This page is an event report for one of the Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools ARDF events directed by Kelly and Patrick Sears. For comments or corrections, please contact Kelly [ksears (at) chccs (dot) k12 (dot) nc (dot) us] or Patrick [ patrick (dot) r (dot) sears [at] gmail (dot) com ].
It was a hot day but we were back in our usual base area under shade of trees. Also, we were ready on time so the tarp was up providing even better shade. We had five middle school students and a total of ten participants counting family members. We also had two helpers from BOK.
The courses were setup as usual for our 80m classic events. We had no start shoot. The start punch was right on the main trail. The timer beep box was back, which gave the start a championship event flavor even without the start shoot. There were five foxes and the different courses were designed by assigning a subset of foxes to find. We were back to our usual 1:10000 scale maps. The close-in controls were 4 2 1, best taken in that order. The longest distance across the course area was 1.7 km. The red course was 3.7 km. We usually use the orange course for beginners going out as a group. That course was 2.4 km. But remember, those are straight line distances in the optimal order. Radial exclusion zones for foxes, the start, and the homing beacon were also back to our usual 300 m. There was no unusual control placement. For those on the red course, the most important consideration was when to get fox 5. It was way up north. Another challenge was presented by the placement of foxes 2 1 3 in that order north to south. They were fairly close to each other and on either side of a main trail. At first glance and with the benefit of knowing their exact locations, it would seem easy. But during the event, running with imperfect knowledge, it was invitation to make a mistake by passing fox 1. The most challenging fox was number 3. It had "dark green" along it's north side where the trails were and no trail along its south side. For the finish, we had a two sided finish shoot for the first time. That was really fun.
We had one new group, Lucy (SMS-6) and Amanda. They already were comfortable with map reading. So they only needed a short description of how orienteering maps differ from other topographic maps. Then they learned all about the scheduling of ARDF classic transmitters and how to get bearings with directional receivers. Following that, they set out on the course with Patrick. We started along the main trail heading north. After stopping at an intersection to get rough bearings on all the foxes we were assigned, we had a plan. We headed north again in search of fox 4. Soon we were on single track, then off trail completely. We saw some beautiful green and yellow spiders. The sense antennas were put to good use clearing a path through the webs. More bush travel... And suddenly, there it was, the fox 4 flag! After that, Patrick stayed mostly behind Lucy and Amanda. As we walked, the talk was more generally about strategy; when to get to the trails and when to plunge into the brush. They easily found fox 2 and then fox 1.
Experienced participants had all been to ARDF events two or more times. Morgan (SMS-8), Owen (SMS-6), Scott, and Sarah went out as a loose group and had an excellent run. Andrew (SMS-8) and Steve could only stay for a short time but still got on course and found fox 1. John (SMS-8) and Mike had an super run finding four of the foxes including the far-north fox 5.
BOK. We again had some help from the Backwoods Orienteering Klub (BOK). Joseph Huberman and Ruth Bromer came by to support our event. At the last event, we had run out of receivers. So with forethought, they brought some of the BOK receivers. Thanks guys : )
The course timing system worked flawlessly this time. Yippieee! The trick was to get each field control box to read what it had written and to only beep if the read-back was correct. After so much work, that was gratifying. Also, because we were not overwhelmed this time, it was easier to make sure that everyone understood exactly the punch sequence: start, foxes, homing beacon, finish. Everyone punched the correct sequence. We didn't have the download box at the event. It will be back at future events. Last time, the system was too complicated and too difficult to deal with in the field. The lesson: It has to just work and it has to just work by itself. No fiddling. We need to figure out how to get the software to run by itself, how to get the Raspberry Pi to load it up at boot time when it's running headless, and we need to get the Pi to work as a wireless access point. Actually, we're almost there. So look forward to "ARDFNET" in the fall : )
The find order, splits, and time between controls can be found here. This is the download for the electronic course timing system software (CTS Evpro).
Now that we have a working course timing system, the results table has one entry per punch card. Participants holding a punch card are listed first by number of foxes found, then by their time on course. But remember, this shouldn't be taken too seriously. Sometimes we have participants that go alone, some in large groups, maybe with small children, some are competitive, some just like the walk in nature with the extra challenge of finding the foxes. It's all good : )
|#||participants (school, grade)||finds||time|
|Classic 80 m course.|
|-||Owen (SMS-6)||S 1 2 3 4 5 H F||99'52"|
|-||Morgan (SMS-8)||S 1 2 3 4 5 H F||99'55"|
|-||John (SMS-6) & Mike (f)||S 1 2 4 5 H F||118'01"|
|-||Lucy (SMS-6) & Amanda (f)||S 1 2 4 H F||97'19"|
|-||Andrew (SMS-8) & Steve (f)||S 1 H F||53'36"|
The # column gives the results placement for that course. The finds column notes the controls found. The time column is the time on course. Students are listed with their school and grade. We use the following schools abbreviations: PMS Phillips MS, SMS Smith MS, McDMS McDougle MS, CMS Culbreth MS, CHHS Chapel Hill HS, ECHHS East Chapel Hill HS, CaHS Carrboro HS, f family or guest friend, es elementary school, s chccs student (no school info). t teachers and staff members.
Thanks to all the middle school and high school teachers and staff who helped get the word out to the students: Rachel Hopler (Science Teacher, Culbreth Middle School), Christine Lippy (Science Teacher, McDougle Middle School), Al McArthur (Technology Facilitator, Phillips Middle School), Haley Wamble (Science Teacher, East Chapel Hill High School), SaCola Lehr (Media Specialist, Chapel Hill High School), Libby Diesel (Library Assistant, Chapel Hill High School), Femi Jayeola (Librarian, Carrboro High School), Margaret Devetski (Library Assistant, Carrboro High School). Thanks to Greg Kopsch (Park Manager at Carolina North Forest) for the use of CNF.
Clicking pictures will bring up original full-sized versions. All participants are listed as seen in the picture from left to right. Pictures are generally listed in chronological order trying to keep groups together. If you took any pictures during the event, we would love to post them. If you would like that, email us your pictures.
Patrick, Lucy, Amanda. Going over orienteering maps and transmitter scheduling. This was just before we tuned in to the homing beacon to see how the receivers worked.
Joseph, Kelly. We took this picture just after the base setup was completed. Kelly was waiting for people to arrive. Joseph brought some BOK receivers in case we ran out.
We took this picture the weekend before. We were setting antennas for the event. This thistle was close to the homing beacon. So beautiful. What you can't tell from the picture is that it was hip high!
The cts-evpro results are listed here mostly as they were recorded during the event. They are not listed in any particular order. As far as I can tell, there were no miss-writes. ToC is the time on course.
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