Melboure July fox hunt 2016

        VK3CI July fox hunt report

For the July hunt we were pleasantly surprised to get 4 teams (MZ, BLN, FAST, FOX) despite a number of people being unavailable. The hounds gathered in Glen Waverley for a cold but fortunately dry night of hunting. All hunts were on 2m and single leg.

Fox team for the night was Ian (CI), Mark (BES), Suzanne (FSZI), Kostas and Pano.

Details of each hunt
#1: Pano and Ian were hidden in a bush at the northern end of a grassy laneway near Brandon Park. A few hounds tried to get in by simply saying it’s in the bush without seeing either us or the fox. All found us except MZ, with Darian first in.

#2: The fox was located at the north end of a long pathway that runs between shops/factories and a shipping container yard. The only way in was from the south but teams tried to get in from the east which was close to the fox (strong signal) and appeared to possibly offer access. Darian worked this out first and then Marta appeared a very short time later. Unfortunately MZ and FOX did not find this within the 10 minutes.

#3: Pano and Ian were standing under shallow alcoves just under Ferntree Gully Rd at the end of another grass lane. Teams trying to access us from FTG Rd would have been only 2m from us but unable to see us or access us due to the large drop. Thanks to Bruce for discovering this while cycling to StreetO. Only 2 teams found us within time – Darian first, followed by Marta a minute later.

#4: We were in a clump of trees near where the bike path goes under the Monash Freeway. We had expected teams to come to us along the bike path, either from the west or north. But the teams all approached us from the south and crossed the creek. Fortunately it had not rained for a while so there was not too much water to cross! MZ seemed to get their act together in this hunt – despite earlier DNF’s they were first to arrive. This improved performance however was short-lived.

#5: The fox was located under the metal steps of a portaloo located behind houses along the north side of the railway line near Carnegie station. Pano and Ian were hiding nearby, behind a large signalling control cabinet to watch for any hounds crossing the tracks from the south side. That’s where we spotted Darian. Fortunately he kept running until he found the pedestrian crossing about 50m past us. Pano jumped into the loo and sure enough Darian thought the fox was inside and was greeted by a smiling face but no fox. Didn’t take him long to find it however. A few minutes later BLN’s car appeared almost opposite us in a street on the south side. Marta jumped out, yelled something at the car, jumped back in and they drove off. Roger also approached on foot from the south side and kept running past and crossed at the correct place but arrived a minute after time was up. BLN finally arrived close behind (as expected they drove in). David complained the signal was weaker than expected, probably due to the Faraday shielding of the loo steps and trailer. If Marta had stayed out of the car and run where Roger and Darian went she would probably have got in within time. We felt generous so gave Roger and David 8 and 9 respectively rather than 10. BLN had been within a couple of minutes of the winner in the previous hunts – maybe the change was due to David and Marta’s baby testing out the touch screen rather than fox issues? – Never too young to start fox-hunting. This was the first test of CI’s fox controller which was quickly thrown together to turn an old IC22 into a fox – cycles PTT with a (sinusoidal) morse ident added every 2 minutes. From reports it seemed to work ok. Not bad for < $5 plus some junk box bits.

#6: Suzanne and Mark located the fox in Sir Zelman Cowan Park west of the Monash Freeway in a narrow area between the freeway fence and some cricket nets. It seems that the wire fences shielded the signal in some directions. MZ were first to drive into the closest car park to our location but decided the signal was too weak so unfortunately for them went away and tried to approach via the creek under the freeway. Ironically we had earlier thought of putting the fox there but thought the creek was a bad idea if there was heavy rain on the night. BLN, FOX and FAST all approached from a different direction and ran to us across one of the ovals, arriving in fairly quick succession – but apparently a few of them had thought the creek was the likely location of the fox and had already done a run down the Gardiners Creek drain.

#7: When Pano & Ian arrived at the planned spot near the start of Whitehorse Rd we thought it might cause a problem with residents so we investigated the park neartby. Fortunately a small drain was found in a hill that fitted the fox perfectly. All teams found it pretty easily, most via the nearby side street, within a couple of minutes of Darian who was (yet again) first. Mark and Suzanne were surprised to catch up with the hounds while driving east along Toorak road on the way to the supper location. Knowing that the fox location was near Burke/Whitehorse Road, we were amused that no-one had headed north by the time we saw them well east of Burke Road. We resisted the temptation to yell out “turn left” as we passed them. By the time we reached Warrigal Road, the last of the hounds headed north and we proceeded to supper.

The late start and need to wait a couple of times for teams to gather their runners and assemble for the next hunt meant we were a little further than hoped from the supper location when we renamed hunt 7 the supper hunt and abandoned the remaining planned locations.

BLN and MZ both won a hunt (impressive for MZ as it was only Ian and Roger), thus just preventing FAST getting a perfect score. Scores have been posted to the web site (note FOX is up next month), details below.

HuntBLNFASTFOXMZ
130310
2101010
31024
41150
590108
601110
71022
Total1623344
Place2134

A big thanks to Olga and Pierre for braving the cold and organising a BBQ supper in Halliday Park for everyone – yummy!

And also thanks to Mark MD for loan of his baby monitor / fox and battery.      

The rest of the ARDF chamnpionships

Hi,

  to all those still following 🙂

Today’s blog comes from Bruce, and covers the last 2 days of competition here in Gumna.

However, before that, here’s some pictures from the awards ceremony covering the first 2 days.

The Aussie team
The Aussie team

GOLD for Australia. Kristian M21 champion
GOLD for Australia. Kristian M21 champion

Me ! Bronze for Day 1 ARDF on 2m
Me ! Bronze for Day 1 ARDF on 2m

Team Bronze for Jack Ewen Day 1
Team Bronze for Jack Ewen Day 1

Jenelle 3rd on Sprint Event
Jenelle 3rd on Sprint Event

Ewen the silver sprinter
Ewen the silver sprinter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday was the 2nd classic ARDF event; 2m for Jenelle, Ewen & Jack, 80m for Kristian and myself.

