Mother’s Day dawned windy and overcast. The BOM forecast rain only in the evening… And of course we BELIEVE them without question, but perhaps we can be forgiven for being a little worried. But by the time we arrived at Koomba Park just before 8am to put out RadiO controls (all street O controls were out the night before), the wind had settled nicely and the sun was coming out.
We had everything out in short order and had adjourned back at the northern Koomba car park at around 9:10 AM for a quick listen of the ARDF transmitters. For those non-RadiO people, these are five quite high-powered transmitters which are on for one minute, then off for four minutes. If you turn them all on at the same time, they are supposed to nicely cycle through so one and only one is on at any given minute. Well, all was going swimmingly until #4 failed to transmit. Uh oh… We definitely turned them on in unison (give or take a second). We hustled down towards it, noting a double set of transmission during #5s cycle. When we got there, we turned it off, then waited an endless few minutes for the next five minute mark to roll around. Then on again, and another 3 minute wait to make sure it actually came on when it was supposed to. It did – all good, and the oddity filed away for our club tech geniuses to think about. Even better, we kept the sniffer on and the rest of them turned on when they were supposed to.
The two course setters then separated to their respective starting areas (the walk between these was probably closer to 700m than 500m, despite what I told you guys – but I didn’t want you to get discouraged before you’d even started J). And then the turnout happened! Very rare for any ARDF run events to attract such crowds, even if they have orienteering components. Last year’s Hageby certainly wasn’t that popular, and on Mother’s Day, besides! Anyway, we had sufficient maps and the two orienteering legs seemed to proceed with minimal complaints – good to see a lot of familiar faces but also a few newer families, as well!
The RadiO legs proved to be a little more exciting… Tim Hatley was one of the earliest runners to attempt the 80m ARDF leg, and he came home having found them all (and without further destroying his already injured arm). All good… But not afterwards. Reports came filtering in – Fox-Oring transmitter G couldn’t be found. ARDF TX #1 had also gone silent. Even more interestingly, those two transmitters were pretty close together, either side of the same major path. Hmmm… Well, batteries do go flat (but Bruce had charged the big ARDF ones, and the ‘faulty’ one had just received a new battery, beside; he had also tested and replaced any failing Fox-Or batteries). We had sniffers to check the Fox-Ors as we put them out and are pretty sure all had ended up ON, on the right frequency and on high power… But I guess it’s possible one got missed and left off/on low power/off frequency. Bit odd, though.
We persevered, and despite the blackberries and thorny bushes and recalcitrant transmitters, people seemed to enjoy themselves.
Then control collection time came around. Thanks to everyone who helped pick up street O plates – much appreciated! And to Lara for having to do her sprint leg with a course setter and the dog following behind and picking up each control that she found J. The course setters then headed out to get the RadiO controls. We left the two dodgy ones till last. First attempt was the 2m Fox-Or, with the rest of them safely in the car and turned off (or so we thought). We actually caught a sniff of signal and got a bit excited… But when we got to the track where the transmitter was put out (and I distinctly remember the track, reaching a dead end and thinking ‘no point bush-bashing there – the squashed wandering jew will give it away), turning around and wandering a short distance in the other direction and hanging it reasonably high in a tree), the signals made no sense. In fact, they seemed to be pointing back to the cars… Hmmm… We wandered around for a little bit, with increasingly shrill assertions that the control HAD to be in this clump of trees, and perhaps it had fallen, because surely the flag had been visible from the track (if you knew where to look)… But nothing, so we headed off to get the 80m ARDF transmitter instead. No sniffer, because if it was flat, it was flat. And the flags for those are big anyway, and though it was off in a reasonably deserted area of the park, the flag had, as per convention, not been hidden at all.
It took longer to find the flag than expected. We were getting a little worried, I do admit. But then there it was. Except it was on the ground. And there were no wires running out in all directions… We looked more closely. Squid pole (used to sling one of the antennas high in the air, as this transmitter needs) still where it was, but no wire attached. A bit further away, a few metres of grey wire. No sign of the transmitter or the blue and black wire, though. We looked more closely. Blue and black wire eventually found in a tangle some metres away. Transmitter box also found after some searching, slung into the bushes somewhere. Wires clearly ripped out of it. Still turned on (who knows what that did to the circuitry…).
We turned it off, put it back in the car, turned off the stray 2m Fox-Or still on in there (d’oh!) and headed back for another go at the Fox-Or. But it didn’t turn up. We checked a few frequencies, wandered further away than it should have been, and no trace of it. We gave up and returned to the car and had a look at the start list. At about the time that Tim Hatley got into ARDF #1 (and he was the only one that found it, so presumably there were people loitering around who followed him in and broke it), a pair of newcomers might have been attempting to find Fox-Or G on the other side of the track. It wasn’t the easiest location for a newbie, so they might have had some trouble and wandered back out. But someone watching could have easily followed the track in and if they were observant, spotted the flag hanging in the scrub. It wasn’t THAT overgrown.
So there you have it. A disappointing end to what had looked like a good turn out and enjoyable day. We hope people enjoyed the courses nonetheless, and a special welcome to all the newcomers who graced us with their presence!
The results follow (bearing in mind on the RadiO legs that many people lost a lot of time looking for transmitters that weren’t there! Sorry!). Please post a comment here if we’ve got the number of controls you found or whether you were walking or running wrong.
Thanks for coming! Marta and Pierre
2m Fox-or loop
|Competitor||#Tx||Start time||Finish time||Time taken|
|Henk de Jong||6||10:56:00||12:35:00||1:39:00|
|Nick Wong and Pam Chang||4||10:20:00||11:37:21||1:17:21|
80m ARDF loop
|Competitor||#Tx||Start time||Finish time||Time taken|
|Henk de Jong||2||12:44:00||13:19:00||0:35:00|
|Competitor||Run/Walk||Start time||Finish time||Time taken|
|Henk de Jong||W||10:23:21||10:38:30||0:15:09|
|The Liau family||W||10:03:00||10:25:30||0:22:30|
|The Tan family||W||10:03:00||10:26:25||0:23:25|
|The Cheah family||W||10:03:00||10:28:15||0:25:15|
|The Tong family||W||10:31:00||11:27:39||0:56:39|
|Brooke and Max Murray||R||10:01:00||10:26:08||0:25:08|
|Competitor||Run/Walk||# Controls||Start time||Finish time||Time taken|
|The Fleming family||W||10||10:05:00||10:54:20||0:49:20|
|The Liau family||W||6||10:35:00||10:54:40||0:19:40|
|The Tan family||W||6||10:35:00||10:54:50||0:19:50|
|The Cheah family||W||6||10:35:00||10:55:50||0:20:50|
|John and Jackie Dempster||R||10||10:00:00||10:46:30||0:46:30|
|Brooke and Max Murray||R||8||11:25:35||12:35:30||1:09:55|
|Kristian Ruuska||R||1||Dunno, but love the leaf control card!|