First field shoot of the year (and bonus bow review)

Taking a long shot after a peg was complete.

Just completed the first field shoot of the year, this was a taster day held for the plymouth university archery club by another local club (South Hams Field Archery club). This was only the second time ever shooting a field course, and only the second or third time I have shot my longbow this year.

I would have shot my barebow (#UUKHA) , but as I currently don’t have arrows suitable for field shooting this did not happen. Having arrows that cost north of £350 of a set of 12 would have meant being terrified of missing for the entire day, as happened last year at Dunster Archery week (see photo). On this occasion I lost about £75 pounds worth of Aluminium-carbon arrows. Not an experience I would like to repeat any time soon. So after speaking to some of the club members I have ordered a set of very cheap fibreglass arrows from the internet, fingers crossed they shoot okay, otherwise I may have to get some arrows from these guys: , as they are the only company I know that sell arrows longer than 33 for less than an arm and a leg! if anyone has any other suggestions I am all ears, please comment below.

My first arrow on a field course, At Dunster week 2018

Speaking of my longbow, I have been meaning to write about it for a while. I currently shoot a Triple laminate bow, Hickory backed, purplewood heard and lemonwood belly, made by Will lord. This was a custom made bow (due to my gorilla size arms), I had it made to 50 lbs at 33″ draw, not something that is available off the shelf at your average archery store. its overall length unstrung is about 6’7″ and strung is approximately 6’6″. Having only occasionally shot this bow since I bought it at the end of last years outdoor season I have put off writing about it until I have had a good chance to shoot it and let it settle down.

My favourite peg all day, dappled shade, smell of spring in the air and a bow.

What I have noticed is that it has taken a large amount of string follow even over the few times I have shot it (totalling around 10 sessions). I have always meticulously de-strung it after sessions and during breaks. As I normally shoot alongside archers with bamboo backed bows it is immediately obvious how much slower this bow is. It is also noticeably heavier and chunkier than the other bows I have seen. As can be seen from the pictures of the bow fully drawn there is a slightly uneven tiller. Shooting the bow feels quite nice if I am honest, I think this is helped by the bow shooting relatively slowly and being on the heavy side.

Overall I feel that it is OK for the (discounted) price I paid. I am currently looking for a replacement to use as main bow. It is serviceable for now.

Props to South Hams Field Archery Club for hosting the University members for the have-a-go. We had a fantastic day in the sun winging arrows at some fake animals. the course we were on was fantastically set up, some lovely clean shots and some more challenging shots, with rock shaped consequences on either side.

Arrow retrieval, for (luckily) not my arrows.

Easton Target Arrow Comparison spreadsheet

I thought I would share my easton arrow spreadsheet, or what eastons arrow selector could have been.
It allows easy filtering by max shaft length available, or maximum spine. etc,

So for example I require 33.5″ shafts and a spine of 300-380 thou. this can be easily filtered using excel’s filters. this shows that my choice of arrows is severely limited for long range outdoors to either X10s/X10-Protours or Procomps.

the main reason for creating this was to test Excels web query function, and the results (only) are available below.

Easton arrows available in 33.5″ with a spine of 360 or greater.

As always servers aren’t free and if you feel that this or any of my work has been helpful please donate, any amount is appreciated!

To view the spreadsheet, simply download it below.

It’s been a while

So its been way too long since I last updated this blog!

I haven’t been idle in the time since my last post. in archery news I Had a very successful rest of the indoor season and went on to have a great outdoor season, achieving Bowmans qualification within 5 weeks and 4 shoots of starting outdoor shooting. I carried this on to getting onto the county squad and have been able to massively benefit from coaching organized for this during the winter season, having gained a much better appreciation of the mental side to the sport.

Starting in september I started back at university for the 3rd year of studying. during the end of the outdoor season and into the 1st few months of the new indoor season I was able to put a lot of time and money into my archery, acquiring a new set of UUKHA limbs and setting up my X7 arrows with XS-Wings. I was able to keep a log and was planning to train and shoot in excess of 500 arrows per week. unfortunately this has been tricky since I also started my dissertation, “Numerical analysis of a Marine hydraulic motor valve”. This has since become a large part of my year.

