Emerald Lake Park RadiO

Sunday, 15th Oct 2006

Emerald Sunday Special & RadiO

On a cloudy day, a small group of intrepid RadiO orienteers gathered at the Lion’s Den in Emerald Lake Park. Attendance was low, both for the RadiO event and the BK normal orienteering event being held in conjunction with ours – this was set by one of our members, Dianne. Nonetheless, every event on offer was tried by at least one person, with mixed results.

A 2m ARDF course was on offer – this was tried by Bruce. Unfortunately, over 2 hours after beginning, he returned rather disgruntled, and informed us that the event was an ARDF course, not a fox hunt! Excessive paranoia relating to stolen transmitters, coupled with bushland much thicker than we had anticipated, meant that the transmitters had been placed in locations that were really too obscure for an ARDF event, leading to a lot of time spent standing around near the transmitter locations, waiting for them to turn on again. A good point was made by Mike Hubbert – should we be really worried about people pinching our equipment, then we could continue to hide the transmitters thoroughly, and just place the flags high up and further away from the transmitter location, so they can easily be seen.

More successful were the FoxOr and CombO courses. Seven 2m FoxOr-ing controls had been placed around the lake, with four of the ARDF transmitters positioned “in-between” these controls. Those doing the CombO course had the option of finding any two of the ARDF transmitters, as well as the FoxOring controls. Gary and Henk completed the FoxOr without too much difficulty (except perhaps for control 2, which had been placed in fairly thick scrub), while Bryan, Mark and Mike had a shot at the CombO event. All three of the latter people found the ARDF controls, and seemed satisfied with the course, which was a bit of a relief after the ARDF debacle! Credit to Mike and Mark for heading out after already completing an orienteering circuit; especially as the heavens opened halfway through their events, drenching all those out there for a good half hour or so! Full marks to Bryan, also, for competing despite still recovering from foot problems following the marathon he had completed the previous week.

An 80m 5-in-5 course was also available, although only a couple of people had a shot at this – I think the rather unpleasant turn in the weather meant that most people wanted to dry off and head home once they returned, and weren’t as keen to give the RadiO courses a try. There seemed to be fewer of our regulars around as well, which didn’t help matters. Nonetheless, I put the controls out, vigorously flinging red cable up into the trees and then hiding in panic as both the wire and various overhanging branches rained back down on me! David then went out to give the course a shot. A few problems made themselves apparent. First, the thickness of the bush meant that cutting through forest to get between controls was not a viable option – you really had to run along tracks and dive off once you got close. I had provided blank maps of the general area to make this slightly less painful, but I’m not sure how easy it is to navigate while having 1 minute to get between controls! I actually had to put controls somewhat closer together than I had planned because of this little problem, and also because, just as I started putting transmitters out, some park rangers decided to close off a bridge I had planned to use! Secondly, David found that stopping to punch the control (given that they were generally located amongst fairly thick shrubbery), meant that there was no chance of getting to the next control within its cycle period. We therefore decided that it was OK to just sight the flag; punching was not required. We should perhaps adopt this method for future 5-in-5 events… Bryan had a go before this new rule was introduced, but independently decided not to physically approach the controls anyway, mainly because he was using a new 80m transmittter in which the sense antenna wasn’t working. Bruce went out afterwards, and had a successful run – he didn’t quite get to the first control in the first minute because he was a couple of seconds late starting, but found the rest within the second cycle period, which is pleasing.

All in all, the FoxOr and CombO events went quite well, as did the 5-in-5 once the non-punching rule was implemented. Best not to say anything further about the ARDF course! A few more people giving the event a go would have been nice, but you can’t do much about the weather, I guess…


NameEvent# ARDF Controls# FoxOr ControlsTime
Bruce PatersonARDF52:08:20
Bryan AckerlyCombO271:07:00
Mark BesleyCombO271:27:40
Mike HubbertCombO251:40:35
Gary PanterFoxOr71:17:20
Henk DeJongFoxOr71:39:00

Marta and David