Sunday 4th April, set by Marta and Pierre
Sunday 4th April dawned chilly and drizzly; the only thing making it worthwhile getting out of bed, really, was the fact that Daylight Savings had just ended, meaning we had an extra hour’s sleep in! Pierre and I had intended to meet in the parking lot of Emerald Lake Park, and put out a couple of controls before the paid parking kicked in, but when I got there, one half of the gate was closed, so I waited just outside. Upon Pierre’s arrival, we hurriedly exchanged transmitters and worked out a plan of attack, then turned on all the 80ms ARDF Txs. Oops, I knew I forgot something; we were supposed to start these at an even 5-minute mark! Oh well, no-one minded so much starting at 2m 07s past a 5-minute interval 🙂
Pierre headed off to do the easterly controls, while I tackled the ones inside the park. I decided that it was early enough that the rangers probably wouldn’t nab me if I squeezed my car past the closed gate and parked inside for the first two controls. So I snuck in, parked, grabbed the Fox-Or and ARDF Tx which we’d planned to put out at the far end of the lake, and briskly jogged to the appropriate locations. There were a few early morning walkers out, and for some reason, they all averted their eyes as I ambled past, squid pole in hand. Can’t imagine why! I got the ARDF out without too much trouble, and was secreting the Fox-Or when disaster struck – I’d forgotten the little Fox-Or flag! And were coming up to ranger time! Luckily the map scale is small, so I rushed back, acquired the flag and drove back out hurriedly without any trouble. The other controls were far less eventful, and both Pierre and I were back at the start by 9:30, ready to set up and work out how to use the new ARDF software.
People started arriving by 10am, and we had a nice little crowd ready to go. Despite some worries, the ARDF software behaved admirably and after handing out a few spare SI sticks, we soon had everyone entered and ready to go. The only excitement before we started was a pair of dog walkers – for some reason, they took exception to our presence, and backed their car out with a loud squeal of tyres, mumbling something about us being “inconsiderate” under their breaths. Still not sure what that was about – the ruckus they made as they left was far more inconsiderate than our little gathering!
It was nice to see a few newcomers showing up – both Greg and Stewart tried their first-ever ARDF event, both doing extremely well – Greg even managed to find 3 Txs even though the antenna broke off his 80m sniffer! Great work. Peter M and Bruce went out together, allowing Peter to find five controls for the first time. Hopefully this makes you a little happier for next time, Peter – it can be quite dispiriting doing ARDF if you don’t find many controls each time! Pam came along and happily found all five, as did Clifford, and both Di and Hamish had a great event, getting all except the most eastern control. It’s worth mentioning that Di headed out after already having found all 8 Fox-Ors, so she certainly got her money’s worth! Ry and Henk also braved the cool conditions and picked up three controls each. The clear winner today was Gary, who blitzed the course in just over an hour. We won’t mention the fact that he was also the first to come back thigh-deep in mud; apparently, despite the rather large lettering on the map pointing out that a bridge was out, people decided to try to leap across the creek anyway, rather than heading back up the path 100m or so and going around :). All in all, the ARDF seemed quite popular, and looks like it was a good introductory event for people to practice their skills on.
The Fox-Or was not quite as much of a success. Unfortunately, one of the Txs had been left on high power so tended to swamp all the others. By the time we realised and sent Gary off to turn it down, most of the people had completed or were most of the way through their course. Oops! Sorry. Note to all future course setters – double check the power levels!! As well, Emerald Lake presents some rather thick bushland, and we may have been a little nasty in how we hid our Fox-Ors. People certainly struggled a bit to find them. Nonetheless, our newcomers seemed to enjoy themselves (more or less!) Matt and his kids headed out and found three controls, while Josie and her kids got 6 – well done. Suzanne perservered despite the tough control placement and came back with 5, while Henk and Darian nabbed four. Georgie did best in the canine department – she found 6 (along with some mud and a few puddles), with Bryan following on behind carrying her sniffer! Crowning glory goes to Dianne, however, who stuck it out and found all 8, and also came back knee deep in mud. Congratulations, Di!
The post-event BBQ allowed everyone to debrief and warm up, and then a number of us headed off to pick up controls and pick up a multi-leg geocache within the park.
Here are the final results:
|Peter Maloney & Bruce||5||120’37|
|Georgie Giles (& Bryan with sniffer)||6||1h39|
|Josie Yeatman & kids||6||??|
|Matt Manning & kids||3||1h34|