[ PART 2 ] Extracted ( with permission ) from the RADCOM magazines issued by RSGB.
Decisions:- START-5 min To START
Now for the choices and decisions that need to be taken at the tactical level.
Decide the route to take through the exclusion zone. Think about the best general direction following your strategic assessment in the previous five minute.
Look for a path route and also consider the benefits of heading for a close by high spot if the 144MHz band is in use. Decide where you would like to be at Start+1, +2, +3, +4 and +5 minutes.
Of course the route decision away from the Start may look bad as soon as the directions of the transmitters become apparent. When and How do you propose to correct this error?
In other words, plan how to correct your losses. The longer you run in a poor choice of direction, the greater will be the time penalty to put right.
In my opinion, it is a lot of guessing game based on experiences gained from previous hunts. Anyway we are not allowed to switch on our sets until either after the flag-off or sometimes after running past a marked location, away from the Starting line.
Actions:- START To START+5 Minutes
0 to +1 minute:
Run down the Start corridor for 45 seconds (sec) of the 60 sec transmission from TX#1. Get a quick bearing in the last 10-15 sec of the transmission. Roughly estimate the direction and distance to the transmitter. If you cannot remember direction and distance for all five transmitters then quickly mark an approximate direction on the map. Donâ€™t use the compass at this stage but rely on estimating the direction relative to the direction of the path which will be shown on the map.
For beginners, most or all hunts that follow the international classic ARDF beacon pattern, the 1st beacon that is heard on leaving the Start line, will be TX#1 … that’s ID = MOE.
It is easier said than done … especially, with adrenaline rushing on seeing your fellow hunters scampering way ahead of you along the Start corridor, most tips are easily thrown into the wind.
+1 to +2 minute:
Use the 1st 15 sec to get a rough bearing and estimate of signal strength of TX#2 before running for 90 seconds.
+2 to +3 minute:
After running for 90 sec, there should be 15 sec of the transmission from TX#3 left. Use this time to assess the direction and strength of TX#3.
+3 to +4 minute:
Use the 1st 15 sec to get a rough bearing of TX#4 before running forÂ 45 sec.
+4 to +5 minute:
In the 1st 15 sec of the transmission from TX#5, get a bearing and an idea of the signal strength. At this point of time a good sense of course sequence should be clear or at least whether the Starting direction is right or wrong and needs correction.
In this way, adequate bearing and signal strength information can be gathered at the same time as fast movement across the exclusion zone is optimised.
More to be published in Part 3