Championship ARDF News

From USA and Around the World

Michigan fall colors
The fall colors in central Michigan are beautiful.  Will you be in this picture next year during October?

Announcing the 23rd USA Radio-Orienteering Championships
Chelsea, MI, October 2024

Michigan ARDF 2024Joe Burkhead KE8MKRThe ARRL ARDF Sanctioning Subcommittee has selected central Michigan as the site for the 2024 USA Radio-Orienteering Championships.  Events will take place over a full week in October, with exact dates to be announced soon.

Event Director will be Joseph Burkhead KE8MKR (at right), who has won numerous medals at USA's championships beginning in 2017.  He brought home a team bronze award for his performance in the 80-meter classic event at the 2018 World ARDF Championships in Sokcho, Korea.  He serves as a member of the ARRL ARDF Team Selection Subcommittee.  Assisting will be members of the Southern Michigan Orienteering Club and the Chelsea Amateur Radio Club.

Practice and championship courses will take place in several well-mapped sites near Chelsea, Michigan.  Chelsea is 50 miles west of downtown Detroit, 40 miles southeast of Lansing and 15 miles west of Ann Arbor.

Championships week begins on Saturday with two full days of training led by Charles and Nadia Scharlau, NZØI and KO4ADV.  Monday and Tuesday will feature practice sessions for all four events.  The sprint competition will be Wednesday, followed by the 80-meter classic in Thursday, the foxoring event on Friday and the two-meter classic on Saturday.  A banquet and awards ceremony will take place Saturday evening.  After the sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, there will be cultural outings and presentations.

The championship courses will be designed by KE8MKR and NZØI.  Medals will be awarded for each event in each of the IARU age/gender categories.

USA's ARDF Championships are open to anyone of any age who can safely navigate in the woods with hand-held radio gear for several kilometers.  Don't worry if you are inexperienced at radio-orienteering, as this is an opportunity to learn from experts.  An Amateur Radio license is not a requirement.

Bulletin 1 from the organizers has more information, including a listing of planned venues.  To avoid an unfair advantage of familiarity, anyone planning to participate in these championships should not enter the wilderness areas of these venues until the first day of competition.

A Facebook page has been set up for ongoing developments, including volunteer opportunities.  Also watch for more information in this Homing In site.  Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Cooper Lake Park
Cooper Lake State Park in eastern Texas is a great place for radio-orienteering.

The 22nd USA Radio-Orienteering Championships
Sulpher Springs, TX, April 19 - 23, 2023

Texas Radio-O 2023New Mexico Transmitter HuntersEastern Texas was the site of the 2023 Championships of international-rules on-foot transmitter hunting (called radio-orienteering and ARDF) for the USA.  New Mexico Orienteers hosted these championships from April 19 - 23, 2023, using maps provided by North Texas Orienteering Association.  Meet Director was Jerry Boyd WB8WFK.  Course designers were Nadia Schlarlau KO4ADV and Charles Scharlau NZØI.

Practice, training and equipment testing took place on Wednesday, the first day, followed by four days of competitions, sprint, foxoring and classics (2m and 80m).  Medals were awarded for each event in each of the IARU age/gender categories.

All events took place in the 3026-acre Cooper Lake State Park near Sulfur Springs, Texas.  Sulfur Springs is about 95 miles northeast of Dallas/Fort Worth airport.  To avoid an advantage of familiarity, anyone planning to participate in these championships was told not enter the wilderness areas of the park until the first day of competition.  Camper, tent and cabin camping were available and encouraged.

The Official Bulletin from the organizers has details of registration/fees, special rules, frequencies, lodging/camping, banquet and weather, plus a complete roster of competitors.

Here are links to the official results.

     Sprint competition, Thursday, April 20
     FoxOring competition, Friday, April 21
     Classic competition, First Day, Saturday, April 22
     Classic competition, Second Day, Sunday, April 23

USA's ARDF Championships are open to anyone of any age who can safely navigate in the woods with hand-held radio gear for several kilometers.  Inexperienced radio-orienteers have the opportunity to learn from experts.  An Amateur Radio license is not a requirement.

Team USA 2023 in Liberec
Team USA 2023 in Liberec.  Front Row:  Eduard Nasybulen, Nicolai Mejevoi, Alla Mezhevaya, Elizabeth Afonkin, Joseph Huberman K5JGH, Ruth Bromer WB4QZG, Natalia Leoni, Nadia Scharlau KO4ADV, Erin Hammer, Sandy Quinn and Vadim Afonkin KB1RLI.  Back Row:  Ken Harker WM5R, William Allen KG4OQO, Imre Polik KX4SO, Ian Shields, Alexander Myachin, Evgeny Danilov, Charles Scharlau NZ0I, Gheorghe Fala, Jonathan Kross and Bill Wright WB6CMD.  (Photo courtesy Imre Polik KX4SO)

Team USA Competes in ARDF World Championships
Liberec, Czech Republic, August 27 - September 2, 2023

BREAKING NEWS:  On August 28, the first day of competition, Nadia Scharlau KO4ADV and Natalia Leoni captured a team bronze medal in W55 category in the two-meter classic event.  On September 1, the last day, Ruth Bromer WB4QZG won individual silver in W65 category in the foxoring event.

