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About Southdowns Orienteers

Orienteering is an exciting, challenging sport that involves competitive navigation, usually in woodland or on open hillside. Each competitor uses a map and compass, choosing their own way, to find the red and white flags at the sites indicated by red circles on their map. Southdowns Orienteers is a friendly club offering local events throughout Sussex.
(Update September 2008) - Southdowns Orienteers offer midweek training sessions with the Southdowns Adventure Running Club. These sessions have a varied format, but generally all have running and navigation elements to them. A great opportunity to socialise, keep fit, and hone navigation techniques.

Posted by Chris Curtis on 19th Nov 07




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Performance Trophies (junior male and female)

Selection Criteria:

In the view of the club captain and junior team manager and is awarded to those junior members of SO that, since the previous AGM, have produced the best competitive performance(s) relative to their peers in major competitions.  A written citation sheet will also be produced.

Posted by David Marsh on 02nd Mar 16




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A web utility for drawing and comparing orienteering routes

The Southdowns RouteGadget is now hosted on the RouteGadget UK site along with most other clubs.
This is the new version of RouteGadget that has been developed by Simon Errington of HappyHerts.
You can read more about it and watch video tutorials about how to use it on the RouteGadget UK website.

Posted by Admin on 14th Jun 14




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Volunteer job descriptions

The club always needs volunteers to help out at events in planning, map sales, meeting and greeting, car parking and control setting and collecting. For an idea of what is required see below.

For more information about when/where we need help and to volunteer, see the Volunteers Website Page.

Map Sales

This is a pleasant job where you get to meet all competitors. You will be sitting inside (usually in a car) and selling the course maps to arrivals. You would be expected to be on site for 9:30 and would usually be finished by 10:45. This job is for two people.

Registration or SI

This is a job for people who are happy with a computer. It involves the registering of competitors as they arrive, which for hired dibbers means entering some information into the database. Once the bulk of the runners have registered, one of the computers will be switched to ‘download’ and you would be required to monitor the two computers and sort out any issues as they happen. The SI software used by the club is very good and user friendly but new users would need to spend an hour or so with an experienced SI user to get to grips with the system. The SI team usually has 3 people during an event, with 2 people “on duty” at any one time. If you are interested in this role please contact Ali Hooper or Les Coles for more information.

Meet and Greet

The Southdowns club likes to have a person on hand to offer assistance and advice if needed to competitors. This could be directing people to the start line, or showing people where to register. Quite often there will be people new to orienteering and the “meeter and greeter” is there to offer help and advice on the basics of orienteering. This job is more suited to experienced club members.  You would be expected to be on site from 09:30 and would usually be finished by 11:00.

Car Parking

Well someone’s got to do it otherwise it would be chaos. This job is obviously, marshalling all the competitor’s cars so that they can all fit in. More often than not, you will be required to collect a car parking fee. You would be expected to be on site from 09:00 and would usually be finished by 10:30. This is usually a job for two people.

Control Setters

These are the people who put the controls out there. Once the planner has set the course, they will go around the course and place markers in the control locations. Sometimes some of the controls can be placed the night before the event, however sometimes this is not possible and so the control setters will required to help the planner early in the morning of the event. You will be given a small section of a map and asked to go and place the controls by the markers. You would be expected to be on site very early but would obviously be finished before 09:30.

Control Collectors

This is a great job where you get to orienteer without the pressure. You will be given a small section of a map and asked to go and collect a set of controls, usually about 5. You maybe required to go out again on your return to collect another set. You would be expected to be on site from 12:30 and would usually be finished by 13:30.

Posted by Gethyn Lewis on 02nd Aug 12




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Volunteer to help at events


The club always needs volunteers to help out at events in planning, map sales, meeting and greeting, car parking and control setting and collecting.
For more information about when/where we need help and to volunteer, see the Volunteers Website Page., and to find out what is involved see the Volunteer job descriptions page.

Planning an event can be a rewarding and interesting experience that will improve your orienteering and help out your club. If you would like to have a go at planning your own event but feel unsure about it, we have a full set of detailed guides and instructions to help you out. We can also match you up with an experienced planner who can guide you through your first event. The Southdowns club has a wealth of planning experience there to help and advise you. Also, all events have a local controller that will make sure everything is ok. So you can’t really go wrong. Why not give it a go?

The club needs more Planners. So if you are an experienced Planner please consider sharing your experience by planning an event with a novice.

If you only want to plan a course but leave the organisation to someone else, this can also be arranged.

The club also always needs volunteers to help out in the other roles:
Map-Sales, Registration (SI), Meeting-and-Greeting, Car-Parking, Control-setting, Control-collection. To find out more about what these jobs entail visit the Volunteer job descriptions page.

This is a great way of getting to know other club members, so if you would like to get involved please contact Will Heap or contact the planner directly.

Posted by Gethyn Lewis on 02nd Aug 12




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The Ricky Wise Trophy

The Ricky Wise Junior Trophy is awarded annually, usually at the AGM, in memory of former club member Ricky Wise. It is presented to a Club Junior to partly recognise both personal achievement throughout the year and also to someone who has contributed significantly to the Club.

The recipient is chosen by a panel comprising the Club Chairman, Junior Team Manager, Training Co-ordinator and Club Captain.



Helen Wise, Ricky’s wife writes: Ricky was introduced to Orienteering by my sister and her husband Hilary and Martin Sellens at the age of 40. From that very first course he was hooked and the sport became a great passion of his.  Ricky realised that the orienteering was great family entertainment and valued its qualities in helping young peoples development.

He travelled the country taking our son Alex and at times other members of the SO and SEOA Junior Squads to events - having spent 36 years in the Royal Navy he had developed a great understanding of how young people ticked and got on well with them.  Life when Ricky was around was never dull or quiet and he would very often have the youngsters wound up and raring to go.

A fanatic about the sport and what it offered to all members of the family, especially teenagers and his enthusiasm was over powering, he would never refuse any person who needed help.  He was always ready to give the full account of his run to any one that was willing to listen, plus was never shy to give his opinion to others

The previous recipients of the Ricky Wise Trophy are:

2013 - Edward Lines
2012 - Euan Marsh & Alex Lines
2011 - Jonathan Crickmore
2010 - Alex Lines
2009 - Lucy Thraves
2008 - Bryony Crickmore

Posted by Paul Frost on 17th Jun 12




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The SOOTY Trophy

The SOOTY (Southdowns Orienteer Of The Year) Trophy is presented annually, at the AGM, with the recipient chosen by the Club Chairman.

It is presented to someone who may not be a high ranking orienteer, but to someone who has given a huge amount of time and effort to the Club over the year, in one, or more often multiple roles.

The previous winners are listed below.

2015 - Mike Hooper
2014 - Karen Ashworth
2013 - Mike Gammon
2012 - Ali Hooper
2011 - Robert Lines
2010 - Jane Lambert
2009 - Ed Cox
2008 - John Faller
2007 - Kieran & Gillian Devine
2006 - Michael Merritt
2005 - Steve Jarvis
2004 - Robin Smith
2003 - Judy Bridge
2002 - Les Hooper
2001 - Neil Crickmore
2000 - Peter & Jaquie Drake
1999 - Dave McTurk

Posted by Paul Frost on 17th Jun 12




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Membership Details

Southdowns Orienteering Club (known as SO) is a friendly and active club covering the whole of Sussex in the South East Orienteering Association (SEOA).  We organise many events during the year with all details and locations displayed on the Events section of the website.  The best way to find out about us is to come along to an event where you will receive a very warm welcome and plenty of help to get you started.

Every member of an orienteering club also becomes a British Orienteering member

This entitles you to:
• Four copies of the British Orienteering magazine, Focus, which includes the junior magazine Ozone.
• The option to sign up for a range of e-newsletters
• Eligibility to compete in the British Championships, JK, national, regional and local events
• Opportunity to qualify to represent your country at international competitions
• The option to compete in a Rankings scheme.
• Access to a ‘Navigational Challenge’ and ‘Racing Challenge’ Incentive Scheme
• Public Liability Insurance when participating in events and activities registered with British Orienteering
• Papers and vote at the British Orienteering AGM
• Discounts from national companies through the member discounts scheme
• Access to a members only section of the website

Membership Levels and Fees

There are two levels of British Orienteering membership:
• Senior – any member aged 21 or older on 31 December of the membership year
• Junior – any member aged 20 or younger on 31 December of the membership

The British Orienteering Membership fees for 2017 are:

• Senior member – £10.00
• Junior member – £3.30
Families can continue to join/renew British Orienteering as a ‘Family’ but the membership fee will be made up of the sum parts. E.g. A Family containing two senior and one junior members will be charged a British Orienteering Membership Fee of £23.30 (2 Senior members at £10 + 1 Junior member at £3.30). If the Club or Association offers a Family fee, the family will be charged the Club/Ass family fee on joining/renewing. Otherwise the Club and Association membership fee will be calculated in the same way as the British Orienteering Fee e.g. the sum parts

Joining Fees for 2017

When you join, if you are a family you will need to pay the individual BO and SEOA fees for each family member together with £15.50 for the SO family membership. Thus, for 2017, the subscription fees will be:
              Family [2 Sen + 2 Jun] (£)       Senior (£)        Junior (£)
BO           26.60 [(2 x 10) + (2 x 3.30)]       10.00           3.30
SEOA         8.00 [(2 x 3) + (2 x 1)]               3.00           1.00
SO                       15.50                             10.00           4.50
TOTAL                   50.10                             23.00           8.80

2nd Club members

£4.00, £9.00, £14.00.
(For orienteers already members of another club.)


