operator carrying the transmitter and all the gear!)

A slight crisis occurred on Danbury Common at 10.30 when the aerial we had spent hours putting up the day before wouldn't load up properly. Rather than trying to fix it and risking not getting a signal to the start, an approximate quarter wave was hurriedly lobbed over a few large branches. A phone call to the official starter confirmed that a reasonable signal had been heard by most competitors at the start.

Making very good time after only 4 transmissions, Peter was heard to be approaching TX A. He had come in to the wood on the closest track to the station, the signal was on and pinpointed the corner of the wood where the TX was. Arriving at 1.58, he was followed a few seconds later by Dick.

A quarter of an hour or so later, strange codes were heard to be exchanged, indicating Roy and his navigator were in the area. Nevertheless, the codes disappeared and shortly Mike appeared. A few more minutes, and a pair of feet appeared outside the hide and a signing in slip with Ian's name was thrust in. Much cursing ensued, followed by another pair of feet, and Roy's slip. Phil and Geoff clocked in about ten minutes later, and then it all went very quiet for the next hour and a half.

Meanwhile, at station B solitude prevailed until just after 2.10 when sounds identifying Colin & Rosie were heard. Footsteps approached the front door but faded, only to be reinstated at the rear. C&R won the wine gum for first in this way around. After their departure it was a bit disappointing not to see any other visitors for over an hour, but at about 3.20 various shouts were audible in the vicinity. A transmission resulted in sounds like an elephant taking the direct route through the fairly thick undergrowth I was located behind. Ecstasy at hearing life on the planet again turned to dismay as Roy took the easy route in via the adjacent field and got in first. Showers of signing in slips rained down as most of the remaining competitors arrived simultaneously, being careful to form an orderly queue and not risk disqualification for ungentlemanly conduct. By 3.45 all competitors had arrived enabling a welcome quick departure for a cuppa.

The station A TX operator was just starting to get a bit chilly in his hide, when a dainty female voice could be heard in the distance calling to a Colin. By now the tx was on continuous, and it was not long before Colin and Rosie came knocking on the tarpaulin. They then kindly helped the operator take down the aerial in exchange for a lift back to their car.

The tea was held at QTH de G4KQE, where Daphne had prepared baked potatoes, chilli mince and beans for all, followed by the many varied savouries and cakes provided "bring-a-bite" by the competitors, together with copious amounts of tea or fruit juice.

Andrew presented the "Snowman" trophy to Roy, who then described to all how he had won, followed by a few words from Peter of how he came so close.

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the jaunt round Essex, exploring the new map, and it was good to see so many faces from other clubs taking part.

Andrew & Tim


Name                         Time             TXA             TXB

R. Emeny                 15.24.04     14.18.14     15.24.04

P. Larbalestier          15.24.06     13.58.45     15.24.06

M. Hawkins              15.25.08     14.14.30     15.25.08

R. Brocks                 15.25.32     13.59.08     15.25.32

P. Cunningham         15.40.20     14.26.14     15.40.20

I. Butson                  15.41.01     14.17.30     15.41.01

G. Foster                 15.42.35     14.32.20     15.42.35

C. Merry                  15.54.03     15.54.03     14.12.04

G. Phillips                15.26.00       -------        15.26.00