Registration is now open for the 2021 USA and IARU Region 2 Championships of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF), set for October 13 – 17. Competition venues will be near Asheboro, North Carolina. Postponed from 2020, these championships will be conducted in accordance with CDC COVID-19 guidelines.
“The USA ARDF Championships are an ideal opportunity to watch and learn from the best radio-orienteers in the US,” said ARRL ARDF Co-coordinator Charles Scharlau, NZ0I. “Winners who qualify by citizenship or residence may be selected for positions on ARDF Team USA, which will travel to Serbia for the 2022 ARDF World Championships.”
Wednesday, October 13, will be a model event for equipment testing and a competitor briefing. Thursday, October 14, will be devoted to the Sprint championship, a short course with 12-second fox transmissions instead of the usual 60 seconds.
Classic 2-meter and 80-meter competitions will take place Friday and Sunday. Between the days of classic competitions will be Foxoring, a combination of radio direction finding and classic orienteering, held on Saturday morning. An outdoor pizza picnic will be held Saturday evening. Presentation of medals for Foxoring, Sprint, and Friday’s classic event take place at the picnic. Awards for Sunday’s Classic competition will be presented immediately after the competition.
Three optional practice days are planned for Sunday through Tuesday, October 10 – 12, just prior to the championships. A practice event on Sunday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, will provide the experience of a full ARDF course in a friendly environment, with the clock as the only opponent. The practices on Monday and Tuesday will be held in Durham, North Carolina, and will offer informal sessions in which the participants help with setting the transmitters in the woods.
Experienced radio-orienteers and event organizers from the Backwoods Orienteering Klub (BOK) will organize the 2021 USA and IARU Region 2 Championships. The event director is Joseph Huberman, K5JGH, and the registrar is Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG.
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) sets ARDF championship rules. For scoring and awards, participants are divided into twelve age/gender categories. In the classic ARDF events, competitors start in small groups made up of different categories. As they seek the “fox” transmitters, they navigate through the forest from the starting corridor to the finish line, a distance ranging from 4 to 12 kilometers. They plot their direction-finding bearings on orienteering maps that show terrain features, elevation contours, and vegetation type.
The USA ARDF Championships are open to anyone who can safely navigate the woods by themselves. A ham radio license is not required. Each participant competes as an individual; teamwork and GPS map use are forbidden. Competitors bring their own direction-finding gear to the events, although extra gear is sometimes available for loan from other attendees. Competitors may not transmit on the course, except in emergencies.
Information bulletin #2 contains the complete schedule, technical details, fees, rule variations, and more. Bulletins and links for online registration are on the event web page on the BOK website. An email reflector is available for Q&A with the organizers as well as for coordinating transportation and arranging equipment loans.
Announcements, rules, organizer instructions, and more are available at the ARRL ARDF website. Basic information on international-style transmitter hunting is on the Homing In website, which covers equipment ideas for 2 meters and 80 meters, plus photos and stories from previous championships. — Thanks to Joe Moell, K0OV