For new and existing members please join online here.
2nd club members please contact me through the contacts page here.



Posted by Bridget Hooper on 27th Sep 11




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SO Clothing (Club Kit)

Southdowns Orienteers club colours are blue and yellow. Our club kit officer is Chris Jepson. Chris can provide a range of items for running (e.g long and short sleeved tops) and general clothing (fleeces, tee shirts, hats etc.). Chris can be contacted through the Contacts Page..

Southdowns “O” Kit

Club Kit on sale at a recent event. Chris doesn’t often take the whole range to events. Please contact her if you’d like her to take specific items to an event.

NB. All the items of clothing are available in various sizes (unless otherwise stated) please ask the Kit officer for advice on sizing.

Orienteering Clothing

– Royal Blue and Yellow
Fastrax Tops
Yellow Southdowns “Running Man” logo on front (Chest Left Hand Side). Yellow horizontal “SOUTHDOWNS” name on back.
Winter Long Sleeve £20.00
Summer Short Sleeve (NEW!) £22.00

Trimtex Trousers £20.00

General Clothing

– Navy Blue (some Royal Blue) with Yellow embroidered SO club logo

Mens (heavier weight fabric) £17.60
Ladies (lighter weight fabric) £14.00

Child (5-13) £8.00
Large Child (14-15) £9.50
Adult £12.00


Childrens (or small adult!) Tee Shirt £4.00
Hats (one size) £3.90
Fleece Bands (one size) £3.20

Polo Shirts £6.50

Prices correct Dec 2009, but subject to change - Please confirm when ordering.

Click on the photo thumbnails for larger images.
More photos of kit items coming soon - please visit this page again.

Posted by Peter Chapman on 12th Dec 09




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Experiments with a GPS Logger (iBlue 747A+)

A iBlue 747A+ GPS logger was obtained to assess it’s suitability as a post-race analysis tool for orienteering. The article discusses aspects of the logger selection and practicalities of use during and after orienteering.

Background and Introduction

Reviewing your route round a course after an event is useful to evaluate how successfully your route choices worked with the hope that some useful lessons can be learnt for future events. It also provides a good social opportunity immediately after a run at an orienteering event. Sometimes (usually when things haven’t gone particularly well!) it’s not possible to work out where you’ve been. This is where a GPS logger can be particularly useful.

GPS: Global Positioning System. A constellation of satellites (which transmit navigation information) orbit the earth and these can be used to determine your position with a suitable GPS receiver (using a system comparable to triangulation). Signals from a minimum of three satellites are needed to calculate a fix accurate to typically less than 10m. The more satellites available: the better the average accuracy. Early tests with the logger discussed below (in Crawley) showed that signals from 7 satellites were easy to obtain, even inside a house. A GPS Logger is an extension to a basic receiver where it records a series of fixes over a period of time. These logged fixes constitute tracks which can be later extracted for analysis.

The rules of orienteering forbid the use of any aids other than a compass, the map, and control description sheet for navigating round a course. Various peripheral aids have crept into the sport and are (currently) tolerated because they don’t provide significant advantage or, where they might, it is assumed that participants apply the spirit of sportsmanship and fairness to the competition and don’t exploit them. Items such as watches, heart rate monitors and GPS trackers (such as the Garmin Forerunner range) may be classed as peripheral aids.

Logger Selection

The Garmin Forerunner type GPS devices are well made, but fairly expensive (£100 upwards), and provide more functionality than is really needed to create a simple record of where you’ve been. The displayed information by these devices puts them into the grey area of what can be considered a significant aid and what isn’t, indeed, competitors at international level may find that this type of equipment is banned.

There is a cheaper and less controversial type of GPS equipment, and that is the GPS logger. Examples of these are now readily available for around £50 and may cost half that by shopping around or careful bidding on Ebay.

It’s important to note that technology has improved significantly over the last few years and a good price on an older model may not be such a good deal in terms of performance. The underlying performance of all these loggers is determined by the electronic components (“chip-sets”) that they use, and there are not really many different ones to consider. Current performance leading chip sets are the SiRF III (as used by Garmin in the Forerunner 305 and 405) and the MTK II. There are older SiRF and MTK chip-set about and some less proven brands – these are probably best avoided unless performance can be confirmed. NB SiRF are currently releasing the next generation of their chip-set (SiRF IV), though this hasn’t appeared in any products yet (none that I’ve found in October 2009!)

I decided to take a punt on a sub £30 logger from Ebay – the iBlue 747A+. This uses the MTK II chipset and comes with a Lithium-ion battery, two charging leads and software to interface it to a computer. It is marketed as a photographic aid and features a button that can be pressed when you take a digital photo so that location co-ordinates can be subsequently added to the file that the camera records for each picture.

The iBlue 747A+ with more typical orienteering equipment (Click on the picture for a larger image)

Initial impressions of the iBlue 747A+ Manufacturers website:

The supplied software appears very functional and fairly intuitive. You need to use the software to configure the logging parameters (update rate etc.) with logger connected to computer prior to use (not possible to do this without the computer). It is easy to download tracks from logger and the magically get displayed on Google earth as discrete tracks! Track editing possible to remove obvious anomalous points.

The logger appears to be more accurate when there is some consistent speed (e.g. tracks recorded during cycling round the town have been cleaner than those recorded during walking. There is some anecdotal evidence (from web) is that early MTK II chip-sets were not quite as good as Sirf III at low speeds (and vice versa) – but this may have since improved and may still be perfectly acceptable for O. Typical track errors of 5-10m would only show as 0.5-1.0 mm on a 1:10000 map – this should be within reasonable bounds.
I easily logged five tracks during one day (approx 1.2-2hrs) and this only consumed 2% of logging memory. It should be easily possible to log any normal multi day O event without having to download data part way through. Start up time to acquire first fix is typically around 15s, and then you’re ready to race! Battery life between charges is said to be 32 hours and it is possible to turn the logger on and off as required – making that 32 hours spread of several days or weeks if necessary.

I have only tried logging normal day-to-day activities so far (it hasn’t been used during an orienteering event – hoping to do that at the beginning of November).

Next things to do:
1) The case is not waterproof and I still need to decide how I’m going to protect it from the wet (simple plastic bag?).
2) Determine how it will be carried for orienteering.
3) Need to confirm performance under tree cover and during rain.
4) Need to try overlaying logger data onto O map. (e.g. in Routegadget). It should be possible to export the logged data as a GPX file for this purpose (direct from the supplied software).

I’ll update this article when I have more to report (after some testing at O events).

Peter Chapman

Preliminary Iss. Background, Introduction and Initial Impressions 28 October 2009

Posted by Peter Chapman on 28th Oct 09




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Event Procedure

What to do when you go to an orienteering event.

Event Procedure

What to do when you go to an orienteering event.

Orienteering Event Procedure

What You Need:

Essentials: Yourself(!); Clothes for walking/running round a wood (N.B. full leg cover); Your entry fee and S.I. dibber hire fee.

Preferables: A whistle for summoning help (only in an emergency); Safety pins to attach the control descriptions; Compass.

You May Need (for a very low key event): A pen (preferably red); A clear plastic bag to protect the map. NB most SO events now provide maps with courses already printed on and are printed on waterproof "paper" - check pre-event details.

What You Need to Do: Ask if you need additional help.

1. Choose a suitable course. Yellow is intended for absolute beginners or juniors. A confident beginner would probably be able to manage the orange course, which is mainly intended for junior improvers or inexperienced orienteers who want a not too technical run. Sogaloppens have yellow, orange, green and blue courses, other Colour coded events have a larger range of courses from short and technically easy to long and technically difficult.

2a. Pay at the at the registration car. In exchange for your entry fee you may receive a special orienteering map (if this has been pre-marked with a course you will receive this map at the Start) together with a S.I. dibber and hire form for a dibber if required*, and if you require postal results an envelope (please return this addressed to yourself).

* If you are not members of an orienteering club write IND (short for "independant") next to "CLUB". The class is your gender (M for men and boys or W for women and girls) followed by your orienteering age as shown in this table (for 2015):

2b. Then go to the S.I. dibber 'computer registration' with your completed hire form to register your dibber through a control box for use at this event, here you will receive a control description sheet for the course you are doing.

*Born in Orienteering Age Born in Orienteering Age
1936 - 1940

1941 - 1945

1946 - 1950

1951 - 1955

1956 - 1960

1961 - 1965

1966 - 1970

1971 - 1975

1976 - 1980










1981 - 1994

1995 - 1996

1997 - 1998

1999 - 2000

2001 - 2002

2003 - 2004


after 2006








Your Real Age

If the maps are pre-marked paragraphs 3,4 and 6a are not applicable.

