Not a large crowd struggled out of bed this morning, especially the night after a foxhunt, but for those that did the day turned out to be very helpful and instructive. Even the weather wasn’t too bad with only occasional drizzle, and even some sun.
First exercise was to stand in the carpark and carefully try to identify which direction each of the 5 2m foxes were. This is normally a task that has to be done after starting an event under hight pressure, but the intent of today’s exercise was to illustrate how important this is. How to recognise when a bearing seems good, and when it’s doubtful and not to be trusted. The hills around the area, even though the transmitters weren’t that far from the start, made this quite a tricky exercise. No-one got TX 5 direction right, including myself (and I knew where it was !). Most of the other bearings, if not perfect bearings, would probably be enough to get you going vaguely the right way.
Since a couple of expected participants hadn’t arrived at that stage, we decided to head out and get some of the ARDF TXs now as the second exercise. Each trainee was accompanied by a trainer/shadow to give reassurance and helpful hints. Some of the TX’s were straighforward, but others were great examples of the vagaries of 2m transmission in a hilly area. Again noone attempted to wayward TX#5 (which was surprisingly vague considering it was on a high point of the course), but bagged all other foxes.
The next exercise was for each competitor to take a 2m FoxOr out and hide it somewhere in the woody (and wet) park surrounding the start. The FoxOrs were all programmed on different frquencies, Mt Gambier style, so we wouldn’t get interference problems between them should they end up too close to each other. The others had arrived by this stage so they did this exercise first. The idea was to find all 5 in the minimum time by attempting to do them in the right order. This is s simpler form of the sort of decisions that need to be made at the start of a real ARDF event. This event was won by Peter Collins (with some hints from his shadow), second Grant Geoffrey (no shadow), 3rd Ewen Templeton (he did this after his street-O run so is excused) and 4th Nick Collins. Others also found some of the FoxOrs in order to pick them up afterwards. I don;t know if Greg did this event as I didn’t see him return.
The Collins boys found one of the closer ARDF controls as a first time attempt (and brought it back). Di & Henk happened across one on their street-O run so also brought that one back. Others were picked up one each so packup was done in very short order.
Thanks to all those who turned up, and I hope you found it valuable assistance for your future ARDF endeavours.