Yep more wettish conditions, but far less rain, more just humidity and wet forest. After issues with water somehow making it into the 80m sniffers the day before, in the torrential rain on the Sprint day, we were all equipped with multiple layers of plastic bags today.

On the bus, Day 3 classic ARDF
On the bus, Day 3 classic ARDF

Flooded river
Flooded river

The start, Day 3 (same start on Day 1,3 & 4 !
The start, Day 3 (same start on Day 1,3 & 4 !

The Start location was the same, but we went the opposite direction.

For some reason they had North at an angle and downwards on the map; no orienteering conventions followed here !  At least there are blue North lines.

The terrain was hillier, with some pretty impressive cliffs.

Kristian wasn’t quite able to maintain his commanding form today, but still managed a commendable silver, as luckily others in Open found it tough too. We estimate the running ‘orienteering’ time would have been under 30mins, so the course length was short, but tricky dircetion finding.

Ooops. Typhoon damage.
Ooops. Typhoon damage.

Not the same story in my age group, with some times around 44 mins (well under the Open times, with the TX we didn’t have to find only a few mins extra.
I had an awful day making mistakes/confused on both my first and last TX, so with 2 major errors consigned down to 7th.

All Jenelle’s W60 girls DNF’d either with overtime or no TXs found, with Jenelle heartbreakingly the closest on only 2 mins overtime. The overtime rules in ARDF are sudden death ! Time limit was 2.5 hours. More some navigational confusion this time, apparently. No medals in W60 for this one.

Ewen and Jack have pulled off a team gold. Jack did a great course to get bronze, but Ewen had a pretty awful time on 2m at one of the TX’s, and made it back with only minutes to spare. Those who beat Jack, though, each only had 1 team-mate, and they both failled to find all TX’s, so that puts the team result up the top, despite the pretty average total time.

Greg, as a roving field referee, may have travelled more distance than any of us competitors, as he visited all controls, both 2m and 80m, and he had a fun time walking aroind with his Japanese counterpart. One 80m TX was misplaced, resulting in it being only about 350m from another 80m TX. Both Kristian and my GPS traces confirm this. The organisers are collecting all contributed competitors GPS tracks in order to do some sort of live replay.

So, another pretty good day for the Aussies.

In the FoxOr today, the courses were yet again from the same start area, this time with a map overlapping with the first classic a fair bit, but landscape rather than portrait.

Again Kristian beats all for gold on a physically tough M21 course (only drop 1 particular FoxOr). By a good 25min margin too.

Today he was joined by Jennelle who picked her way carefully through the W60 course to soundly beat the other 2 ladies. Another gold.

Ewen had nothing left in the tank afterwards but did a consistent course to get a well earned silver.  The
orienteering expertise showing through.

That’s it for the medals today.  Looked for a while like I might get one despite a poor order selection on my part (really I should know better!), but two Lee’s from Korea downloaded very late,  both with shorter times,  pushing me into the 4th place twilight zone, with Nikolai from USA in first.

Nikolai from USA (originally Moldova) who thrashed me in the M50 sprint.
Nikolai from USA (originally Moldova) who thrashed me in the M50 sprint.

Great event by Japan, in challenging conditions, especially the sprint day. This terrain was much more forest runnable than back in 2005.

The only comments I might make were:
– The training day transmitters were not properly representative of those used in the field.
– Downloading at the hotel afterwards is a bit frustrating, not knowing till much later in the day how you fared.
– Transmitter placement a bit off yesterday resulting in TXs too close (but it didn’t really impact on the competition).
– Start list generation needs lots of work.  Many in same category starting together.

Pictures from tonight’s awarding ceremony may appear in a later blog.

Cheers Bruce

What, there’s more ??

  1. Well, you’ve followed the excitement of JWOC, then the WOC, and the adventures of those in Scotland at the WMOC, then the magnificent gold in the WMTBO at the sprint by Angus R, and possibly even the Icelandic bike trek by Greg A and Gavin’s mountainous ramblings on the way to the WRC, so surely that’s it ? All over for the year ?

Well NO!! because there’s just one more, and we’ve of course saved the best till last !
The Region 3 Radio Orienteering championships being held in Japan.

I’m getting waaaay ahead of myself though, because we aren’t actually at the champs yet, just on the way. Some of us have actually made it to Japan though, so this blog entry will just recap the last few days.

[Those following/on Facebook may have already seen some of the photos, but I make no apologies, because they are some of the best, and we can`t have the blog missing out on those !]

We’re on the Southern Island of Japan at present. Not as far south as Yakoshima Island (refer Glaspoles), but nearly.

I’m writing this blog entry on the train b ask from Ibusuki,  but let’s go back to the beginning :

Kumomoto

First day, a bit out of it after all the flying etc, was a visit to Kumomoto castle.

Kumamoto Castle, main building
Kumamoto Castle, main building

 

 

 

 

 

The huge beams under the Kumomoto castle.
The huge beams under the Kumomoto castle.

 

 

 

 

 

Ewen & Jennelle walking to K.Castle.
Ewen & Jennelle walking to K.Castle.

 

 

 

 

 

Jennelle tucks into 'dinner'. Yummy skewers.
Jennelle tucks into ‘dinner’. Yummy skewers.

The next day we hired a car. The excitement for the day was one of our number misplaced a handbag.  I don’t have one and pretty sure Ewen doesn’t either!  Luckily, being Japan, it was handed in to the police. However, since we only discovered the lack of said accoutrement on returning the hire car, two of our party stayed behind in Kumamoto to travel back to Aso police for the bag, whilst I headed on down to Kagoshima. I managed to convince the hotel in Kagoshima to not charge them a cancellation for the night though.