3. You may need to copy map corrections from a map probably near registration or the start, if there are changes to the area since the map was produced. You only need to copy the corrections relevant to your course.

4. When you are ready take your map, compass, red pen and dibber to the Start. Colour coded event start times are sometimes allocated at registration.

5. On the way to the Start there will be a control box on a metal post labeled 'Clear' You must place your dibber in this until there is a beep and a flash, so that it is ready for use (takes about 5 secs). There will also be a 'Check' control at some point before you Start. (This is to ensure that your dibber has been cleared).

6a. You will then need to copy your course from the appropriate Master Map. Carefully copy down the correct course onto your own map. The triangle is the start and the double circle the finish.

6b.For SOGaloppens the start and finish are usually fairly close together. For other events they may be some distance a part. Controls must be visited in the sequence on the control description sheet for most events. Then go to the Start official who will tell you when you can go.

7. You then put your dibber in the Start control and proceed around the course, navigating the course in control order. At each control (marked by a red and white flag) place your dibber in the control if the control does not bleep and flash use the pin punch on the stand and punch the map.

8. When you finish put your dibber in the finish control. Then proceed to download which will be near the 'computer registration'. Report to the download even if you don't complete the course. If you do not have time to complete the course return preferably via the finish to download. The course closing time is usually on the control descriptions. For SOGaloppens it is by default 12.30pm. unless stated otherwise.

9. Most Important: Have a good time and enjoy your orienteering.

10. After the Event. Have a look at the Results on the web Results Page (usually available by the same evening) and look forward to some more orienteering adventures: Look at Southdowns Orienteers Fixtures.

return to membership home page

Posted by Jaquie Drake on 19th Jan 09




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Claiming Colour Coded Badges

Calling SO Juniors…  Do you want to collect your colours?

Colour coded awards help you to see how you are progressing as an orienteer, all the way from white standard to the rarely seen black.

If you reach the qualifying standard on 3 courses you can claim a badge and start thinking about how you could move on to the next level.

Claire Gallagher will be keeping track of the achievements of our Juniors at most local events.  If you travel further afield, let her know so that she can keep the records up to date and make sure that you get the badges that you deserve.  Claire can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 01825 791060 (before 9pm).

(Note this is also available for all adults, but they will need to keep track of their own achievements).

Colour Coded Awards

A competitor qualifies for a Colour Coded Award by achieving the Colour Coded Standard for that colour course on three separate occasions. Pairs can qualify for Colour Coded Awards on the White, Yellow and Orange courses.

A White Colour Coded Standard is achieved by anyone who successfully completes the White course.

The Colour Coded Standard for courses other than White is calculated using whichever of the following two methods gives the larger number of qualifiers:

• The time that is achieved by at least 50% of those who started the course, which includes those who retire or are disqualified. Each pair or group on Yellow and Orange courses (if any) should be treated as a single starter.

• 150% of the winner’s time.

The Controller may extend the qualifying time if there are reasonable circumstances to do so, but may not reduce it.

Posted by Paul Frost on 16th Nov 08




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A New Headlamp for a New Season - The “QuadCube”


The first Light Emitting Diode (LED) headlamp that I designed and built was a Technology Demonstrator: “TechDem1” – see the original Night-O Headlamps Article for technical details of that lamp. TechDem1 was the test bed for various ideas that I wanted to apply to a hew headlamp. This lamp turned out to be very successful as a prototype and the (generally) robust build of it and performance naturally led to it becoming my main headlamp for the balance of the 2007/8 night-O season (in preference to the tried, tested – but very tired Silva 10/20W halogen headlamp).
This article describes the next step in the LED Headlight development, culminating in the powerful “QuadCube” design.

Improvements to Technology Demonstrator

There were some early problems that needed correcting, most notably the battery lead, which sheared during the British Night Champs in the Forest of Dean. This left me with nothing better than a very low powered back up torch with which to return to base to retire the course. I suppose if it was going to fail, then it might as well be at one of the two prime night-O events of the season! The reason was down to poor choice of connector leads (essentially, I had opted for something that wasn’t really designed for the flexing that a headlamp cable needs because it was cheap!). Lesson learnt and some new wire and connectors chosen and fitted: the headlamp performed flawlessly for the rest of the season – including during the other main night event – the Harvester Relays.

Review of Performance Requirements

TechDem1 has been superb for what it was designed for and outperformed it’s expected usefulness, but there was a compromise in using two LEDs. I met the prime requirement of having a nice safe pool of light to run through, but TechDem1 lacked a really powerful throwing beam with which to see far into the distance – something that the traditional lamps have been better at. 30 odd years of evolution of specialist running lamps had led to a nicely balanced beam pattern with a single/twin bulb and reflector. Power LED technology is not mature enough for a single light source to be used to achieve a perfect beam and light distribution for a relative minority interest like night orienteering. The current technique used by both commercial and home producers of lamps is to shape the beam by using discrete secondary optics. This is partially due to the limit on the output of traditional power LEDs (though that may soon be a historic factor, as single devices are now becoming relatively widely available capable of best part of 1000 lumen of light output (comparable to that of a 40-50W of incandescent halogen bulb).

New (Improved) Headlamp

The approach of the new Night orienteering season prompted me to continue development to produce a headlamp with less compromise on performance. The outcome of this was the powerful “QuadCube” headlamp, with four LEDs and shaped like a cube.

Light Source and Electronics

QuadCube is essentially two light engines in one housing. The first of the light sources (“Dipped Beam”) was based very closely on the original TechDem1 design. One of the differences was that I used slightly more powerful LEDs. These were Cree XR-E Q5 bin devices – not actually the brightest single die LEDs available (those being XR-E R2 bin – up to 15% brighter), but not far off, and I had already bought them early in the project. I again used square Ledil optics, but found that the beam angles available for the Cree LEDs did not quite correspond to the SSC ones and settled on one medium optic (+/- 14 degrees) and one narrow “diffuser” optic (+/- 7 degrees). The slightly wider overall beam was compensated for by the slightly higher light output of the Cree LEDs and some extra fill-in from the main beam. The control circuit was identical to the one used by TechDem1 and provided a full brightness setting, half brightness and a few (less useful) strobing modes. The dipped beam had it’s own switch. The second (high beam) light engine was itself two parallel circuits: each of which consisted of a Cree XR-E Q5 LED (fitted with a narrow “Real Spot” optic (+/-6 degrees) and a single mode control circuit providing 1A to the LED. Both high beam LEDs were activated simultaneously by the same switch.

Mechanical Design

The housing was a bespoke assembly made entirely from stock aluminium materials – much sawing, drilling, filing and thread tapping was involved! The LED optics were protected by a square polycarbonate flat lens cut from some scrap material (actually originally used to protect the old club noticeboard from the elements!). The switches and cable gland all incorporated watertight seals, so it could easily be practical to make the lamp water resistant (not dunk proof!).

The Cable from the headlamp to the batteries (intended to be carried in a bumbag) was made from some heavy gauge, but highly flexible silicone insulated test lead wires. I used the same heavy duty connectors from the revised TechDem1 design. QuadCube can be powered from either one or two 7.4 Vbatteries (of the same design as before) in parallel: this is because the headlamp is capable of drawing over twice as much current, and is needed to maintain a comparable runtime (designed to be in excess of 2 hours).

QuadCube was a robust beefy affair and significantly heavier than TechDem1 (though not as heavy as the overall mass of a halogen headlamp and battery). The head mounted part turned out heavier than was originally hoped for, but not excessively heavy to carry on the head (NB around 60g of the overall mass was in the heavy duty cable and connector linking the head mounted part with the waist carried battery). QuadCube is currently mounted onto a set of straps from a cheap commercial headlamp (similar to TechDem1) – these may prove to be the weakpoint in the overall design and work is continuing on trying to improve this.

There are still several proving tests to be done to confirm performance, but experience gained from TechDem1 gives me confidence to use the lamp in less critical situations and competition in the mean time.

Quick stats:
Mica SL 10/20W
Light Source       Halogen Incandescent Bulb
Battery       4Ah 6V NiCd
Run time             1.25hr on 20W, 2.5hr on 10W
Weight Overall       990g
Lamp only             226g
Battery Only       764g
Est Light Output   400lumen (max)
Power Consumption   20W

Light Source   2xSSC P4 U Bin LED
Battery             2.5Ah 7.4V Li-Ion
Run time             Est. 3hrs + on High; 6hr + on Low
Weight Overall       294g (With Revised connectors)
Lamp only         172g (With Revised connectors)
Battery Only           122g (With Revised connectors)
Est Light Output   290-320 Lumen
Power Consumption   4-5W est

Output of TechDem1 on high approximately equivalent to 15W halogen (i.e. midway between 10 and 20W settings on old lamp). Maximum lamp body temperature (still air in ambient room conditions) 55 deg C.

Light Source       4 x Cree XR-E Q5 Bin LED
Battery           2 x 2.5Ah 7.4V Li-Ion
Run time       Est 2.5hrs+ High; 12hr+ Lo
Weight Overall       576g
Lamp only             334g
Battery Only       242g
Est Light Output       685-730 Lumen
Power Consumption   10W Est

Output of QuadCube on high approximately equivalent to 40W standard halogen. Maximum lamp body temperature (still air in ambient room conditions) TBC.