Recently I have had to reduce my shooting to less than a portsmouth per week. On the other hand I have continued working on my riser grip project and used my 3D printer to repair and improve some of my archery kit.

My grip models can be found here:

And a small selection of tab plates that fit the KSL gold leather, plates and spacers can be found here:

My bracing height broke so I replaced one of the clips with this part:

A Fellow archer needed a longer clicker plate to fit their riser (MK Korea brand) so this was created:

And my bow needed some new weight covers to match the all black look so These were modelled and printed:

BUCS National Indoor Finals

Team plymouth photo

The plymouth uni team

BUCS indoor finals took place this weekend and what a day it was. Plymouth University sent a team of 6 archers to the finals held in Bristol at Coombe dingle sports complex. Three archers in the men’s recurve category, Alex Rowe, Hayden de Noojer and Joe Tripp), Jessica Mooney for women’s recurve, Emma King for women’s longbow, and myself in the men’s barebow category.

Following an early start on Sunday we arrived and set up, female recurve and both barebows shot in the first session which meant that no one got a lie in as both drivers were in the first session. After shooting some really nice practice ends my shooting levelled out pretty quickly with no end coming in at under 20 in the first half, unfortunately I started struggling with sugar and water levels half way through the second half, resulting in 2 ends of 19 before I managed to pull myself together and eat something. At the end of the qualifying round I was sat 10 points clear of 2nd place. This set me up well for the H2H meaning I should have a clear run to the QF if I continue shooting as I had been. After the WA18 I decided to have a tactical nap after taking some photos, and ensuring that the rest of the team was set up and ready to go, this took me almost to the end of the second round and ready to prepare for the H2H.

In the men’s recurve Alex seeded 4th, Hayden 9th but unfortunately Joe did not make it to the H2H, both Emma (2nd) and Jess (28th) qualified. Unfortunately our team’s lake of H2H experience started to show and resulted early losses, with only Alex making it to the second round. The format of the H2H mean that there is a lot of pressure on every arrow, this is something that is very difficult to practice for without doing many competitions in the format as there is no real way to simulate the pressure of shooting so close to your direct challenger. The psychological element of competition prep really comes to the fore here and this was especially noticeable in my 3rd round which I should have won in straight sets but I didn’t get my head in the game till the third end. Unfortunately Emma lost her SF causing her to lose focus, not realising she still had the bronze medal match for which it was then incredibly hard to focus for.

In these situation it is incredibly easy to lose concentration for even a split second, costing you the end or even the match.

To shoot first or not to shoot first: I prefer to shoot first in a H2H for two main reasons, I don’t like knowing what I have to match before I have shot as this usually results in scoring that score or lower, and second, having seeded in first I am in the comfortable position of knowing that if I continue to shoot as I have I should win and have the possibility to tighten the pressure on the opposition if I put a good arrow down range.

In my experience university competitions are always great fund usually friendly, with each team supporting their teammates on the line. We even found ourselves rooting for Ben Trudgill of Exeter to win the Mens recurve. Our teams support and vending machine runs were invaluable during my head to head as I was again starting to lose concentration as my sugar levels dropped.

I think my main takeaways from this event are first that thinking about what to eat when before a competition is really important, and can mean the difference between an enjoyable day and good performance and an unsuccessful frustrating day. And the other is how important head game is in archery and especially in the final head to head rounds when the pressure is turned up to 11.

One way to “get in the zone” is to prepare properly before each round and even end, whatever this is for each archer, it could be a specific set of warm ups or just mentally rehearsing the draw and loose process, whatever it is it doesn’t really matter. This also helps forget about the other competitors and their performance if I am concentrating fully on what I will do on the line.

In the past I have found that bringing a kilo of flapjacks to an archery usually event ensures that I keep my sugar levels up and always having enough water on the waiting line is also important. On the second point I am hoping that our club will hold some more events both internally and externally to get both new archers competing and improve the head game of those that already take part in competitions.

Photos by Malcolm Rees full album here. And the rest of the plymouth team.

Goal setting



Goal setting is an important part of progression and personal development. This is especially apparent to me in archery as it can often seam like progress has stagnated if I don’t shoot a new record every few weeks.