Had a slightly abbreviated walk at Takachiho Gorge, due to cyclone damage, and an even more abbreviated visit to Mt Aso volcano, where the cable car (ropeway) had been closed down temporarily, due to a level 2 volcano activity risk just declared by Japan BOM, up from level 1.

The stunning Takachiho Gorge
The stunning Takachiho Gorge

Ewen checks out the gorge.
Ewen checks out the gorge.

The angry Mt Aso
The angry Mt Aso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kagoshima

A bit rainy the next morning, but it slowed a bit later in the morning so I sent fit a walk around.

Kagoshima bay
Kagoshima bay

Bruce's walk above Kumomoto.
Bruce’s walk above Kumomoto.

View of Kagoshima and the nearby island volcano. Apparently at increased risk of eruption at the moment!
View of Kagoshima and the nearby island volcano. Apparently at increased risk of eruption at the moment!

Lot's of tourist harvesting
Lot’s of tourist harvesting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E & T arrive, so it’s off to the Samurai gardens <pictures may follow later>, and the next day the Peace museum south of Kagoshima.

Checking out the Kamakasi plane outside the peace museum.
Checking out the Kamakasi plane outside the peace museum.

 

 

 

 

 

Had to visit the Ibusuki hot baths, despite the humidity, on multiple recommendations.

Ibusuki sand baths
Ibusuki sand baths

At the hot sand baths, Ibusuki
At the hot sand baths, Ibusuki

Diesel-electric spur line train to the deep south, but a high class express on the return journey.
Diesel-electric spur line train to the deep south, but a high class express on the return journey. Then onwards on the shinkenzen to Hiroshima.

Chef prepares our fried noodle 'pancake' in Hiroshima.
Chef prepares our fried noodle ‘pancake’ in Hiroshima.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80m ARDF Yarra Band

Had a field of 6 competitors for the 80M Ardf at Yarra Bend on Sun 2 Aug 2015
The early weather reports were looking like rain, but it managed to hold off until everyone had gone home and all the controls were picked up.
My attempts to make control number 1 and 2 quick and easy, seemed to fall off the rails , with everyone reporting a strong signal from above the road SE (and out of bounds).
Followed by a correction to NE once people got to the road. (Many competitors did this control last)
Intermittent transmission of control 4 also caused a bit of confusion.
I had hoped 5 would be more difficult for the advanced runners, but most people seemed to take it in their stride, getting a good bearing from 3 and running down a geographically constrained area past the control.
1  Bruce     Paterson       1:06:57    1-2-3-5-4
2  Ian    Dodd            1:11:11    1-4-3-5-2
3  Greg    Williams    1:37:58    1-5-3-4-2
4  Jenelle   Templeton    1:27:37    1-2-3-5
5  Peter     Maloney    1:00:13    3
6  Suzanne O’Callaghan 1:01:10    1
As for the Mystery, pin the tail on the donkey event, several people had difficulty hearing this control, and when collecting controls I had found that most of the extendable sections of squid pole, (used to hang the antenna wire) had telescoped, giving very poor radiation. It was fully extended at 7AM, with a little extra force applied to each section, but somewhere along the way, it collapsed.
Bruce was the first on this event, and reported that the antenna may have fallen down during his run, about 12:30, with an unexplained drop in power.
Bruce and Jenelle were equal first, with Ian coming 3rd.
Hamish McDonald

Vic Champs 2015 Report

Report – 2015 Victorian ARDF Championships

Dale Creek (Near Greendale), Wombat State Forest.

20th June 2015

Where is Greendale and what is the orienteering map?

A call to the Sheahans put me onto Lindsay Thomas of Tuckonie Orienteering Club. He searched his map archives and only found a scanned PDF, then E-mailed the Sunleys (now in Canberra) and Julie sent soft copies. In business! Off to the site to tape some control locations. It’s steep and thick in the gullies so I decide not to make it too serious. Charged and checked the transmitters, No. 4 did not work. Too late to obtain the spare, so the course was re-arranged to suit four transmitters.

start2015VicChamps
At the Start

 

On the day it was cold, cloudy and there was drizzle early on. Put out No 5 with assistance from a visiting ham from NSW (sorry, forgot the name and call) who was seeing how we do things. Returned to the start and some had arrived early, so left them to register while I put out the remaining three transmitters on foot. On my return Bruce had obviously heard the four going and got things started. It was interesting to see which way many went from the start and this was an indication of what was to happen out on the course. Basically reflections ruled the day and all competitors traveled significant distances chasing the imaginary!

See where they went on RouteGadget.

In short it was extremely challenging, more than intended… Well, they all seemed to have fun. Dianne and Henk had the best walk after losing concentration on the way back and going the wrong way down one of the many tracks!

Bruce just winning by a small time margin from Kristian. Apologies for not clarifying a time limit. After Tx pickup it was off to the Greendale pub!

Grant Jeffrey VK3KGM

Tx5
TX #5, Way down south

 

Results

Name Start Finish Duration CPs
Bruce Paterson

1320

1449

1h 29min 1,2,3,5.
Kristian Ruuska

1335

1509

1h 34min 1,2,3,5.
Greg Williams

1345

1517

1h 32min 1,2,3.
Doug Canning

1340

1544

2h 4min 2,3.
Ewen Templeton

1325

1550

2h 25min 2,3,5.
Jenelle Templeton

1330

1506

1h 36min none
Jack Bramham

1315

1505

1h 50min none
Dianne Shalders

1310

1654

Very long 1,2,3.
Henk DeJong

1310

1654

Time! 1,2,3.

Lilydale Heights Radio Combo

Sat, 23 May, 2015

Great weather and an interesting area. Ten people competed in the “Radio Combo” event. Well done to Bruce and Kris who got all the orienteering controls and all the FoxOrs. Unfortunately Kris started a couple of minutes late, otherwise the finish might have been neck and neck. As it was, Bruce finished first by a comfortable margin.