The Future

Headlamp evolution currently seems to be tracking the developments in Light Emitting Diode technology. There are more new offerings from commercial manufacturers (e.g. Silva, Petzl, Mila) traditionally associated with halogen head lamps. Future evolutionary applications using halogen incandescent bulbs seem unlikely unless power source technology becomes such that a much higher energy density can be obtained in a portable source (but then this could equally be used for the more power efficient light technologies). HID may increase in efficiency slightly (though the technology is inherently more complex), but LEDs seem to currently have the most scope for improvement.

Power output improvements from single die LED devices (like the SSC P4 and Cree XR-E) have slowed down (but are still gradually creeping up). The main applicable advancements in LEDs relevant to headlamps are in packaging of the devices. There have recently been a number of multi-die devices released by various manufacturers. Multiple dies in the same device are not new. The original innovators in high power LEDs, Lumiled, produced a 5W “Luxeon V” device with 4 dies. These proved to be less reliable than hoped for. Osram released a 6 die “Ostar” LED device about a year ago and SSC and Cree have more recently produced 4 die LEDs. The Ostar is relatively difficult to drive from batteries (needs about 20V), expensive, and has a scarcity of secondary optics. The SSC (P7) and Cree (MC-E) devices are more affordable (£15-£20 each), easier to power from existing systems and we are starting to see readily available reflectors and optics. There are already a number of SSC P7 hand torches being sold. The four LEDs of the QuadCube are virtually equivalent to a single SSC P7 or Cree MC-E. Something that needs to be bourne in mind is that the individual dies of these new devices are not any more efficient than the high output single die devices (Cree XR-E Q5, R2 or SSC P4 U-bin) and they will still need to be mounted in such a manner to take waste heat away – thus the enclosure size of a MC-E based headlamp may need to be similar to that of a headlamp using four individual XR-E devices because the enclosure acts as the heat sink to the atmosphere. There is some scope for simplifying the design (and lowering cost) with the multi-die LEDs, and this may be the next step in the search for the ideal headlamp.

Posted by Peter Chapman on 02nd Oct 08




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Southdowns Orienteers have achieved Sport England Clubmark accreditation. Clubmark is the Sport England cross sport quality accreditation for clubs with junior sections. Clubmark accreditation is awarded to clubs that comply with minimum operating standards in four areas:

The playing programme.
Duty of care and child protection.
Sports equity and ethics.
Club management.

For the list of relevant documents please see below:

    Club Constitution
    Child Protection Policy Statement
    Equity Policy Statement
    Code of Conduct for Participants
    Code of Conduct for Officials and Volunteers
    Code of Conduct for Parents/Carers
    Junior Club Rules
    Accident and Incident Policy
    BOF Risk Assessment Form
    Parental Consent Form


Posted by Neil Crickmore on 11th Mar 08




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Online Entries - Are You Safe?

It is your Birthday!
No it isn’t I hear you say.  Well, yes it is.  It’s YOUR birthday and similarly it’s YOUR address.  Don’t enter these items into a form on-line without thinking twice.

Cautionary advice about entering personal information onto websites from Peter Drake. Anyone who enters Orienteering events on-line should read…..

Read below from the Independent of 12/1/08

Identity fraudster steals £10,000 from Barclays boss
By Cahal Milmo

When Marcus Agius was appointed as the £800,000-a-year chairman of Barclays Bank, he was lauded for his ability to pull off financial coups.  It is unlikely that falling foul of a con-man who persuaded Britain’s third biggest bank to issue a credit card in his name and then stole £10,000 is the sort of spectacular deal Mr Agius had in mind.

The bank, which last year announced losses of £1.3bn from the sub-prime mortgage crisis in America, was forced to admit yesterday that the high-profile chairman had been scammed by a fraudster who succeeded in impersonating Mr Agius to a call centre employee to the extent that a Barlaycard was sent out for his use.

The con-man, who used personal information gleaned from the internet such as Mr Agius’s date of birth and his address to dupe staff into believing he was the executive, then took the card to a high street branch of Barclays and withdrew the £10,000.

…..Identity fraud is a growing problem which is estimated to cost the economy £1.7 bn a year.
I’m not particularly up-to-date with the current wording of the Data Protection Act but I was when it first came into force.  Then the main tenant of the act was that it is illegal to hold on a computer, or the pass to a 3rd party, information that has been captured other than for the purpose for which it has been collected.  I suspect that is still true.  If you have registered your dibber or entered events using one of the more popular on-line entry systems you have probably, unnecessarily, provided someone with your bate of birth and address for (illegal) storage in a computer system.

There never was a valid reason for asking for DATE of birth.  Address information was only required if you wished to have a printed set of results sent to you.  Now that we are all members of BOF and can print out your results on our own computers there simply isn’t an excuse for asking either of these questions when we register our dibbers or enter an event.  BOF has all our details quite legitimately, including our YEAR of birth and all we need to provide is our BOF number.  (To enter an event we also need to provide the race we want to run and our dibber number if it’s been changed since we registered it.)  We certainly shouldn’t enter personal information over an unsecured web site.

Now I hear you saying, “What if the event is cancelled?  How do I get my money back if I haven’t supplied an address?”  It’s simple.  When you authorise payment you leave the club’s web pages and are passed to a secure web site that collects the fee on behalf of the host club.  You have to provide an email address so you can be issued with a ‘receipt’.  The club will also have an email sent to them telling them that the payment has gone into their account and it gives them your email address.  When we cancelled the last Regional event at Houghton we simply emailed all the entrants and asked them how they wanted to receive their money back.

If you have provided this information when you registered your dibber or to participate in an event I recommend that you edit your details to give a date in your year of birth that isn’t your birthday and change your address, particularly the post code, so that it is inaccurate.  After all, even if you trust the organisation that holds the data, you don’t want your identity stolen with the laptop from their car.  Marcus Agius got his £10,000 back from Barclays, but he was their Chairman.  They might not be so sympathetic to you if you freely gave away your personal information when it was not necessary.

Peter Drake 12/1/08

Posted by Peter Chapman on 16th Jan 08




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CompassSport Cup - provisional SO win


Provisional results give us a 2395 to 2381 win over HH. A bit closer that I hoped but it looks like we should be off to the final again. Thanks to everyone who ran - results at:

Posted by Neil Crickmore on 13th Jan 08




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Night-O Headlamps


A discussion and study of orienteering headlamps. The article includes: a review of what typical orienteers currently use; the authors personal requirements of a suitable orienteering headlamps; investigations into some of the technologies used in lamp design; and details of the a project to construct a home-made lamp to the authors requirements. This article was originally posted as a forum item and was re-written to suit the style of an article. This article is likely to be added to as the project develops. Last Update 15/2/08

Night Orienteering Headlamps

Discussion Forum


Technology has moved on since the lightweight, high performance halogen bulb orienteering headlamps that many keen night orienteers currently us were designed. This presented an opportunity to investigate the possibilities of developing a new headlamp for orienteering (by way of a potentially useful (and straight-forward) electronics project). This project discusses the requirements (from the personal perspective of the author – a very experienced night Orienteer and (in the early days) headlamp dabbler!). A review of the designs and technology used in current orienteering headlamps gives a performance datum and offers some pointers towards area for possible improvement.

Review of Authors current Orienteering Headlamp:

The current headlamp set has been in use for approximately five years, although parts of it are adapted legacy items from earlier versions of home made lamps. The headlamp set consists of two main parts: the headlamp; and the battery pack. There are also some auxiliary items that are essential to the efficient use and function of the lamp set: battery harness; battery charger.

Existing Headlamp: 10/20W halogen Silva SL.

This is still very serviceable and functionally provides good illumination. The level of wear and tear on the headset is relatively minimal for most of the unit and should give many more years of use before it fails irrevocably. The front cover for the reflector, however, was broken and lost (along with the rubber securing ring) during an event a few years ago and is currently replaced by a very robust and satisfactorily effective (but crude!) homemade version. The homemade Perspex reflector cover is heavier than the original and very marginally effects the comfort. NB I’ve recently discovered (Nov 2007) that the reflector cover and ring are available as spared items from Compass Point for approx £6. This is a fairly modest cost (compared to the price of the lamp itself – approx £80) and the fact that they are listed as spare items at all may imply that they need replacing from time to time.
The two levels of bulb power are achieved by having two separate bulbs, both close to each other at the focus of the multi-faceted parabolic reflector. The bulbs a fitted with the filaments horizontal, and the 10W bulb above the 20W bulb. Only one bulb is lit at a time, and the positioning relative to the focal point means that the 20W “Main Beam” shines out higher than the 10W “Dipped Beam”. The head fitting gives adjustment to tilt the reflector. I position this such that the 20W beam shines straight ahead and the 10W beam (used most often) tilts down to land on the ground approx 8m forward. The design of the reflector and position of the bulbs gives a beam width of approximately 11 degrees, with enough light spill into the peripheral zone to illuminate the map and immediately surrounding terrain. The multi-facet nature of the reflector provides the very usable diffuse beam.
This headlamp replaced a previous homemade type based on the lens unit of an “Ever Ready” hand torch, fitted with a 4W halogen bulb. The beam pattern of this previous home made headlamp was quite narrow and had a greater range than the Silva head lamp, but peripheral illumination was much reduced. The Silva lamp was a functional improvement in many respects.