In the past I have set myself a goal each season that I  want to achieve before the end of the summer tel term. Last year this was shooting over 500 in a Portsmouth round with Barebow. Unfortunately I missed this by 2 or so points or 1 session depending on how you look at it, as I scored 498 in the penultimate shoot of the year and then smashed that target with 515 on the first session back in September. Since then my score has steadily risen every month or so, to where I currently stand at 529.

The next goal I set myself was to shoot a Portsmouth without any blues. This was because I was shooting quite erratically with most of my arrows being ok, but every now and again one would fly out from the group and land in the 5 or 6 ring. I think that was a more constructive goal to set myself than getting a new high score as it encourages me to concentrate on each and every shot.

These goals are alright and better than nothing, but they are woolly and aren’t very specific. So going forward I am going to try to set SMART goals regularly, and record how I Progress on them to ensure I keep pushing myself and working on relevant areas of my technique.

Long term goal:

Maintain or improve my position in the UKSAA E-League this year, I am currently sat in second place in the individual RBB table. I would also like to remain on the Plymouth Uni ‘A’ team for the remainder of season.

In addition to continuing to shoot indoors for the UKSAA I would like to qualify for the DCAS squad for next season, requiring qualifying scores on outdoor rounds.

Aspirational goal: Score 550 on a portsmouth round.

Mid Term Goal:

Experiment with different handle shapes to improve bow hand posture and stability.

Short term goals:

Improve my technique, in particular work on my loose and eliminate any beard plucking that is currently plaguing my shooting and regularly leads to serious pain and enforced breaks, as well as steadily thinning my beard.

While you are here check out Archery meditations.

Net Speed Monitor

I recently tried to download my favorite network monitoring tool, but found that the original author has stopped hosting it, and the various software hosting sites either have to much adware clamped on to the download or simply don’t work.

Here they are simple and easy:


net speed monitor (x64)
net speed monitor (x86)
Credit to the original author of course:

Florian Gilles

Arma 3 GUI settings

This list of variable should help with creating a consistent ui experience for the players, this is a list of element colours used by the arma 3 interface, an can be used to ensure that you custom dialogs match the players chosen style.


retrieve values using

    missionNamespace getVariable ["<variable name>", <default value>];

for example:

missionNamespace getVariable ["gui_bcg_rgb_a", 0.2];

Turning an Arduino Leonardo into a joystick.

This is an article that I found when I needed it, but it has since been removed. seeings as I found it helpful with my project I thought I would rehost it here.

original link Original URL (dead).
cached version

All credit goes to Connor of I have patched and updated the USBAPI.h and HID.cpp and reuploaded those too.

Note: this was tested with arduino IDE 1.6.1.

I recently bought a Arduino Leonardo in the interest of updating the interface in an old arcade-style controller I occasionally use to play MAME games.

As such, I needed to figure out how to get the leonardo to properly act like a joystick.
Anyways, this is heavily based on drake250’s work, which is on the freetronics forum here. HelmPCB’s USB Joystick site was also a useful reference.
There is a useful list of HID descriptors here.
Also, the “HID Descriptor Tool” from is also very useful for seeing how HID descriptors are put together. Get it here.

In the end, I wound up rewriting most of the drake250’s HID descriptor myself, based on some of the docs, and the HID Descriptor Tool.

Anyways, here are my modified files you would need to turn your own leonardo into a joystick. These files support an 8-axis joystick, with two hat-switches, and 32 buttons.
If you want fewer buttons/axes/whatever, you can either just ignore the things you don’t need, or modify the HID descriptor yourself. As it is, for everything the HID descriptor currently specifies, it only needs 12 bytes per PC-update, so I’m not too worried about the extra axes causing issues or slowing things down.

The windows joystick info dialog only seems to be able to display 7 axes. I’m fairly sure the eighth axis there. However, since the built-in windows dialog works almost the time, I have not found any tools for looking at joystick readouts other then the built-in windows dialog. I mean, how may people have an 8-axis joystick anyways?
Also, the HID documents seem to also support the belief that the HID spec allows a maximum of 63 buttons. However, again, the windows tools for inspecting a joystick only support 32. You could add more quite easily, but you would have to test their functionality yourself.