Further down the field, there were some very close scores. Judging from the feedback, I think that everyone had a good time.

Name2 pt3 pt4 pt5 ptFoxOrTotalArrival
Bruce Paterson555551201
Kris Ruuska555551202
Ian Dodd554551165
Ewen Templeton244551076
Pierre Brokner33315828
Henk De Jong23315807
Dianne Shalders13244794
Jenelle Templeton13334783
Jack Bramham23115729
Keith Anker121145710

Night RadiO Report

Sat, 22 November, 2014

Well the Night-RadiO was an unexpected success.

It wasn’t officially on our event calender till recently, but without the healthy number of 10 RadiO competitors, the Night-O champs would have looked a bit lean, with only 25 Bush-O-only competitors (including two visiting Czech competitors who turned up very late).

The weather presented mild temperatures, but with periodic rain showers, and a particularly heavy shower just before the 12 midnight deadline. This caught a couple of competitors out, and Dennis, who could no longer read his map, made a call back to base for directions home !

The RadiO event consisted of 4 2m ARDF transmitters on 145.3MHz, and 6 2m FoxOrs on 145.7Mhz. The FoxOr circles were not marked on the map, except the competitors were alerted that at 6 of the normal Bush-O controls, a FoxOr could be heard. I just didn’t say which 6 !

There were 33 Bush-O controls, but I wasn’t cruel, and all but one of the FoxOrs were near Bush-O controls near the start, many inside the ARDF 750m exclusion circle.

The Bush-O controls scored between 20 and 80 points each in the 3 hour score event, the FoxOrs 100 points each, and each ARDF Tx 150 points.

The time was 3 hours, and started on-time at 9pm.

Originally I had intended there to be 5 of each ARDF and FoxOrs, but unfortunately the battery in TX#4 was terminally dead. I deduced this was due to a key-switch which had become loose, and therefore the TX possibly wasn’t turned off after an event sometime. All fixed now, but a lot of stuffing about on the night to determine it was not gonna be a goer. I also had issues with the internally soldered connections in the TX#2 turnstile antenna, but was able to make a temporary repair for the night. Also fixed now. Due to the lack of one of the ARDF’s I added in another FoxOr.

Thanks to all those who went out again after midnight to pick up a couple of RadiO controls each !

Thanks also to Henk & Di for the lunch on Sunday of pancakes with strawberries and maple syrup. Yum !

Here are the results:

http://eventor.orienteering.asn.au/Events/ResultList?eventId=1348&groupBy=EventClass

The RadiO results are under Junior Male for some weirdo Eventor reason (might even be changed to RadiO by the time you view them).

Congrats to Kristian, the winner of the chocolate bar, even beating Simon’s Bush-O score (but then, the RadiO scoring was a bit biassed!). Also specials mentions to Grant and Mark taking out the minor placings with commendable scores. It was interesting to note the different score gathering strategies, with different balances of the 3 options (ARDF, FoxOr and the higher-scoring Bush-O’s).

People seemed to enjoy the event format, despite the plethora of things to do and keep in mind. Discussions afterwards indicated it was really good practice for keeping map contact, or relocating again if you lost it, as you had to know where you were to find the Bush-O controls. This is a good idea for ARDF, allowing your bearings to have an accurate start point. In normal ARDF you can normally muddle through if you don’t keep map contact, but this event didn’t allow you to do that (too much….).

Oh, and the two Czech competitors who went out to try some Night-O (with borrowed head-light and southern hemisphere compasses) ? They knew all about Radio orienteering of course. “There are a whole group of them in the next town over from where we live; they often participate in normal orienteering events with us too”.

Note for next night event … get some more reflective tape to replace the missing strips.

Blog 14 – A Lakeable Corner

This is Bruce’s 4th blog, but the staggering 14th overall. Hope you’ve all managed to stay with us so far, despite the amount of stuff landing in your inbox/facebook ! Actually, it’d be nice to know who is still with us, so make an effort to “Like” the facebook post or leave a blog comment or email. Sometimes it feels a bit like we’re sending all this off into the void 🙂

I’ll let the pictures mostly tell the story. This takes us out of the Altyn-Emel national park and eventually back to Almaty via the south east corner of Kazakhstan.

Here is also some random bits of >>video<< of various treks, including the singing dune, and Sergey’s shortcut through the mountains.

Here’s the rocket >>video<< again as many seemed to have missed it.

This is likely my last blog from this trip. We have one more day in Almaty faffing around, then Greg heads back to Melbourne, and 3 of us head to Perth for the Australian Orienteering Championships (& Sprints, & MTBO). It’s been fun !

A dual-humped camel herd (or whatever camels group in) just outside the national park.
A dual-humped camel herd (or whatever a camels collective is) just outside the national park.

A steppe mouse. Very hard to catch a photo as they flit from bush to bush to burrow (hence this unflattering angle). They make squeaky bird-like calls to warn others of danger.
A steppe mouse. Very hard to catch a photo as they flit from bush to bush to burrow (hence this unflattering angle). They make squeaky bird-like calls to warn others of danger.

Sergey, our driver, actually runs his own 4WD and motorbike trekking business. This didn't stop him copping a speeding fine in a roadworks area, but he was able to 'negotiate' the fine down to 1000 tenge from the official 1800.
Sergey, our driver, actually runs his own 4WD and motorbike trekking business. This didn’t stop him copping a speeding fine in a roadworks area, but he was able to ‘negotiate’ the fine down to 1000 tenge from the official 1800.

 

 

 

A particular rare variety of Ash (Aspen) tree found only in this part of Kazakhstan, and at similar latitudes in Canada.
A particular rare variety of Ash (Aspen) tree found only in this part of Kazakhstan, and at similar latitudes in Canada.

