31 August 2020

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05 July 2020

Socially Distant ARDF - Results and Discussion

Here are the 80m Tx locations...

I was conservative with distances between Tx - each had had at least one path between the it and the start in "hops" of less than 200m.  With my Czech receiver I could hear them all clearly from #2 and get sharp "nulls" on all but #4.  Tuning #4 from #2 would have been tricky though.

  • How did other folks find this?  
  • Given that 2 to 3 is 400m - should I up the inter-Tx distance to 300m next time?
  • If only 20s every two minutes to hunt down a Tx - where the yellow tapes in general TOO visible or NOT VISIBLE ENOUGH? 
  • Andrew was led a merry dance by #1 - did anyone else find this Tx tricky?
  • There is a lot of inteference from broadband (and ethernet near the care homes - cables are run outside) - did anyone suffer because of this.

Here are the 2m Tx locations - showing bearings I got from my house.  Not too bad - except for #5  (shown in cyan)...

It is still early days for urban 2m planning and Tx postioning.  You can be 10m from a Tx by line-of-sight but 500m by practical route.  In retrospect perhaps I should have declared the railways as an eastern boundary for the competition area.  Optimum route S352164B or reverse - but relies on getting a good bearing to 3 in the first cycle and you would not have known how far to travel, while 6 could have been findable first transmision if you had been motoring.  Same - would anyone be brave enough to go for #4 first on the strenght of one bearing?

  • Did the buildings cause much multipath or distortion?
  • A couple of folks found #4 to be tricky - there are many metal fences close by and the railway has over-head electrification.  Why was finding this Tx so tricky?
  • Bob found #2 to be very loud (it is on a hill top and above the height of nearby buildings) and was tempted to cross the A38 rather than going for the quieter #5.   Also multipath near #1.

On 2m I did TXs 3, 4, 5 and 6 well and TX2 especially badly and 1 poorly

I was caught by the 'near-far' trick with TX2. It was so loud at the crossing of the A38 that I was convinced it had to be close. In contrast, at the same point TX5 was pretty weak.I should have stayed on the far side of the A38 to get both 3 and 5 instead of coming back over to find 2. It took me an inordinate number of transmissions to edge my way closer and closer to TX2.

I was tad unlucky at TX 1. Had it fired up as I was passing a block away then I would certainly have saved one and probably two transmissions. I also had some multi path error after passing TX1, which did not help. Finding 3,4,5 and 6 was relatively straightforward although there were some interesting wild fluctuations of signal strength in the approach to TX6.

  • Andrew assessed #6 as being much further away than in reality.
  • Where any of the other Tx gving problems?
  • Robert found the beacon to be giving unreliable and variable bearings.  It was on the local high point but did have tall buildings close by to to the West and North.
  • Were the tapes too visible or not visible enough?  It was not practical to get appropriate 360 degree visibility without making the Tx too visible from one or more directions.  I tried to make it so that if you ran past the Tx you would easily see the tapes,  I placed the tapes up to 5 metres from the Tx - to avoid giving the actual location away to curious passers by.


John Marriott       39:23   6/6 S-6-2-5-1-4-3-6
Tim Raven*          39:--   6/6 S-2-5-1-4-3-6
Robert Vickers      39:44   6/6  
Andrew Soltysik     44:15   6/6
Mike Dunbar         55:51   6/6 S-4-2-5-1-3-6
Angelo              86:11   6/6
Bob Titterington**  no time 6/6

*Times recorded in minutes only.
** Watch lost


Andrew Soltysik      86:45  7/7
John Marriott       120:03  7/7 S-1-2-3-5-6-4-B
Bob Titterington    135:--  7/7 S-1-2-3-5-4-6-B (or 4-5-6)
Robert Vickers      151:47  7/7 S-1-2-3-5-6-4-B
Tim Raven           130:--  4/7 S-5-2-1-B
Mike Dunbar***       67:51  3/7 S-5-6-B 

***Child 2 hairdresser appointment. Kirstie has an impressive head of hair in normal times.  One can only imagine the impressive mane after 12 weeks lockdown.

Here are John's routes...

21 June 2020

(Socially Distant) ARDF in B30

This is version 3.0. Thursday 2nd July

Date: Saturday 4th July 2020

Location: Bournville, Birmingham B30.  


Pick one of these at random...

B30 1XD  52.432716,-1.944211 SP0389081639
B30 1UX  52.432031,-1.941477 SP0407681563
B30 1TS  52.433190,-1.940078 SP0417181692

You will be less than 200m from the start location

Format: This will be a low key informal and socially distanced ARDF competition - parking will be dispersed, there will be no event centre point as such.  To avoid tensions with neighbours there will be no group gathering or intentional social interaction.  Be discreet.

Competitors will self start, self time and will WhatsApp (or email or SMS) time and Transmitter Codes to the organiser upon completion.

Contact the organiser using WhatsApp or SMS. The former is preferred.

Number is 0~7~9~3~4~7~8~9~6~8~9 (WhatsApp, SMS, Voice)

Backup number is 0~7~4~4~7~6~9~8~8~2~6 (SMS or Voice).  On the event day only.
Email: BVARDF@ddwilliams.net

Transmitting Times : From 11:00am to 15:00 (80m), 15:30 (2m). I am aiming to have all the transmitters in positon for 10:30, so you may be able to start before 11:00.  Check in with me over WhatsApp at 10:30.   80m course it to be done first.


