Well the VicChamps was originally going to be held near Lake Eppalock, but since noone was likely to stay over for the State Series orienteering event the next day in the same area, there seemed little point in holding it so far from Melbourne.
So it moved to Macedon Forest, only a short drive north of the city. Though we have had an ARDF combo event on this map quite some time ago, the start was from a completely different part of the map, and the course ended up very challenging indeed, even on the usually less troublesome 80m band.
The intent had been to set 3 controls of moderate distance from the start, 1 a bit further to stretch the adventurous, and 1 quite a way to provide a challenge for the more seasoned ARDFers.
The map bisected by both a freeway and a railway line provided extra route choice challenge.
Luckily the day ended up fairly windy, but quite sunny; perfect running conditions.
All was going well till, shortly after I started Adam ,the final starter, I turned on the finish beacon. Adam returned some 1/2 hour later much befuddled, having terrible problems with his sniffer. “All I can hear is the damm beacon” he complained. Turned off the Beacon again so as to test another sniffer (the beacon was close to the start/finish). Since it was a club sniffer he’d taken out initially, I allowed him to start from scratch again. A few minutes after his anewed departure, I was about to strike up the beacon again when I noticed it had 3.580Mhz written on it. But, isn’t that the fox frequency ?? I’m sure that’s wrong !
I cannot fathom why we have an 80m Homing Beacon in our kit on the same frequency as the foxes, but it seems we do ! It has now been labelled with a warning; we’ll need to get a new crystal for this rogue ‘spare’ for September.
I believe this caused some of the competitors in the field quite a degree of confusion ! It didn’t worry those on the other side of the map too much, or poor Greg, who couldn’t hear any foxes unless he was within 200m of one, but I have subtracted 20 minutes from the times of all affected competitors as at least some compensation. Sorry about that. Needless to say, the Beacon remained off after this discovery.
It seems everyone had trouble with something today. Adam’s neck pains, Darian having fence and ankle trouble, Dennis stuck on the wrong side of the tracks, Gary having trouble with new 4WD tracks, Di deflected by the dodgy homing beacon and traffic noise issues near the freeway, Greg unable to hear any fox unless nearly on top of it (tuned too high in pitch) and Grant with a debilitating cold. Still everyone made an effort and those who perservered won the day.
Here is the map showing the TX locations. Results are below.
The results are divided a bit arbitrarily into “Elite” and normal categories, where Elite is those who are ARDF experienced and would normally be expected to find all 5 in the time. There are all sorts of ‘interesting’ stats to pore over after the main results.