Modified arduino files (replace the files in {arduino executable dir}hardwarearduinocoresarduinoUSB with these):

Also a version patched by another reader.
It’s contents:

JoyState_t joySt;		// Joystick state structure

void setup()
	pinMode(13, OUTPUT);

	joySt.xAxis = 0;
	joySt.yAxis = 0;
	joySt.zAxis = 0;
	joySt.xRotAxis = 0;
	joySt.yRotAxis = 0;
	joySt.zRotAxis = 0;
	joySt.throttle = 0;
	joySt.rudder = 0;
	joySt.hatSw1 = 0;
	joySt.hatSw2 = 0;
	joySt.buttons = 0;


The interesting thing here is JoyState_t, which is a struct that stores the state for all the joystick controls.

The struct is defined in USBAPI.h as such:

typedef struct JoyState 		// Pretty self explanitory. Simple state to store all the joystick parameters
	uint8_t		xAxis;
	uint8_t		yAxis;
	uint8_t		zAxis;

	uint8_t		xRotAxis;
	uint8_t		yRotAxis;
	uint8_t		zRotAxis;

	uint8_t		throttle;
	uint8_t		rudder;

	uint8_t		hatSw1;			// 0-7 correspond to 0-315° in 45° steps. 8 means the hat-switch is centered
	uint8_t		hatSw2;			// All other values are invalid

	uint32_t	buttons;		// 32 general buttons  (Each bit corresponds to a separate button)

} JoyState_t;

Continuing on with the contents of leoJoy.ino:

void loop()

	joySt.xAxis = random(255);
	joySt.yAxis = random(255);
	joySt.zAxis = random(255);
	joySt.xRotAxis = random(255);
	joySt.yRotAxis = random(255);
	joySt.zRotAxis = random(255);
	//joySt.throttle = random(255);
	joySt.rudder = random(255);


	joySt.buttons <<= 1;
	if (joySt.buttons == 0)
		joySt.buttons = 1;


	if (joySt.hatSw1 > 8)
		joySt.hatSw1 = 0;
	if (joySt.hatSw2 > 8)
		joySt.hatSw2 = 8;


	if (joySt.throttle > 127)
		digitalWrite(13, HIGH);
		digitalWrite(13, LOW);

	// Call Joystick.move


This section just generates random values and sets the analog axes to them. Each bit in buttons is also set in sequence, using bit-shifting.
It also steps through the different hat-switch positions. It steps hatSw1 fowards, and hatSw2 backwards. Lastly, the throttle axis it linearly ramped.

The last (and most important thing) here is


This is the function that actually sends the values in the joySt struct to the computer.

At this point, all that is needed to make a useable joystick is to replace the contents of loop() with something that actually reads hardware buttons.

Anyways, everything is under the arduino license (I think it’s GPL, but the only file I edited with a license actually looks to be BSD-ish. Anyways, do whatever, just don’t be an ass).

A32S: Arma 3 extension socket layer.

Hello there.
Time to share my latest creation. A sockets later for Arma. It allows for easy sharing of in game data with other processes and computers.
It is secure in that it does not allow any new connection end points to be defined on the fly via sqf I.e you have to configure all connection details prior to starting Arma. This should reduce the potential for abuse by game hackers and script kiddies.

The extension pretty easy to use and it uses killzonekids threading Arma extension to handle sending end returning data this means that each call is prefixed with either an “s” for send or an “r” for retrieve. I plan on releasing an sqf library to manage the socket life cycle and make sending and receiving data easier.
Each “s” call returns a ticket number. This ticket number should then be used to call “r:ticketnumber” until all data has been received. If the requested ticket is not ready it will return “WAIT”. Else if that ticket does not exist or had already been Retrieved it will return “EMPTY”.
There are two types of return: single part and multipart. Single part returns are prefixed with “0:” followed by the data and multipart with “1:totalPackets:currentPacket:” followed by the data this allows easy transfer of larger data structures, and a basic integrity check: whether all tickets have been recieved succesfully.


GitHub page