We pulled over at a roadside vendors to buy some local grapes. Like in Kyrgyzstan, there seem to be many small vendors selling exactly the same things in a row, which appears a bit inefficient.
We pulled over at a roadside vendors to buy some local grapes. Like in Kyrgyzstan, there seem to be many small vendors selling exactly the same things in a row, which appears a bit inefficient.

Desert Lizzard
Desert Lizzard

 

 

 

 

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In most of the smaller villages and towns the animals tend to roam freely without supervision. They seem to know where they have to be and who they belong to so it pretty much seems to work out.
In most of the smaller villages and towns the animals tend to roam freely without supervision. They seem to know where they have to be and who they belong to so it pretty much seems to work out.

The Charyn Canyon. There are a few pictures of this, despite me only picking a few,  as it was so dramatic. Sorry about that.
The Charyn Canyon. There are a few pictures of this, despite me only picking a few, as it was so dramatic. Sorry about that.

Charyn Canyon
Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon
Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon
Charyn Canyon

Walking inside Charyn Canyon. We had lunch there too.
Walking inside Charyn Canyon. We had lunch there too.

Charyn Canyon
Charyn Canyon

Quite a few rock pieces looked very precarious.
Quite a few rock pieces looked very precarious.

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The old broken bitumen road into Saty was a bit slow going.
The old broken bitumen road into Saty was a bit slow going.

Our Guesthouse in the village of Saty, 1500m
Our Guesthouse in the village of Saty, 1500m

The wood heated bathhouse was the go for washing at the Saty guesthouse.
The wood heated bathhouse was the go for washing at the Saty guesthouse.

Junction box in steam laden batch house in Saty.
Junction box in steam laden bath house in Saty.

Interesting house wiring in Saty bathhouse. 220VAC !
Interesting house wiring in Saty bathhouse. 220VAC !

This village cow wasn't that interested in moving out of the way
This village cow wasn’t that interested in moving out of the way

View from our Saty guesthouse
View from our Saty guesthouse

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What creature with bright eyes was this that approaches ?
What creature with bright eyes was this that approaches ?

Autumn colours, leaving Saty
Autumn colours, leaving Saty

Leaving Saty. A typical sight.
Leaving Saty. A typical sight.

At hotels & guest houses in Kazakhstan something strange happens. They come and carefully 'unmake' your bed every day. Anything above the bottom sheet needs to be carefully folded so it does not fall over the side at all. This means you have to then make your bed each night so that you can sleep in it !
At hotels & guest houses in Kazakhstan something strange happens. They come and carefully ‘unmake’ your bed every day. Anything above the bottom sheet needs to be carefully folded so it does not fall over the side at all. This means you have to then make your bed each night so that you can sleep in it !

In the small, very rural village of Saty, where having electricity at all seems to be a miracle, one doesn't expect to come across a ceiling light fitting with flashing LED sequences and a USB flash stick socket to play music !
In the small, very rural village of Saty, where having electricity at all seems to be a miracle, one doesn’t expect to come across a ceiling light fitting with flashing LED sequences and a USB flash stick socket to play music !

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Heading down to Lake Kol'sai #1. There are 3 lakes in a chain, with #3 being very close to the Kyrgyzstan border in the Toen Sien mountains.
Heading down to Lake Kol’sai #1. There are 3 lakes in a chain, with #3 being very close to the Kyrgyzstan border in the Toen Sien mountains.

Kol-sai Lake
Kol-sai Lake

Kol-sai Lake rower was a park ranger collecting litter.
Kol-sai Lake rower was a park ranger collecting litter.

Where we had lunch above Kol'sai #1, viewed from the other side of the lake.
Where we had lunch above Kol’sai #1, viewed from the other side of the lake.

View of the Tien Sien mountains. The highest peak in Kazakhstan is near the corner of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China and is 5699m. Nearby in Kyrgyzstan the peaks reach 7200m.
View of the Tien Sien mountains. The highest peak in Kazakhstan is near the corner of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China and is 5699m. Nearby in Kyrgyzstan the peaks reach 7200m.

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Lake Kaindy (Birch tree) was a beautifully clear lake that was formed by an earthquake in 1911. The dead pine trees in the lake still stand as it's so cold there is little bacterial decay.
Lake Kaindy (Birch tree) was a beautifully clear lake that was formed by an earthquake in 1911. The dead pine trees in the lake still stand as it’s so cold there is little bacterial decay.

Lake Kaindy refelctions
Lake Kaindy refelctions

Lake Kaindy pines
Lake Kaindy pines

Scrambling along the bank of Lake Kaindy.
Scrambling along the bank of Lake Kaindy.

View above Lake Kaindy
View above Lake Kaindy

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Sergey, our driver, was keen to take a short-cut through a rugged mountain pass. A loud ding at one point was the spare wheel underneath taking a direct hit. Also one of the running boards took a bit of a hit scraping past another rock.
Sergey, our driver, was keen to take a short-cut through a rugged mountain pass. A loud ding at one point was the spare wheel underneath taking a direct hit. Also one of the running boards took a bit of a hit scraping past another rock.

A road on the return journey to Almaty, near a very large aqueduct leading to Almaty (the Big Almaty Canal). It was nearly empty as the dam that feeds it is very low due to the hot & very dry summer. We therefore didn;t visit this dam as originally planned, but Issyk lake instead.
A road on the return journey to Almaty, near a very large aqueduct leading to Almaty (the Big Almaty Canal). It was nearly empty as the dam that feeds it is very low due to the hot & very dry summer. We therefore didn;t visit this dam as originally planned, but Issyk lake instead.

Issyk lake near Almaty. This natural lake was destroyed by mud slides in 1963. 100's died as they were there to see the Russian President, who was running late !  This news was suppressed at the time. In the late 90's dams were built to replace the original (now destroyed) earthquake plugs and the dam was resurrected (but smaller than the original).
Issyk lake near Almaty. This natural lake was destroyed by mud slides in 1963. 100’s died as they were there to see the Russian President, who was running late ! This news was suppressed at the time. In the late 90’s dams were built to replace the original (now destroyed) earthquake plugs and the dam was resurrected (but smaller than the original).