Existing Battery:

A home constructed assembly of five “D” size Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) cells. The cells were electrically connected in series (using short pieces of thick wire soldered to the cells). The cells themselves were industrial capacity (4.5 Ahr) items with tags on each end to assist soldering. The nominal voltage of each NiCd cell is 1.2V, giving an overall nominal battery voltage of 6.0V.
The discharge characteristic of the NiCd chemistry is almost that of an ideal battery: the voltage stays at a constant level for almost all of its charge, before falling rapidly at the end. The freshly charged cell voltages actually start slightly higher than 1.2V, at approx 1.4 (giving a starting voltage of the battery of 7.0V), but fall over the first 10 minutes of use to the 1.2V plateau. The cells are effectively empty of charge when they drop to 0.9 – 1.0V (4.5 – 5.0V for the battery) and should not be allowed to drop further than this or they may effectively be destroyed (and couldn’t be subsequently charged). One of the cells “died” and went short circuit (a symptom of age and over-discharge) approximately a year ago and was replaced. NB. This is not normally recommended, since cells usually age together as a batch – it is only considered a temporary fix (because I needed the battery, had a spare cell, and didn’t want to pay out for a complete new one at the time). This battery gave (when new) a theoretical lamp burn time of 2hrs 25mins on 10W and 1hr 10min on 20W. The design working life of this battery was approximately 7 years, by which time it’s capacity may drop by 25-40%. This was considered from the outset in order to have a full life usable battery for all normal night orienteering. Cell technology advances all the time and more modern cells are probably better.
Weight: 760g.

Battery Charger:

Another home-made item, essentially based on a factory throw-out! I converted the redundant lab constructed special to type power supply to a constant current supply (adjusted to 350mA) by reconfiguring some of the internal components. It’s a linear power supply design, which means that electrical efficiency isn’t particularly good (it gets quite hot during the initial part of the charging cycle). In practical terms the maximum power consumption from the mains is probably no more than 12W for the 16hrs or so of charging – approximately 0.5KWhr – costing 5p(?) per charge! The inefficiency of the supply is not that significant in the overall scheme. The charger was built so that it should be impossible to damage the cells if I forget to disconnect them (charging current is below the maximum specified for continuous (or “ripple”) charging. One of the benefits of using old tech NiCd cells was that a simple charger (such as this design) could be used without risking the health of the cells.

Battery Harness:

Silva foam design, such that the battery is carried on you back between the shoulders. A 760g battery does not carry well in a bum-bag or clothing pocket! This harness does what it’s meant to and holds the battery firmly with an acceptable level of discomfort (not really much at all).

Authors Requirements for a Good Headlamp

The headlamp set described above certainly does ok for normal night orienteering, but it’s time to review the essential requirements of a night orienteering lamp. We can then go on to investigate and discuss what could now be produced that would fulfill the design remit of:

a) lots of light for a long period of time
b) good useable beam pattern
c) comfortable to carry
d) light weight
e) robust
f) uncomplicated design
g) not too expensive!

Note: What got me thinking about all of this is the observation that even something as apparently simple as the design of a battery powered head torch has benefited from the evolution of technology. My observation came from a re-examination of my (now aging) battery pack, which is based round five Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) cells. I have found that NiCd technology is significantly heavier and more bulky than the more modern equivalent capacity Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh) batteries that seem to be generally available now. I am interested to see how the advance of technology may’ve influenced other parts of the headlamp design.

Modern Trends in Personal Lighting

A bit of digging around on the web (primarily in the areas of caving, mountain biking and adventure racing) has shown that there is quite a lot of activity in the area of lightweight personal lighting at the moment.
Technological trends appear to be taking the leading edge designs well away from halogen bulb based designs, through the relatively complicated and expensive HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulb models, and now into the realms of LED (Light Emitting Diode) based lights. The light producing efficiency of high powered LEDs is now starting to surpass that of fluorescent tubes (and are easily much more efficient than filament bulbs).
LEDs (essentially solid lumps of plastic with electrodes embedded) also have an inherent resilience compared to any bulb made out of glass. On the negative side, there usually has to be some control electronics for the LEDs, and the higher powered versions have to be built in such a way that the LED devices themselves can be cooled (even with LEDs, most of the electrical energy from the battery is converted to heat, though nothing like as much as with light bulbs).

Basis of a project

There’s little argument that a 10/20W halogen bulb based lamp is easily adequate for almost all normal night orienteering, but it’s interesting to explore other possibilities.
It may even be possible to come up with a design for a high performance, cheap-n-cheerful design, made out of easy to obtain items that could make night orienteering with a decent lamp a more accessible for more people. The possible basis of such a design could be one of the cheap sealed unit low voltage halogen lamps that are currently popular as down-lighters in kitchens etc - just work out a good way of mounting it on your head and an affordable 12V battery, and you could be there! There again, things are usually not this simple!
The challenge is therefore set for a project to use modern technology (where appropriate, i.e. safe, functionally effective and cost effective) to satisfy the requirements above.

Please Comment

It would be useful to have feedback and thoughts about the different experiences people have with the various types of lamp.
A Forum item has been initiated to air these views.

I await your responses!

Discussion Forum

The intention is to add to and update this article as the project progresses (might be over several months!).

Headlamp Project Update 16 January 2008

I checked the performance figures of the currently available LEDs and decided to try components from two different manufacturers: Seoul Semiconductor Company (SSC) “P4”, brightness bin U; and Cree XR-E brightness bin Q5. The market changes all the time with these types of devices, but currently Cree offer the highest performing (indeed they have recently brought out an even brighter bin – R2). The SSC P4 and Cree XR-E are slightly different shapes and require different optics to optimise beam performance. I chose optics manufactured by the Finnish company Ledil.
I chose Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) 18650 cells (2400mAh) to make up the battery. A battery of 4 of these will supply 14.8V (nominal).
I chose a selection of driver circuits (they were cheap enough to try a few!) to output 800mA from battery voltages ranging from 4-18V.

All components have now been ordered:
Ledil Optics – web purchase from Holland
LEDs; Driver circuits; Li-Ion batteries and charger; switches; heatsink compound. These were web purchase from two different suppliers in Hong Kong.
The headlamp is becoming quite international! Reasons for sourcing from abroad are that the choice of components is better and prices are cheaper. Note that orders worth over £18 from Hong Kong could be liable to import duty, VAT and a post office admin fee (£8!)- this has to be factored into the overall cost.

So far all the main items have arrived apart from the driver circuit boards.

Practical construction has not been possible until very recently because of other commitments (Jan Southdowner!), but I’ve now started to try some of these items out.

I mounted a LED on a flat aluminium sheet (as a heat sink) and tried powering it off my existing constant current NiCd battery charger. The results were blindingly encouraging! Speaking numbers: the charger passed 330mA through the LED, which had a forward voltage drop of 3.28V. This gives an input power of almost exactly 1W. I fitted one of the Ledil optics over the LED and achieved a nice bright spot on the ceiling! It is difficult to absolutely compare lights, but comparing this to the existing 10/20W halogen lamp, the single LED seemed to have about a third to half as much light output.

This is a very good result, since the initial design plan is to run 3 LEDs at 3W each (at 800mA Vf can be expected to be approx 3.7V). Thus the single LED should be 2-2.5 times brighter, and there will be 3 of them – potentially nearly twice as bright as the halogen lamp for half the power drain – good to see that there seems to be some truth in the originally estimated figures!

The next stage (whilst waiting for the driver circuits to arrive) will be to refine the mechanical design and layout of wires a little so that 3 LEDs can be mounted together and I can experiment with the different optics (with various beam widths). Following on from this, I will start to look at the construction of the battery.

Headlamp Project Update 15 February 2008

Most components now available. First Build: “TechDem 1”.

The real fun has now begun!
Enthused by the results of the early LED circuit experiments in January, I’ve now started to look at the broader requirements of the project: I have tried a few ideas for the battery pack; tried out two of the three different types of driver boards (unfortunately still awaiting delivery of the final (and most favoured) one); started to address some of the practicalities of construction in a build designed to demonstrate the technology in a usable headlamp – “TechDem 1”.

Like most engineering projects, this one has to progress within various limitations:
Money (I’m having fun with the project, but want to keep costs to a minimum, especially whilst still determining the eventual product – spent £60-£70 on components so far and don’t want to spend much more at the moment);

Time (Other commitments mean that I have limited time to spend on this at present – perhaps 10 hours/week. My time doesn’t come into the cost calculation, however, as it’s a hobby project. In spite of limited time available, I’m conscious that the end of the current night-O season is rapidly approaching – I’d like to have something to try out this season!);

Materials (Other than the components that I’ve bought specifically for the project, I’m using materials that I have to hand with no extra cost implications – much of this is scrap/now redundant items that are being given a second use with some simple adaptation);

Facilities (I don’t have a dedicated workshop and am using standard domestic hand tools, electric drill, plus general purpose electronic soldering equipment and a standard digital multi-meter.
Customer Requirements and Expectations (I’m the end customer, and close contact with the progress of the project means that I should have a realistic idea of what to expect and accept!).

