Today was the “day off” from ARDF/orienteering practice, and was more of a tour day of Pecs, the city near our bruce village of Orfu. After a pretty relaxed start to things we squeezed into our two cars and headed off to Pecs. As it happened this took us back through the maps we had already been on so things started to look uncannily familier. We also saw a full dual horse drawn cart on the road as we left Orfu…not acommon sight apparently, but not unusual. Susan, Gyrui’s wife used to be a tour guide in an earlier life, so she was the ideal person to show off her local town. We started off at a roundhouse from around the 15th century. This was built inside the moat as part of the city walls to defend the city against the Turks who regularly tried to take over the city (and often did). Unfortunately the hill beside the town made it easy for invaders to see everything about the towns defenses and their weaknesses. The town in fact has an original Roman name, Sopianae, dating back 2000 years. Some of the road routes around (we went on one on the way to a practice event) follow the original Roman road route. We just don’t get recorded history like that in Australia (something a century old is considered ancient).
The Bishopric (church) was built over centuries so has many different styles (and looks it). There is a china crypt underneath which is in fact the original 11th century church that used to be at ground level but was built over later. They have problems stabilising the whole thing since half is on rock and the other is built on ancient pines (permanently sodden) in a swamp. They have to keep careful note of the water level and keep it topped up if it drops too low (and endanger the pines). One thing it does have is the 3rd biggest organ in Europe. Over 6000 pipes.
Once some workers had found a grail (cup) in a tree that had been hidden there for centuries. Each time the city seemed in danger of being overrun the Bishop’s valuables were secreted wherever they could be hidden or buried. The cup is now displayed along with others in the church.
Under the city are many many cellars since it’s a wine making area. In places up to 20 levels deep. Often the inhabitants were able to escape, complete with horses and carts, out the cellar complex away from Turkish invaders. We visited a cellar to taste some bishop’s Wine” which was in fact a Riesling, but the region is famous for the Cirfandli variety.
One fascinating thing we saw in the town were a couple of gates with hundreds of padlocks clamped all over them. It’s a tradition amongst students leaving the town to put their old locker padlocks on one of these gates to give them hope that they may return someday. We were lucky enough to witness a couple of padlocking ceremonies where a poem was read out ond the padlock affixed to the growing cluster. Jack would have a field day !
We saw inside a Christian Mosque. What is that you ask ? Have I got that right ? Well, yes… half is a Moslim Mosque built by the invading Turkish, and the other half a Roman Catholic church. In the same building, with both a cross and a half moon on the apex ! Something perhaps to be learnt in tolerance here with some of the current world events. Hungariana, Croatians, Serbs and Swabians all live in Pecs
We visited Susan’s favorite museum. It was purely for a painter called Csontvary who had been a phamacist until 40 years old when he suddenly had an inner voice that told him he must become an artist. The paintings at first glance are just impressive (and mostly huge), but then you notice some of the weirdness of scale or colour. Very unusual. His main aim (he was quite mad apparently) was the paint the colours of the sun. Lunch was at Gyrui’s parents place, and this was to be a pretty big affair. Rice meat balls in a sauce, with a vodka toast and home made wine (from grapes grown right in the garden)… both red and white, but the red was better. Bob has a bottle to take to Slovakia.
At Gyrui’s office I was able to send off some of my reports (at last). I have no idea if they all got through but I will check next time. I had also prepared a web page to upload with a bruce selection of pictures, but was unable to then due to time constraints (the computer I tried orginally didn’t work so I had to wait in line for Gyrui’s. We had some free time to wander about the old city centre after that, buy this & that, and then off the Gyuri’s place for dinner. More wonderful food… fruit soup, a pototoe/cheese/hungarian-salami delicious thing and a layered biscuit desert (this was the ‘american’ version… we’d tried the traditional hungarian version at lunch). This one was Daniel’s favorite, but judging by the number Thomas ate of both varieties he’s not far behind here. Anyway, I must get off this and get ready for bed. Tommorow is yet another 2m event in the morning, and fox-oring (with longer antennas this time) in the afternoon !
Today was back to the practice with another double banger.
The 2m event in the morning was meant to be a shorter event, but it didn’t quite work out that way ! TX#5 had battery problems. It
would tranmit fine for 5 seconds or so, then give seemingly random blips and burps for the rest of the minute cycle. Unfortunately
it was probably the best TX to do first, so this was a trifle inconvenient.
We all ended up very scratched from prickles, blackberries, nettles and other associated nasties. The map was a bit out of date and the light green should now be very deep green, and some of the white pretty dark green too. Also TX#5 was in a white bit in the middle of green accessed from only a couple of ways…. obvious if you could have had more than 5 seconds DF every 5 minutes, but tricky in the circumstances.
Csaba, a local, wore shorts to the event since he recalled the map from about 10 years ago when he’d orienteered there. Well, the scratches and blood afterwards would rival that of a well known Bayside orienteer !
Personally once I had wasted an age fighting spikey things (memories of YDF foxhunts) the rest was tackled in quick order.
Afternoon was the 2nd fox-oring event (again on 80m). Everyone agrees this one was much better than the previous attempt, mostly because the weak 80m signals could now be heard from within the circle (and in fact outside in some cases). Problems with control 3 being extremely weak, but the rest worked well with slightly longer antennas. This sort of event is a lot of fun, with 10 control points and spanish-score event style. Bryan has already laid out a PCB prototype on his laptop in a few spare moments (the transmitters are little more than a NOR gate and a crystal) so it woul be good to try it out at an orineteering ‘meet’ (as the Yanks here call them).
I took 44 minutes for the 10 controls, Adam zipped around in 35 and Csaba, who I was competing against directly as he headed off just after me, managed to overtake me with a bit more luck at control 3 (see above) and took 38 minutes. All pretty close !
I went for a swim today again in the lake afterwards, but I only heard later on that Bryan decided he wouldn’t as he had seen a snake swimming by in the water… hmmm oh well.
Seems Bob and Dick are the SportIdent “gurus” for their orienteering club, so we had a number of discussions about SportID software and control failures. Yes, they get failures too, and as often during an event as when at sleep. They are less than convinced about the supposed EMC cause. All sounds pretty familier stuff. Sport Ident will be used at these upcoming world ARDF championships in Slovakia, so it’ll be interesting to see what software they will be using.
At the moment Harley and Bob are working on Bob’s 2m sniffer. He tweaked it up a bit before the event this morning and broke something, so now it’s being tackled in a logical fashion.
Update: Don’t know if they’ve managed to fix it… seems to be something wrong with the front end in the “Ron Graham” sniffer type.
I nearly broke Ian’s 80m sniffer today trying to tweak it a little down in frequency so I can also pick up the upcoming 3.550 Slovakian homing beacon. It seems the tiny parallel capacitor can’t be removed…so I had to put it back. Relief when it worked again as before !
Oh well, I doubt I’ll need the homing beacon anyway if all goes well 🙂
Update on the update: Seems I can pick up the homing beacon with the knob turned to the extreme position.
Tommorow is our last practice event; a long 80m hunt, so until then….