Issyk Lake
Issyk Lake

Replica of the Golden man found in a burial mound near Almaty. His 'tomb' was preserved intact from prehistoric grave robbers, as he was a young royal prince (about 17) placed in a different spot away from the central King's tomb (which was empty and destroyed)
Replica of the Golden man found in a burial mound near Almaty. His ‘tomb’ was preserved intact from prehistoric grave robbers, as he was a young royal prince (about 17) placed in a different spot away from the central King’s tomb (which was empty and destroyed)

 

Blog 10, The Fox-or runaround

I went for a walk around the lake yesterday afternoon as it was so nice that the sun had come out, as it seems to about 4pm.

lake.

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Last night was the 2nd lot of presentations, including the team results for both ARDF competitions, and the Sprint presentations. Now if you’ve ever been to a World Championship of some sort you’ll know what to expect here. We stood for the Russian, Ukranian and Czech Republic national anthems rather too many times. It’s a relief to occasionally get a look in from Germany, Hungary, Slovakia or Sweden. And yes, there was a pretty big team from Ukraine after all. Often they shared the podium with a Russian.

The only Region 3 team to make the podium was a Korean Bronze team result in one of the older men’s categories.

This morning it was up at the normal time for the trip to the Fox-or. This didn’t go quite as planned. We drove and drove through the national park. I even spotted some potential tape in the forest at one point, but no, driving and driving on. We ended up in open plains. This just doesn’t look right, I thought, as the line of buses eventually pulls to a halt. My guess turned out to be right as the first bus then completed a U-turn and the rest followed suit. Driving, driving, back the way we’d come, turn off, driving, finally another stop. Our bus driver gets out for a smoke !? People drift off the bus to have a pee break; after all we’ve been traveling for an hour or so. The Czech team leader wonders if perhaps the real organiser of these Kazakh championships is Sacha Baron Cohen…. We jerk into action again for yet another U-turn, and retrace our steps to yet another new junction. Bit like a 6m foxhunt really.

Eventually we stop at a group of tents, only to find that’s the finish location, and off we go again to the start. Luckily, all this scenic detouring only delayed the FoxOr start by 15 minutes.

Start compound FoxOr
Start compound FoxOr

Overall we had a pretty good competition day today. FoxOring is a more simplified version of Radio Orienteering. The circle, just like an orienteering control circle, denotes a spot where you can (hopefully) hear a nearby very weak transmitter, which you then run towards and punch the SI control (no flag).

 

Start compound FoxOr
Start compound FoxOr

FoxOr map for M50
FoxOr map for M50

Greg starting (across the road)
Greg starting (across the road)

Greg wisely dropped off a couple of his more remote controls, and managed to stay in contact with the map. Greg declares he’ll need a bit (a lot?) of training if he is going to go to Japan Region 3 championships next year. Ewen found all of his allocated controls in time (very estatic Ewen), as did I. It didn’t start well for me, with a long run to the very remote L3 (see map), not yielding any discernable FoxOr signal. After some time faffing around I decided I must be in the wrong spot somehow and had to just get on with it. I then ran to all my other FoxOrs in turn. Some of them I heard, others I had to see what other competitors nearby were doing to get a hint. My 80m sniffer simply isn’t adequate for this event it seems, despite some improvements made since the last time. When I got to my final F4 control (which was faulty and only emitting a continuous carrier tone), I saw I had about 50mins before my time limit was up. I estimated the distance back to the other end of the map and L3 about 5km, and decided to give it another bash. After a long run down the main road (again), I carefully navigated into the control circle. Yep, I recognised some features from last time. Still no signal, and noone in sight, as before. Using Dennis Mews ever increasing circles technique I eventually spotted the transmitter bag on the ground. Then I heard it ….. Now the long haul back to the finish beacon, the tone of which was wandering all over the place. I estimate my long detour took 22 minutes all up, but at least I had the satisfaction of finding them all. The team (and that horn) welcomed me back.

Jack had a bit of a wander around the course today, finding a few transmitters here and there. Jack admits navigation is not his strength, but Jenelle was determined to do better than in Serbia, and did very creditably in her very competitive class. She says her first control choice was L5 (see map; I didn’t have to get that one hence the cross through it) involved an obscene quantity of contours to attain. Frustrated she didn’t get F4 due to it’s defective state, but happy otherwise.

The power went off in our hotel shortly after our return, a trip that took considerably less time than the morning’s journey. No power also meant no water for showers. Eeek ! Luckily some of us managed to get one in before the crunch.

Yay, Hungarian bronze
Yay, Hungarian bronze

Jiri (Czech) wins M60
Jiri (Czech) wins M60

And a bronze for wifey too (oh yeah, Russia 1st)
And a bronze for wifey too (oh yeah, Russia 1st)

Banquet
Banquet

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The presentations for the FoxOr (in the building conveniently next door) were running late again, so competitors started to avail themselves of the nearby banquet, and of course the free grog. This continued through the presentations. Women’s classses subjected us to way too many Russian national anthems, but a Norwegian win in W60 broke the monotony. The men’s were a little bit more diverse, but you find yourself cheering a bit more when someone new gains a place.

Many were asking us about 2018. Will Australia be running the World ARDF champs then ? The situation is this. It has been decided that a country in Region 3 can run the 2018 championship (the next in 2016 is in Bulgaria). Japan is running Region 3 championships next year, but may have also put in a bid for the world champs. Korea has put in a tentative bid, but they ran a world champs fairly recently. China has also expressed interest, but they need to gain permission from their organisation & government as yet. China ran a world champs in 2000, the first ever held in Region 3. Both China and Korea have shown they are able to run a good championships. So that leaves Australia, who have now also expressed interest, albeit only even hearing about all this when we had already left the country. Australia has run 3 Region 3 championships, but never a world champs !