Battery Pack.

The Lithium Ion cells that I’ve bought to use on this project are a new technology to me and I’m being cautious about how the battery pack is assembled, charged, and discharged. The energy density of the cells is high and they don’t (as I understand) tolerate much abuse – an inadvertent short circuit, over charge, or over discharge could destroy the cell and potentially release a lot of the stored energy in one go – I don’t want that!. I’ve settled on a two cell design (for use with the driver circuits that I currently have, that cannot be powered by more than two cells in series). My preference is to charge each cell individually in a commercial charger specifically designed for the purpose – it’s therefore not practical to have the two cells permanently electrically connected. My current solution to this is to use a connector arrangement between the lamp and battery, where the cells are only connected in series when the lamp is plugged in – I’m therefore using four pole connectors, with a series connecting loop on the lamp side of the connector pair – a simple, cheap, and elegant solution (should mean that it’s also reliable). Selection of the connectors was a bit problematic, but I eventually settled on adapting a lead used for internal power connections in desktop computers – this gave me connectors with four poles, that could carry the current safely, and had a latching mechanism to prevent unintentional disconnection.

Driver Boards.

The types of driver boards that I have selected were originally designed to fit into mid-price range LED hand torches. I obtained them from a supplier offering them as “LED flashlamp upgrade components”. I settled on drivers that take the supply voltage (from the battery) to provide a current drive to the LEDs at a lower voltage – these are called “Buck converters”. The low cost buck converters that I’ve chosen do not contain the additional circuitry to regulate the output current very closely, and I was expecting some variation of output current with input voltage (e.g. as the battery runs down), in reality, the slight decrease in battery voltage (and corresponding current) over time made little difference to the perceived brightness. The two different drivers currently available are only able to drive two LEDs at their maximum input voltage – this determined a two LED design for the technology demonstration model “TechDem 1”.

TechDem 1.

First attempt at a usable headlamp design using a selection of the new components. A two cell battery and two LED lamp design was made due to the limitations of the available driver boards. The two LED experimental lamp unit was built into a commonly available aluminium diecast box (approx 50mm square by 30mm deep). Some thinking (and filing!) was required in order to fit two LEDs,, Two LED optics (Medium: +/- 15 degree, and Diffused spot: +/- 9 degree), the driver board, switch and wiring into the relatively confined space of this box. Results of Initial tests using the higher output driver board have been mixed. With the battery fully charged to 8.4V, the driver was supplying in excess of 1.1A to the LEDs – this is overdriving the LEDs and would result in shortening their working life. After a while, the current stabilised to approximately 1.0A (the maximum specified limit) and the run time was in excess of 2 hours at this rate – pretty good! The downside of all this power (just over 7W) was that 5W had to be dissipated as heat, and the lamp box got very hot (peaking at over 70 degrees centrigrade before I introduced additional external heat sinking to protect the electronic components!) – you would not want that mounted on your head! NB. I’ve since learnt that a rule of thumb for heat dissipation from these sort of lamps is that you need approx 3sq inches of surface area (in ambient still air) per watt of LED power. The external surface area of TechDem1 is only about 12sq inches.  In terms of illumination, an unscientific measure is that it floodlit (to a level useful for running) the whole of our back garden and seemed to give out an amount of light somewhere between the 10W and 20W settings of the halogen headlamp (albeit with a very different beam pattern and colour – the halogen beam was much more orange and less wide). Next step will be to try the other driver board, and replace the wider angle optic (30 degrees) with a second 15 degree one). The peripheral “spill” slight from even the single narrow optic was sufficient as a fill-in without using a specific wide angle beam. It is great to see that a LED lamp with only two LEDs (my original plan was to use 3, or even 4) and non-optomised beam pattern is already equivalent to at least 15W of halogen power (and using a battery that is much lighter and smaller than the NiCd one used with the halogen lamp – a harness mounted battery may be un-necessary in the final lamp.

Picture of New Headlamp

Update on the next step:

Substitued the medium angle optic with a narrow one (+/-5 degree) and changed the driver circuit to a five mode, lower output one (measured as pushing around 0.5A into the LEDs on the high setting). Initial indications are very good (still heated up, but nothing like as much) – not quite as bright (due to less current), but should still be bright enough for night-O. Run-time measurements need to be made, but the short (1hr) test made so far shows that the lamp should easily shine for 4 hours on its high setting with the two cell Li-ion battery. A conservative calculated estimate of the light power output (assuming 15% loss through the optics) is 200 lumen (theoretically, the same output from a good 10W halogen lamp). A quick “garden test” comparison was made between the TechDem1 and the 10W/20W halogen lamp (albeit with a duff battery!) – A very smooth and even beam, with a less concentrated spot. Very useful side spill. Very white light (no funny colours when reading the O map), Should be an almost ideal beam pattern for night orienteering – only real deficiency is the lack of a distance penetrating spot, but for a 4W (or so) headlamp very promising.
Even better, I managed to design and make a suitably shaped piece of metal to attach the lamp unit on to an old headlamp band, and sorted out a method of keeping the optics in place – I now have a usable lamp. First real trial will be the Wimbledon Common South East Night League event on Saturday 16th February.

Quick stats:
Mica SL 10/20W Halogen + 4Ah 6V NiCd battery
Run time 1.25hr on 20W, 2.5hr on 10W    
Weight Overall 990g
Lamp only 226g
Battery Only 764g

TechDem1 + 2.5Ah 7.4V Li-Ion Battery
Est. 3hrs + on High; 6hr + on Low
Weight Overall 272g
Lamp Only     168g
Battery Only   104g

Output of TechDem1 on high approximately equivalent to 15W halogen (i.e. midway between 10 and 20W settings on old lamp). Power consumption of TechDem1 est 4-5W. Maximum lamp body temperature (still air in ambient room conditions) 55 deg C.

Peter Chapman

Revision 4 - 15/2/08 Added “Headlamp Project Update 15 February 2008”
Revision 3 - 16/1/08 Added “Headlamp Project Update 16 January 2008”
Revision 2 - 30/11/07 (formalised version to replace original article with extra details added).
Revision 1 - 16/11/07 Initial Version of article (NB the original article forms the start of the discussion thread on the forum).

Join the discussion in our forums

Posted by Peter Chapman on 16th Nov 07




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Club History

Southdowns Orienteers was formed in December 1976. For the last ten years SO has won the South East League and for the last seven years SO has reached the final of the Compass Sport Cup Final (National inter-club competition), the highest placing being 2nd in 2003. SO has produced British Champions in a wide range of age groups (and the occasional World Champion!). This list points out a few highlights along the way.


October Alistair Masson joins the GB Talent Squad.
October Southdowns Junior Squad established. Thirty three juniors attended first coaching session at Rivers Wood organised by Robert Lines and Karen Ashworth.
June SO team of Kenny Leitch, Peter Chapman, Neil Crickmore, Simon Thraves, Alistair Masson and Alan Velecky retain the Handicap Trophy on the A course at the Harvester Relays held at Longmoor.
June SO’s Publicity Officer Alison Hooper is interviewed live on Southern Counties Radio.
May SO team of Anna Chapman, Lucy Thraves and Julia Jarvis win the British Women’s Short Relay.
June British Middle Distance Junior Elite Champion: Jonathan Crickmore.  British Middle Distance M75 Champion: Roger Maher.
April JK M20 Elite Overall Champion: Jonathan Crickmore.  JK M20 Sprint Champion: Jonathan Crickmore.  JK W35 Sprint Champion: Karen Poole.  JK Women’s Short Relay: Karen Poole, Julia Jarvis, Clare Howes.
Feb  SO win through at Headley Heath to the CompassSport Cup Final.
Feb  British Night Champions:  M21: Jonathan Crickmore.  W45: Jane Lambert.  W70: Ruth Rhodes.
Feb  Three SO juniors selected to run for England in Holland in March: M17: Alistair Masson, M20:Jonathan Cridckmore, W20: Lucy Thraves.


July SO success at the Harvester Relay event at Bordon Heath.  junior Team Trophy: Nicholas Jarvis, Alex Lines, Edward Lines, Alistair Masson, Jonathan Crickmore.  Handicap Trophy: Alan Velecky, Peter Chapman, Neil Crickmore, Simon Thraves, Aleksejs Dribincevs, Robert Lines, Kenny Leitch.
May British M20E Long Distance Champion in the Lake District: Jonathan Crickmore.
April JK W70 Champion: Ruth Rhodes.
March British Middle Distance Junior Elite Champion: Jonathan Crickmore.
Feb SO win the SE round of the CompassSport Cup to qualify for the final.
Jul Jonathan Crickmore selected to compete for Great Britain at the Junior World Championships in Poland.


June Club Handicap Champions: Senior: Jack Leitch, Junior: Charlie Waghorn.
May Jonathan Crickmore selected to represent GB in the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Portugal.
May Jonathan Crickmore selected to attend British Orienteering’s Talent Fulfilment Camp in July in Slovenia.
May JK Champions near Sheffield: M18E Jonathan Crickmore, M70L: Roger Maher.


