Fox O’ on Brown (4.1 km, 200m climb, 10 transmitters)
(Fox O is a form of Radio Orienteering)
Mike Minium 1:01:14
Dick Arnett 1:08:49
Bob Frey 1:23:00
Emily and Brian DeYoung 1:44:50
Brown (4.1km, 200m climb)
Steve Barnhart 44:31
Aaron Rourke 45:00
Jon Rauschenbach 45:26
Bill Swift 48:30
Todd Hensin 1:04:58
Charley Miller 1:19:55
Claire Dell 1:47:40
Jim Carter 2:00:59
White: No competitors!
On Wednesday, three days before this event, I found out my Saturday was free and that I could put on this event. There was no rain in the forecast until Saturday night. Mike posted the event on the website and sent out the weekly e-mail, and then the forecast changed. There was at least 7 hours of steady rain from Friday morning to Saturday morning.
The main purpose of the event was as a practice for several Radio Orienteers preparing for the US Championships in mid-June. The Radio O’ course, known as a Fox O, uses low-powered transmitters placed somewhere in the circle of an otherwise regular course. The competitors navigate normally to the circle, then use their directional receivers to locate the transmitter and an orange punch next to it, which acts as a tiny orange control flag. Although he was handicapped by a poor receiver, first-time Radio Orienteer (long-time orienteer) Mike Minium placed first.
One lesson-learned from the Fox O was to have plans for competitors who don’t usually run advanced-level orienteering courses. We had 10 transmitters. While it’s possible to design courses that use common controls that are hard from one direction and easy from another, if we decide to do Fox O’s more often, we need to build more transmitters.
I thought the Fox O was a really convenient course to set. The transmitters and punches are small and easy to carry. It would be fairly easy to add this to a regular O’meet.
Two comments about RDF Receiver units for Fox O: (Comment 1) Hot receivers, such as the Altai and Ukranian units, offer an advantage over-and-above that seen in regular 5-transmitter ARDF. Certain receivers lack of “sense” was more than compensated by the hot receiver. The competitors with weak receivers had to navigate to the control site, then do a systematic search to even hear the transmitter. Those with hot receivers had no need to do a systematic search---as soon as they were in-the-area they could go directly to the transmitter. (Comment 2) Several competitors reported apparent weather issues with their RDF receivers. There were two different types of complaints: One was that the sense wouldn’t work in the wet. The other was that the receiver wouldn’t work at all in the wet. (Even though the rain had stopped, running through leaves would get you wet, and if the wind blows, the trees shake, and it might as well be raining.
Because the Fox O requires a regular course design, it was easy to put out flags, stands, and punches and to also have a regular Brown Course.
The Brown courrse was intended to have a winning time of 30 minutes, but the muddy trails and poor footing on slopes made it much slower. The top three finishers were within 1 minute of each other. (A relatively late finisher, Todd Hensin, noticed that control number 9 was in the wrong place, which was later confirmed to be true. If anyone earlier noticed it, they didn’t say anything, at least to me. When I pulled the controls, I checked out the place where it was supposed to be, and there were lots of footprints.)
I think the fact that there were no white-course competitors shows how nasty the weather appeared to be that morning. I put out all the transmitters that morning, in the rain, and the rain stopped shortly after the first start. In the afternoon, it was a beautiful day in the park, as long as you didn’t mind being covered in mud from the knees down. Of course, one cool thing about McFarlan is you pass through a stream before the last climb to the finish, and that takes care of a lot of the mud.
Thanks to everyone who attended. Jim Carter of Louisville traveled the farthest to attend, then zipped home for a Kentucky Derby Party.
results of previous regular event (Rentschler Forest, April 3, 2004)
Flying Pig VIII, April 16-18, 2004
results of next event (Mt. Airy, August 1, 2004)
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