Much more to be heard & discussed on this topic.

The Aussie team
The Aussie team

All in all a solid performance from the small Australian team at these championships. No disasters, no overtimes and a very credible performance from our two championships newbies, Greg & Jenelle (though Jenelle did have a prior try at the Serbian FoxOr). To do better we’d need much more training in classic ARDF, significantly more in ARDF sprints, and simply more competitors to make up teams. For FoxOr events ? Probably just better 80m sniffers would go a long way.

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Bruce

The tale of three gorges (Blog 6)

This blog this time is mostly a video blog <- click here !

Some background:
The bus was a extremely basic, but capable, 90’s Russian vehicle. It picked us up from Karakol to take us up the Alyn Arashan gorge.

The ‘onsen’ was heated by a natural hot thermal spring, great after the hike.

The very stony and bumpy road up the gorge
The very stony and bumpy road up the gorge

View to the snow capped peak above the gorge
View to the snow capped peak above the gorge

Relaxing in the thermal spring onsen atop the gorge
Relaxing in the thermal spring onsen atop the gorge

Strikng hills on the way to the gorge
Strikng hills on the way to the gorge

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The Jet Oguz gorge, south of Issy-Kul, was an easier hike, popular for family picnics.

It rained a little last night, for the first time since we’ve been here. It has been a very hot and extraordinary dry summer in Kyrgyzstan, but despite that, the rivers still pour down with snowmelt. Suspect the water may become an increasingly important resource.

The guest house accommodation in Tamga, on the southern side of Issy-Kul ,was a delightful guesthouse with an extensive garden of fruit trees and roses.

Garden at guesthouse
Garden at guesthouse

Tampa Guesthouse
Tamga Guesthouse

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Today we walked around the Skazka canyon, under threatening grey skies with lightening over the lake. Fantastic bands of colours in the sandy hills; would be great at sunset.

group
The group

Dry riverbed
Dry riverbed

Weird sandy rock
Weird sandy rock

Greg & Ewen
Greg & Ewen

Ewen
Ewen

Playdough !
Playdough !

Multi-coloured sandy rocks
Multi-coloured sandy rocks

Ewen on peak
Ewen on peak

Jenelle with Issy-Kul behind
Jenelle with Issy-Kul behind

Ravine
Ravine

Humans can see faces in anything
Humans can see faces in anything

Slot in cliff
Slot in cliff

Multi-coloured strata again
Multi-coloured strata again

Ripples
Ripples

Sky hole
Sky hole

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A bit of a long drive back to Bishkek, and the end of our Kyrgyzstani adventure. Tomorrow Kazakhstan !

Cheers,
Bruce

Continue reading “The tale of three gorges (Blog 6)”

Kyrgyzstan Greeting (Blog 2)

We’ve decided to take turns writing the blog this time. This time it’s Bruce’s turn !

I came from Melbourne, with a short afternoon trip in Istanbul before arriving in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; so I got quite tired of airports and airplanes. We arrived in Bishkek at around 5am local time (I got back 3 hours timezone I lost on the way to Istanbul!), and grabbed a few hours relieved sleep.

Our local guide Reville met us in a Delica (PeterMaloney) vehicle which we’ll bounce around in for the next few days. It’s right hand drive, being Japanese, but they also drive on the right. Apparently 40% of vehicles are right hand drive; it doesn’t seem to matter a lot. Most of the roads don’t have lines anyway, or if they do, they are very faint, or obscure to their purpose. For instance, on one 3 lane road, the middle lane seemed to operate as a sort of anarchy lane. A bit like Queens Parade, but without any overhead arrows.

The other roadside feature I noticed was that many of the power poles were like half-hearted Stobey poles (SA). The wooden post is lashed to a short concrete post that is in the ground.

Kyrgyzstan has a pretty mixed population with arab, asian, mogul and russian influences. Their original nationalities are still included on their Kyrgyzstani passports, which is a bit confusing. The city, Bishkek, has a population around 1 million, with only around 4 million population in the country. Most of the country is very, relatively poor,  rural, a bit like northern Serbia. Around 90% identify with Muslim faith, but there also seems to be plenty of grog around too ! (vodka).

After a bit of mucking about later this morning getting US$ out of recalcitrant bank ATM, we had lunch, Lagman is a yummy local noodle dish, and headed 30km or so South to a national park to go for a bit of a walk. The 3.5km along to a waterfall sounded a nice walk to stretch out the plane legs. The thing is, the track started to head up and up, sometimes quite steep. Panting and heart beating hard I checked the altitude on my phone maps. 2300m !  No wonder it seemed tough. Oh well, good altitude training. Most of us did make it all the way to the waterfall at 2600m, but being the end of summer it wasn’t that speccy really. The surrounding ragged mountain tops made up for it. The river is sourced from snow melt which you can see in some of the photos, probably starting at about 3000m. These are pretty big mountains !

Bruce

Jenelle: It was particularly hard going keeping upright on the gravelly steep path in parts. Thanks you Margie and Raf – those arduous sessions at the pool and pilates have paid off.

Maloney-mobile
Maloney-mobile

stobey pole
‘Stobey’ pole

starting up
Start of the walk

valley below
The Valley below

waterfall
Nearly at the waterfall

IMG_0575 (Copy)
Restaurant at the bottom

snow!
Snow !

waterfall
Is that all ?!

Cusworth rock
Cusworth hill (not Alice Springs)

IMG_0574 (Copy)
Jenelle & Ewen

July 2014 Foxhunt

Results for the VK3CI July hunt are as follows.