Nov 100th Club Night celebrated in Hove.
Aug Lakes 5 Days Champions: W65L: Bridget Hooper, M75L: Roger Maher.
Aug Jonathan Crickmore selected to run for GB at the Junior European Cup in September in Scotland.
July Alan Velecky selected to run in the Veteran Home International in Wales.
June British Sprint Champions: M12: Edward Lines, W40: Julia Jarvis.
June Club Handicap Champions: Senior: Karen Ashworth, Junior: Jamie Waghorn.
May Harvester Relay Champions at Eridge Old Park: Men’s Handicap: Jonathan Crickmore, Peter Chapman, Darrell High, Neil Crickmore, Kenny Leitch, Nicholas Jarvis, Alan Velecky.
Women’s Handicap: Rachel Collins, Elizabeth Bridge, Chris Jepson, Lucy Thraves, Julia Jarvis
April JK Champions in Devon: Women’s Short Open Relay: Rachel Collins, Shona Masson, Lucy Thraves, Combined Age Under 40: Alistair Masson, Matthew Leitch, Nicholas Jarvis.


Dec First Brighton City Race takes place. Assembly was at Churchill Square shopping centre car park.
Dec SO win the SN Trophy for the best club at their Mytchett event.
Oct OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) Winners: Long Score Class: Darrell High (after many 2nd places) & Nigel Bunn (TVOC), Short Score Class: Jonathan Crickmore (just old enough to compete in his first mountain marathon) & Nick Barrable (SAX).
Oct Southdowns Orienteers finish 4th in the Compass Sport Cup Final in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire.
Aug Alan Velecky is selected to run for England at the Veterans Home International in the Peak District in November.
July The following juniors are selected for Summer Tours: Lagganlia: Shona Masson, Badaguish: Lucy Thraves, Halden: Jonathan Crickmore.
START Squad: M15: Jonathan Crickmore, W14: Lucy Thraves.
June Club Handicap Champions: Senior: John Morris, Junior: Jack Leitch.
April JK Sprint medals: W35 Gold: Julia Jarvis, M18E Silver: Jonathan Crickmore.
JK Champions M16: Jonathan Crickmore, Men’s Short Open Relay: Alan Velecky, Darrell High & Jonathan Crickmore.
Jonathan Crickmore awarded the “Best Male Performer” at JK 2009.
Mar Six trophies are won in the British Championships in the New Forest.
British Individual Champions: W75: Mary Fogo, M70: Roger Maher, M40: Alan Velecky, M16: Jonathan Crickmore.
British Relay Champions: Women’s Short Open: Laura Pearson, Julia Jarvis, Elizabeth Bridge.  Men’s Short Open: Kenny Leitch, Alan Velecky, Jonathan Crickmore.
Jan SO achieve Clubmark accreditation.
Jan British Night Champions at Mytchett.  W16: Rachel Collins, W20L: Bryony Crickmore, W65L: Ruth Rhodes, M18L: Jonathan Crickmore.


Dec SO Junior Squad come third in the National Finals of the Yvette Baker Trophy at Sandringham.
Oct Jonathan Crickmore (M15) and Lucy Thraves (W14) are selected for the British Start Squad 2008/09.
Oct Jonathan Crickmore gets a podium place in the long distance and in the relays at the European Youth Championships.
Oct Lucy Thraves receives the Margaret Loveless Trophy in the SE Middle Distance Championships.
Sept SONiC (Southdowns Orienteers Night Cup) competition begins in Hawywards Heath.
Sept SO Junior Squad win the Joan George Trophy at the Peter Palmer Relays in Leeds.
Sept SO Club Night at Blatchington School, Hove is launched.
Aug Rachel Collins is awarded the Peter Burt Trophy for the most improved orienteer in SE England.
July Elizabeth Brown wins her second W90 Gold medal (in the long distance discipline) at the World Masters Orienteering Championship. More detail in this news item..
June Elizabeth Brown wins W90 Gold medal at World Master Sprint Orienteering Championship (held in Portugal).
June Anna Chapman selected to represent England in the W35 class at the Veteran Home Internationals (taking place in N. Ireland in October 2008). Andy Parkinson (M55), Alan Velecky (M40), and Julia Jarvis (W40) also selected as non-travelling reserves.
May Rachel Collins and Lucy Thraves are selected to go on the Summer Tour to Lagganlia and Jonathan Crickmore to the tour in Bagaduish.
April Kenny Leitch, Alan Velecky and Jonathan Crickmore win the British Men’s Schort Course Relay Championship in Culbin, Scotland.
April Jonathan Crickmore takes gold in the 14-15 age group in both the select race and the middle race at the World Schools’ Championship in Scotland.
March: Jonathan Crickmore and Neil Crickmore win gold at the JK Sprints in Guildford.
Feb: OO Trophy winners - Roger Maher (Senior Men), Edward Lines (Junior Men).
Feb: Junior Southern Champions - Edward Lines (M10), Nicholas Jarvis (M12), Jonathan Crickmore (M16).
Feb: Lucy Thraves (W14), Julia Jarvis (W35) and Jonathan Crickmore (M16) are selected to compete in the Interland Competition in Holland.
Jan: SO win the SE round of the CompassSport Cup.


Dec: SO win South East League.
Dec: Neil Crickmore becomes the SE Male Veteran after winning at White Downs.  The Jarvis family win the SE family competition.
Nov: Jonathan Crickmore selected to compete in World Schools’ Championships in Scotland in 2008.
Nov: Edward Lines (JM2) wins the OK Nuts Junior Trophy at the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
Nov: Jonathan Crickmore wins the ISF World Schools’ Selection Race at Gore Heath, Dorset.
Nov: SO Southern Champions.
            Day:  Nicholas Jarvis (M12), Julia Jarvis (W35).
            Night:  Jonathan Crickmore (M16), Bryony Crickmore (W18).
Nov: British Schools Champion at Bovington: Year 10 Jonathan Crickmore.
Oct: Kenny Leitch, with his partner Keith Masson, win the long score event in the Original Mountain Marathon in Southern Scotland.
Oct: SO come 8th in the Compass Sport Cup Final at Blidworth.
Oct: Nicholas Jarvis (year 7) wins gold in the British Schools’ Score Championships in Petworth Park.
June: Inauguration of the Sussex Sprint Championships organised by Rob Lines.
June: Southdowners of the Year - Kieran and Gillian Devine.
May: British Champion at Pwll Du: M14A Jonathan Crickmore.
May: Jonathan Crickmore wins the M14 trophy at the JK in the Forest of Dean.
May: Junior tour selection: Lagganlia junior tour - M14 Jonathan Crickmore.
April: Elizabeth Bridge selected for the GB Moutain Bike Orienteering team.
April: Silva Award for professional mapping - Roger Maher.
Feb: Jonathan Crickmore and Julia Jarvis selected to run for England in Belgium.
Feb: England team selection: Interland - Jonathan Crickmore.
Feb: SO win South East Night League.


British Champions at Woolbeeding:
M14A Jonathan Crickmore, W70L Mary Fogo, Women’s Short Relay - Elizabeth Bridge, Anna Chapman, Julia Jarvis.

British Night Champion at Hawley & Hornley: W16 Bryony Crickmore.

England team selection:
Home Internationals - Jonathan Crickmore, Vince Joyce, Julia Jarvis, Alan Velecky. Interland - Bryony Crickmore and Clare Howes.

Junior tour selections:
Bryony Crickmore and Clare Howes selected for the M/W16 Summer Tour to Halden.

SO come 8th at the Compass Sport Cup final in Blidworth.
SO juniors come 12th in the Peter Palmer relay at Sutton Park.
SO juniors come 11th in the Yvette Baker Trophy at Newbury.
SO win South East League.
SO win South East Night League.

SO hold first Mobile Phone-O at Tilgate Park.
SO organise British Championsips individual day at Midhurst. Organisers (Barrie and Sue Pearson), planners (Neil and Sue Crickmore), mapper (Roger Maher) and many other SO helpers.
Sprint-O introduced to Park-O events.
Southdowner of the Year - Michael Merritt.


Dec: Juniors come 4th in Yvette Baker Trophy final at Sherwood Pines.
Dec: Selected to represent England in Interland 2006: W35 Julia Jarvis, M35 Alan Velecky, M50/55 Vince Joyce.
Dec: Winners Southern Night Championships at Bulford Ridge: JM5L Matt Franklin, M35L Darrell High, M40L Neil Crickmore.
Dec: Hooper/Chapman Family win SE Families competition at Banstead Heath.
Nov: Nick Jarvis wins the OK Nuts Junior trophy at Esher Common.
Nov: Alan Velecky competes for England in the Veteran Home Internationals.
Oct: Ali High competes for Wales in the Senior Home Internationals in Ireland.
Jul: Vince Joyce wins the Silver Medal at the World Masters Championships in Canada.
Jun: SO win the junior Harvester Trophy at Pillar Woods, Lincs.
May: Nick Jarvis (M10), Jonathan Crickmore (M14), Matthew Franklin (M20), Margaret Kent (W65) and Mary Fogo (W70) all become Southern Champions at the Winterfold National Event.
May: The World Cup comes to the South East and SO organise the biggest event in it.
Mar: Darrell High, Vince Joyce and Alan Velecky come 2nd in the M120+relay at JK.
Mar: Jonathan Crickmore(M12) and Mary Fogo(W70) become JK Champions.
Mar: SO become South East Night League champions, and Vince Joyce and Neil Crickmore get 2nd and 3rd place.
Feb: SO win preliminary round of Compass Sport Cup again in blizzard conditions at Banstead Heath. (We finish 7th in the final at Clowbridge, Burnley).
Feb: SO win SE Score Championships at Holmwood Common.