6 Tx 80m sprint style ARDF - optimum route ~2km. No minimum distances between Tx, Start, Finish.  

Each transmitter will sound for 20s as part of a two minute cycle.  Cycle starts with Tx1 on even minutes.  

These transmitters only pull 100mW from the battery and have 2m unmatched/untuned antennas.  I have tested and my (rather good) Czech Rx can hear these at 300m with gain set to 6 (out of 7).  I can hear them clearly at 200m with my not so good American made Rx at maximum gain.  Distances between transmitters are up to 300m so you may not hear them all from the starting location.  

Tip: If the Tx is very quiet, too quiet to use the "null" - press the sense button and wave your Rx around to get a rough direction.  

There is considerable radio noise from broadband cables running in ducts under the pavement.  Only a problem if you are within a few metres of where cables t-off from the main run.

Tx batteries should be good for the duration of the event.

Near each transmitter there will be strips of yellow flagging tape (example at the start)  - on which will be written a letter code.  Write down or remember this code.

The competion zone and start location (purple triangle) are shown on this map... 

The start is by the VERY BIG oak tree. 

WC and the small yellow dot  show a secluded spot if you need a pre-race wee.

You can start with any transmitter and take them in any order but you MUST finish with Number 6.

There is no time limit.

6 + B Tx 2m Classic style ARDF - direct line shortest distance ~5km.  No minimum distances between Tx, Start, Finish.  

Tx1-Tx6 will each sound for 50 seconds, in sequence over a 5 minute period and then repeat. 

The beacon will transmit continuously and will be within 400m of the start. It is not shown on the map.

Near each transmitter there will be strips of pink flagging tape (example at the start)  - on which will be written a letter code.  Write down or remember this code.

The competion zone and start location are shown on this map... 

Frequencies: I don't know - you will be permitted to "tune in" before starting but please don't take any "pre-bearings".

Map: This will be Open Orienteering Map based:

Here is the 80m map: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jYUuYjbD7kMJuF0JPSMRckE3Wt7cDXEd/view?usp=sharing

Here is the 2m map: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12sFa3ouvldtjdwPGPYcH_8V_9L8DK12I/view?usp=sharing

These are PDF format, A4 size.  Download and print these maps.

You are welcome to use any alternative map - A-Z, OS, Google, Open Streep Map, Open Cycle Map.

There are a number of orienteering overlays for Open Street Map (google Open orienteering Map and play around with the settings).

Guidance is: 
  • Public areas only.
  • Please stick to roads, paths, tracks, open parkland and wooded areas. 
  • Do not climb fences.  
  • Do not enter what is clearly private residential property and gardens. 
  • Do not enter school grounds.  
  • There are areas of University property which can be freely accessed by vehicular traffic - these will be in-bounds.  
  • The Cadbury recreation grounds may be passed though but please don't run across the pitches or bowling greens. 
  • You can run along the access roads (west and north) to Cadbury World and through the car park. 
  • Respect and defer to other runners, pedestrians, cyclists and VEHICLES.
Entry Fee: no charge

Facilities:  None - except for Females by arrangement or Male Emergency.  There is a nearby, secluded copse for discreet pre-race #1's. This is indicated by WC on the 80m competition zone image.

Loan Receivers:  A limited number can be made available - but these will need to pre-booked with the organiser at least 24 hours in advance so that they can be charged, sanitised and bagged.

Competition Arrangements: 
  • If it is dry then standard road trainers will do.  If it has been, or is currently, raining - trail shoes might be better.  You will pass through woodland areas - it is not necessary to pass through brambles or nettles but you may decide to do this.  I recommend wearing full lower limb covering.
  • No time limits.
  • Pre-listening - only that necessary to tune in to the transmitter frequency.
  • Starting - Self timed - 80m on the start of even minutes, 2m on 5/10/15 etc. minutes.  Take a photo as you start (I will be using the EXIF data for location and time)
  • Transmitter locations will be marked with a "flagging" tape with a code letter
  • Finish - Self timed.  Take a photo of your watch showing elapsed time.  80m finish is at Tx6.  2m at the beacon.
  • Results - take a photo of your control visiting record or type in the codes
  • If you do not own a smartphone or other means of taking a "transmissible electrical daguerreotype" or of sending a "graphical wireless telegram" then we will come to an alternative arrangement.

  • You are responsible for your own safety.
  • I will not be checking people onto and out-of the course.  Please make your own arrangements with family or friends.  There are some very quiet areas where your would not be found if injured or unconscious.
  • Nearest A and E is the QE, B15 2WB ten minutes by car.
  • Bournville is a leafy suburb with roads, streets, parks, cut-throughs, areas of scrub and woodland, lots of deep water, many cyclists, dogs and members of the public.  Expect hazards consistent with the above.
  • You will certainly cross and run along suburban roads and streets - these are currently quiet but traffic can be fast.  There are two major A roads within the competition area.  Take appropriate care when crossing.  Beware that drivers may not correctly anticipate your actions - do not put them in a position where they may decide slowing down for you is the best option - as following drivers may not realise this. 
  • Be especially careful of cyclists - you will encounter them traveling at high speed on footpaths and pavements and they will not notice, nor care, that you can't hear them approach.
  • No unaccompanied under 16s.