5 teams commenced the night at Clayton Railway Station for a night of semi-chaos with many teams, including the fox, having equipment issues.  BLN was the worst effected and they retired after hunt 1 (we needed Fitzel when one of the sausages hit the ground at supper). We understand their equipment is just clinging to life in ICU and we hope it recovers in time for the August hunt.

VK3FOX had 10m issues and actually headed North for hunt 3A and so didn’t find it in time. They have been given a start time for 3B of 2 minutes after 3A finished. That just allowed them to get into 3B before the 10 mins were up but didn’t change the overall placings.

No really low total score tonight – every team except MZ got at least one 10 and every team got at least one 0 (except BLN who still managed a 1 for the only hunt they were able to compete in).

FAST won overall (21), followed closely by MZ (25), then a gap to XJM (39) & FOX (41). BLN unfortunately get the worst score ever for them (71).

Scores have been posted on the ARDF site and it looks like FAST are running August and MZ running September.

Thanks to Ewen for helping out the fox team, to Kostas & Sophie for hosting supper and an honourable mention to Hamish who almost found us twice on hunt 3B (within 2m each side of us) without a sniffer before most other teams even got close.

(this was a much nicer table with a style sheet but the list server rejected the message for being too long so now it’s a boring table)

VK3CI AutoScore 0.4 – Score Sheet
















HuntSeq
Best/EndBLNFASTFOXMZXJM
11Time20:37:3620:37:4920:37:3620:41:0120:40:0520:39:45











Score20:46:3610433
2A2Time21:01:28
21:01:2821:07:4321:07:0721:10:34











Score21:10:281007610
2B3Time

21:24:1121:32:4921:30:4121:32:53


dt00:22:19
00:22:4300:25:0600:23:3400:22:19


Score
101320
3A4Time22:11:13
22:18:2222:22:1322:16:1422:11:13











Score22:20:131081060
3B5Time

22:39:5022:40:0622:28:0222:40:28


dt00:11:48
00:21:2800:17:5300:11:4800:29:15


Score
10107010
46Time23:07:38
23:07:3923:09:0523:07:3823:14:22












Score23:16:38101207
57Time23:38:44
23:39:3123:38:4423:39:1923:40:11












Score23:47:44101012
68Time23:57:31
23:57:3100:03:4400:03:1600:03:39












Score00:06:31100767
Total Score


7121402439
Finish Order


51423




BLNFASTFOXMZXJMCI
Melbourne Fox Hunt Points


141323

VK3 2013 February fox hunt

Results of the 2013 February 2M fox hunt

Fox for the evening was the VK3FOX team. The first hunt was Kristian quietly paddling on the Yarra in his kayak, this took teams a little to time to figure out but three teams did find him before time was up.

Second hunt was a two legged affair on 70CM and the lack of signal at the start was enough to spread the teams over a wide area. Eventually the hiding spot at an athletics track in Ringwood was found by all teams and they were off to the second leg. This was not far away on the bike/walking track beside Eastlink (there was some consternation when this was used as a vehicular track but as the fox was not without fault in this area in the past no drastic decisions were made.  I hate to suggest it but perhaps we should draft some rules some time.) This second leg was calculated on leg times and the scores below vary slightly from those announced on the night as the fox was confused!

Hunt three was in Warrendyte park in a old mine, I am told this was up a steep hill.

As time was running a bit short we decided the next hunt would be a simple affair and so a spot in Eltham near the historic trestle rail bridge was chosen.  The plan for a two legged hunt involving water  obstacles was abandoned.

Final hunt was on a walking track in Greensborough overlooking Partington’s flat sports grounds, one team came the easy way down the walkway from a nearby street but others were seen clambering up a rather steep and overgrown cliff to reach the hiding spot.

Teams retired to the home of Greg VK3VT for a supper of sandwiches, sausage rolls, zucchini slice, chicken wings and cake with hot and cold drinks.

Results are as follows

Team12/12/2345Place
VK3BLN0101001041421610262
VK3TXO109198278359444485
VK3FAST10102012110310311324
VK3MZ/VR6101611710274310313
VK3CI20268083115161

73
Greg VK3VT for the VK3FOX Team

Sprint ARDF Event, You Yangs

A fairly unofficial ARDF sprint event on 2m was held this  morning, after the night orienteering events at the You Yangs. It was set around the delightful camping area.

I had problems with TX#3 behaving oddly and crapping over other cycles, so I left it out of this event. I think I may have mis-programmed it (some time ago) somehow !

5 hardy souls had a go, with Dennis H coming in from nearby (apologies about the locked gate!) just for the event. Congrats to Suzanne, who I imagine will be surprised she won overall.

 

Here are the results:

Name Time Txs found Ranking
Suzanne OC 25 mins 5 1
Dennis H 30 mins 5 2
Rex N 37 mins 5 3
Peter M 42 mins 5 4
Dennis M 14 mins 2 5

 

A few things to improve on:

  • We could try 20 sec on time (1:40 cycle time) to phase people into the shorter cycles
  • More work needs to be done on TX clock sync adjustment. I had problems with TXs drifting their timeslot and encroaching on others.
  • Better packaging. I think one reset itself by being bumped.

Boys Brigade training

​​Hi, my name is Samuel and I am participating in the Boys’ Brigade orienteering program.

We have learned lots and enjoyed the practice it gave us using the maps, compasses and the Sniffers. Our activities have included hiding orienteering stickers around the church and then tracking them using maps and our own ingenuity.

On Friday 21st ​of June 2013 we had people from the ARDF club come to our Boys Brigade night. Dianne, Bruce, Henk, and Pierre set up transmitters and taught us how to use the sniffers. Then they let us out to find them. We had lots of fun searching for and finding the transmitters. At the end of our evening even our visitors had fun tracking a security guard from Mitcham railway station who had taken one of the transmitters.

​So far this year my friends and I have been to two events, one was orienteering, the other was a Radio Sport event. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So I suggest you try it.

Samuel S.

P1000426

P1000430