Dec: Jonathan Crickmore wins the OK Nuts junior trophy at Hankley Common.
Nov: Mary Fogo and Katie Howes win the senior ladies and junior ladies OO Trophies at the GO event on Chapel Common.
Oct: SOG events regularly exceed an average of 100 competitors.
Sep: Liz Bridge, Bridget Hooper and Mary Kent become Southern Champion’s in the Caddihoe Chase at Longleat.
May: SO win the Junior, Women’s and Handicap trophies at the South East Relays on Wimbledon Common.
May: SO Juniors and Ladies win trophies at The Harvester all night relay in Pippingford Park.
Apr: Elizabeth Bridge selected for the Junior World Championships in Poland, in July. Lucy Jepson is a reserve.
Mar: SO are through to the CSC Final for the third successive year! (We finish 4th at Pillars Post in Lincolnshire in May).
Mar: SO win SE League for the 7th consecutive time, equalling the South East record!
Feb: Bryony Crickmore selected for Interland at the GO National event.
Feb: SO win the SAXONS Shield! Vince is M50 British Night Champion.


Nov: SO win SN Trophy for the 2nd year running. Lucy Jepson wins OO Trophy at GO Ambersham event.
Oct: Lucy Jepson and Luke Parker selected to run for England at the Junior Home International in Ireland.
Oct: Elizabeth Bridge selected to run for GB at the Junior European Championships in Germany.
Sep: Andy Parkinson selected to run for England at the Veteran Home International in Scotland.
May: Elizabeth Bridge selected as 1st reserve for Junior World Orienteering Championships in Latvia.
Mar: SO win 1st round of CSC for second year running! (We come 2nd in the final at Shouldham Warren in June).
Feb: Elizabeth Bridge selected for the ‘Interland 2003’ in Holland.
Jan: SO win the SE Score Championships at Long Valley!


Dec: 2 page article about the club in CompassSport!
Nov: 25th Anniversary meal in Henfield.
Nov: Lucy Jepson is Year 12 British Schools Champion.
Mar: Club wins SE round of Compass-Sport Cup, eventually finishing 4th at the delayed Final on Titterstone Clee in November.
Jan: Lucy Jepson selected as reserve for British Schools team for World Schools Championships.


Dec: Lucy Jepson is Year 11 British Schools Champion.
Oct: Vince Joyce is M45 British Champion! Stan ‘Envirocare’ Williams dies.
Feb-July: Foot and Mouth disease causes cancellation of ALL orienteering events.
Feb: SI equipment bought in conjunction with other SE clubs.


Jul: Club web-site revamped.
May: Club is awarded £4380 lottery grant!


Dec: SO trial ‘Emit’ electronic punching at Broadstone Warren Colour-coded event.
Apr: The Club provides ‘man’power for the JK at Holmbury & Leith Hill. Dave Peters is co-planner.


Oct: We reach the (semi) finals of the Compass-Sport Cup held in Northumbria!


Oct: Simon Ross selected for the GB Junior Squad.
Aug: Vince Joyce selected to run for England at the VHI.
May: Membership fees rise by up to 300%!


May: Constitutional change allows Treasurer to stand for 6 years. Only the Chairman and Secretary are now limited to 3 years.
May: Dave Thompson elected President.


Mar: The title ‘Southdowns Trophy’ is dropped from the clubs annual badge event.
Jan: SO has a homepage on the Internet.


Dec: Founder member Fred Fraser dies.
July: Membership cards are distributed for the first time.
Mar: Club assists with BOC in Charlton Forest.


Jun: 3-in-1 competition launched (as a follow-up to the infamous 1987 to 1989 M25 O-Ringen?).
May: Spring-in-the-South events in conjunction with SAX. (Subsequently with MV as well).
May: Mapping software OCAD purchased.


May: Organised National event 3 and badge events at Friston. Much criticism received as to suitability of terrain for a National event.


Sep: Permanent course opens at Lancing.
Aug: Founder member Dave Thompson moves away from area (to Milton Keynes and SMOC).


Jun: Constitutional change to release non-Principal Officers from the ‘3 year rule’ .
Jun: Last SD10 due to falling receipts, rising costs, Brighton by-pass, organisation problems. (The last marathon was in 1984).
Apr: Vince Joyce ranked Number 2 in Ireland.


Oct: 10 Oak and Beech trees planted at Stanmer (near the entrance lodges).
Apr: Run training day at JK at Selhurst Park. Roger Freeman is planner for individual day in Charlton Forest. SO provide early morning manpower for JK relays at Longmoor.


Oct: Great Storm wrecks many areas. (Remember those lovely mature pines at Eartham?). 10th Anniversary dinner in Hove.
Sep: 2 day 10th Anniversary event at Houghton & Rewell. (Remember the rain on day 1?!). First appearance of ‘Chanctonbury Ring’ logo (by Linda Kelly).
Mar: Club made aware of industrial and residential building proposals in Tilgate.


Sep: Free ‘Devil’ badge issued with every Southdowner!


Oct: SO largest club in SEOA. 191 members out of a total 1500 in 10 clubs.
Sep: Orienteering is introduced to the ‘Inter-Town Festival of Sports’, an annual competition between Crawley, Horsham, Bognor, Worthing and Brighton & Hove, involving 12 sports.
Jul: Low-key summer events introduced. (Forerunner of Park-O’s).
Jun: Steve Ovett wins SD10 in record time (53.45).
Mar: Margaret Kent is on the front cover of ‘Compass-Sport’!


Sep: SOGaloppens are officially launched. SO league is now dropped. (This was based on members performances in SE events and had been running since the start of the club).


Sep: Full page article about the club appears in ‘The Orienteer’.
Aug: Ansaphone installed.
Jul: The ‘Devil’ wins by 2 votes, over ‘The Long Man’ as the club badge design, (there were 25 other entries!), although it is another three years before the badge appears!
May: Major involvement with BOC at Broadstone. (The Finish was located in a marsh!).


Oct: We lose on a tie-break to SLOW in the first round of the very first Compass-Sport Cup!
Sep: Saturday morning training and novice events introduced. (Forerunner of Sogaloppens).


Feb: Bob Glover elected President. He was the Principal of Portslade Community College.
Feb: SO joins ABBA. (Against Brighton By-pass Association).


Feb: Dave Thompson made Vice-President and member for life! Elizabeth Brown wins W65 at the British Championships, her first of many National titles.


Jun: SD10 Hill race and 3 Forts Marathon launched, based at Portslade.


Aug: Dave Thompson and Roger Maher ‘star’ in the BBC TV programme ‘The Brain Game’.
Dec: E. Browns first Boxing Day event, later to become the annual Xmas Score event!
Feb: First SO Badge event ‘The Southdowns Trophy’ at Eartham Wood. Planners Steve Jarvis and Malcolm McNeill. It was so cold the orange juice froze at the finish!


Oct: Permanent course at Stanmer opened by Steve Ovett.
May: Club badge design by K Robinson approved.
Apr: SO take over SAX involvement with JK Relays at Eartham Wood.
Feb/Mar: SAX CaTI events at Shaves Wood (Feb) and North Park Wood (Mar) renamed as SO events!
Jan: Inaugural meeting held at Portslade Community College. First newsletter noted that we had 47 members. By March this had risen to 118!
Jan: First SO event, at Stanmer Park. (The very first event at Stanmer was held in July 1974 by SAX).


Dec: Formative meeting held by western members of SAXONS.

Posted by Anna Chapman on 27th Oct 07




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Night Orienteering

Night orienteering is taking off in the SE of England. As a regular mid-week fixture you can now pencil this in to be part of your running schedule. Night orienteering is excellent training; the pace is slightly slower and the need for accurate, technical orienteering is essential.

Another aspect of the Kent Night League that makes it worth attending is the social side. Every event has a meal and/or a drink afterwards and it’s a great way to meet friends from across the region. Most of the guys are orienteering nuts, but then it’s always good to have something in common. To borrow the club’s headtorches click .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This is what orienteering at night looks like…

Posted by Robert Lines on 13th Oct 07




Printer friendly layout

Orienteering for Beginners

Thinking about coming along to our Autumn season of events? The first is at Goodwood on 22nd Sept. Take a look at this video made by one of our juniors for a jump start to Orienteering. View the video. Come along to any of our SOG’s (local Sat events) and you will be very welcome.

Posted by Robert Lines on 15th Sep 07






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