- North Wales D.F. Challenge

Sunday 24th April 2005


There is little doubt that the April 2005 W.A.D.A.R.C. North Wales D.F. Challenge will be remembered as the stuff of legends!  It contains all the ingredients of an epic struggle of man against the ether.  Radio Amateurs pushed their equipment and themselves to limits they couldn’t have believed possible before the event.  Some survived aerial attack from a local bird of prey, whilst others risked life and limb scaling the local heights seeking the elusive foxes.

This event was noticeable for a number of “Firsts”

   First time that Barrie (G8DEJ) and XYL Del participated.

   First outing for Team G4EWJ’s secret D.F. weapon.

   First time a team using no D.F. equipment has found a Fox.

   First time four teams arrived at a fox within a minute of each other.

   First time a Fox suffered a bird strike while stationary !


Robin G3RJQ Barrie G8DEJ Paul GW6ONZ Martin GW4CQZ John G6ISA Ian G8PWE Charlotte Roger G4YLQ Andy G7TSX Phil G0JSB Phil G6IIM Jim G6NOI Chris M1EEV Brian G4EWJ Denis G3UVR Frank G8REQ ©wadarc 2005
Pause your mouse curser on the face of each person to find their name/callsign.

L-R: Robin G3RJQ. Barrie G8DEJ, Paul GW6ONZ, Martin GW4CQZ, John G6ISA, Charlotte & Ian G8PWE, Roger G4YLQ
Andy G7TSX, Phil G0JSB, Phil G6IIM, Jim G6NOI, Chris M1EEV, Brian G4EWJ, Denis G3UVR and Frank G8REQ

The morning event started with the customary group photo at the Forge Restaurant Car Park where 9 teams assembled and prepared for the initial dash into Ruthin and the search area beyond.  Team G4EWJ’s much-heralded “Secret D.F. Weapon” remained “under wraps” – the towel covering it fooling the other teams into believing it was Chris M1EEV’s lunch, and not a revolutionary, groundbreaking advance in D.F. technology. (By the end of the day it was opined by some that it would have been more useful if it were a lunch box!).  Fortunately for Team G6IIM, (G6IIM & G4OAR), the arrival and concealment of this apparatus diverted attention away from their own secret weapon – an empty car boot where their D.F. kit should have been! ("I thought you put it in – No, I thought you put it in" !).

  Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

The Fox Station, G4BKF was situated 12 miles away and after the initial call, all 9 teams headed for the search area.  In only 40 minutes, Team  G3UVR arrived, having found the fox without any need to ask for a transmission.  Next was Barrie, G8DEJ - first time at a WADARC D.F. Challenge, and he comes second !  Half an hour later, 3rd position was secured by the arrival of Team G4EWJ still with no sign of the “Secret Weapon”, closely followed by Team G6IIM, of “I thought you put it in – No, I thought you put it in!” fame.  It was only then that the truth came out.  The empty boot was a ruse to fool the competition and lull Team G4EWJ into a false sense of security.  Team G6IIM did have a rig – a one-watt handheld which, by using their bodies as reflectors, turned into a super-sensitive highly accurate piece of fox-detecting mega-technology. One by one, three of the remaining five teams made it to the fox by the end of the morning event. The prize for, “so near yet so far” has to go to team G0TRC who unknowingly approached to within 100 yards of the fox before concerns of taking a People Mover up a rutted track caused them to turn round.

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

Click for Big Pic ©wadarc 2005

At the traditional lunch venue of The Sportsman’s Arms, congratulations and commiserations were exchanged between team members.  In particular, it was agreed by all that Team G6IIM’s achievement using just a handheld was outstanding.

Half an hour before the start of the afternoon event, both foxes set off to their respective hiding places.  Fox1 (G4BKF), went North East and Fox2 (G4OAR/G6IIM), South East.  First to find a fox was Team G8PWE who arrived at Fox2 in 58 minutes, just 1 minute faster than GW4CQZ who was the first to reach Fox1.  Anticipation of these two teams passing each other travelling in opposite directions during a high-speed cross country dash to reach their second fox first was ruled out when Team GW4CQZ elected to retire home for a cup of tea  (Martin living only a few miles from Fox1’s location).  Nevertheless, the excitement grew when it became known that Team G0JSB had reached Fox2 a few minutes after G8PWE, and was in hot pursuit in the direction of Fox1.  All was quiet at both lairs for a while until Fox1 (Situated in his trusty Ford Escort, which he had driven over a grassy field to the top of a hill), was alerted to the sound of voices and engines below.  Peering down, he was met with a remarkable sight  - members of no less than four teams, all of whose vehicles were backed up on the track leading to the field, racing up the hill waving HB9CVs and secret weapons towards him in a scene reminiscent of the Battle of Hastings.  First to shake his hand was Andy, G7TSX followed in quick succession by Phil G0JSB, who thereby won the event (shortest time to discover both foxes).  Seconds later G8REQ (Team G3UVR) arrived, and finally, doing a creditable impression of Puffing Billy, M1EEV (Team G4EWJ).  A few minutes later, appearing from the opposite direction Ian, G8PWE, engaged four-wheel drive and took the easy way up the hill, only to discover he had been pipped at the post by Phil.  Whilst those in search of their second fox departed, Phil and Ian remained a while with Tom (Fox1) to admire the view and share a cuppa.

Meanwhile, back at Fox2, Phil and Neil were beginning to suspect systems failure due to the lack of any requests for transmission.  The only excitement since the departure of G8PWE and G0JSB was one of a local bird of prey population taking exception to their presence and showing its displeasure by diving down the track at the parked car and swiping the mag-mount clean off the roof !  In due time, however, the stations from the Battle of Fox1 Hill started getting close.  One in particular, G7TSX, having driven past Fox2 (Located on a lonely Forestry Commission Track in a muddy Red Vauxhall Omega with a 5/8ths mag-mount newly restored to the roof), and stopping 20 yards beyond, is credited as the winner of the “QSO of the Day” competition:

Andy (G7TSX):   “GW4OAR, this is GW7TSX. We’re getting close, we can see you on the analyser in the car here, Can we have a transmission please Neil”

Neil (G4OAR):   “We can do better than that .. take a look in your rear view mirror. It’ll be quicker” !!

The afternoon ended with five teams finding both foxes and one team finding one. All participants agreed the day had been another D.F. Challenge Success.  The Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club thank all those who gave up their Sunday to take part, and look forward to another opportunity to challenge the winners later in the year.

FINALLY a date for your DIARY - for the next WADARC D.F. Challenge

Sunday 11th September 2005

Final Results for the Day

If you know of anyone else who would like to join in our DF activities, please contact Tom at g4bkf@wadarc.com 

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