Every two years (except as interrupted by the pandemic), hams from around the world gather to see who is best at on-foot hidden transmitter hunting.  USA has been represented at every one of these ARDF World Championships since 1998, and 2023 is no exception.  Team USA is now competing in the 21st IARU World Championships, which is taking place in Liberec, Czech Republic (90 km northeast of Prague) from August 27 through September 2.  There are separate classic ARDF events on separate days for national teams on eighty meters and two meters, each with up to five transmitters scattered in a forest that might encompass 1000 acres or more.  There are also competitions in sprints and foxoring.

For the World Championships, each country may send up to three competitors in each of eleven age categories, six for males and five for females, in accordance with rules of the International Amateur Radio Union.  Team members are responsible for their own registration/room/board fees and for transportation expenses to and from Serbia.

Full passport-holding citizens of the USA are eligible to be considered for ARDF Team USA.  Persons with dual nationality are allowed to compete for either of the countries of which they are nationals.  Other nationals living at least one year in the USA may also be considered to represent ARRL; the legitimacy of national residence shall be proven by an official document (e.g., government-issued paperwork).  A competitor may represent only one country in a calendar year.

USA's Letter of Intent to Participate was submitted to the organizers, including the estimated number of competitors and non-competing visitors.  Invitations to 2023 team membership were extended to 14 men and 6 women.  Team USA selection in competed categories (where more than three wish to attend) was based on performances and standings in the 21st USA ARDF Championships (Virginia, April 2022) and the 22nd USA ARDF Championships (Texas, April 2023), plus other qualifying events. 

For more about the 2023 ARDF World Championships, visit the World Championships Web site of the Czech Radio Club.

Joe Moell KØOV

ARDF Bulgaria

Team USA at the 20th ARDF World Championships
Borovets, Bulgaria, 28 August to 3 September, 2022

This article has been expanded and moved here.

Same Sport, New-ish Name

Czech Radio-Orienteering This Homing In site has used the terms "ARDF" and "Radio-Orienteering" interchangeably with respect to on-foot transmitter hunting under international rules.  Both terms are recognized in most countries where the sport is performed (see example at right from Czech Republic).  However, ARDF is often confused with in-vehicle transmitter hunting (which I prefer to call "T-hunting").  Now the ARRL ARDF Committee has decided to emphasize the term "Radio-Orienteering" to help minimize confusion.  The Committee sent this message on June 20, 2022:

"The name Radio Orienteering has been around for a very long time and has frequently been applied to the sport of ARDF, but it hasn't been recognized in any official sense.  Because Radio Orienteering is more descriptive of our sport (especially to the orienteering community), and because Amateur Radio Direction Finding is often confused with other radio direction-finding activities (like mobile T-hunting), the ARRL ARDF Committee has decided to officially favor the use of the term Radio Orienteering.  The Committee believes that a transition to that name will result in less confusion, and perhaps, quicker acceptance of the sport by orienteers and others who will more readily grasp the essence of the sport.

The name-change decision will impact certain websites, documents, social media, and other communication media that the ARRL ARDF Committee uses.  Notably, the annual championship event that the ARRL sponsors will be titled the USA Radio Orienteering Championships going forward.

The Committee hopes that Radio Orienteering will gradually gain universal acceptance.  But we recognize that the IARU, and others will likely continue to use the term 'ARDF' for the foreseeable future.  And, for now, even the committee's name will remain the ARRL ARDF Committee.  The transition may be gradual, but we believe that the change will be beneficial to the sport in the long run.

Look for more references to Radio Orienteering going forward, and don't be confused: it is the same radio navigation sport we all enjoy, but with a more descriptive name.  Long live Radio Orienteering!"

Listing of Upcoming Championship ARDF Events Worldwide

21st IARU ARDF World Championships, August 27 - September 2, 2023 in Liberec, Czech Republic.

24th IARU Region 1 ARDF Championships, August 4, 2024 in Pecs, Hungary.

22nd World ARDF Championships, September 2025 in Lithuania.

ARRL ARDF Development Fund Seeks Donations

ARRL logoThe ARRL Fund for the Development of Amateur Radio Direction Finding is now accepting monetary donations to support deserving groups and individuals as they expand international-rules ARDF activities in the USA.

This fund was first established in year 2000 with "seed money" from the Colvin Award, the ARRL Foundation and the ARRL General Fund.  In its first five years, payments from the fund were made on behalf of 18 individuals to help defray the cost of their participation in three ARDF World Championships.  Grants from the fund have also been made to the organizers of two USA ARDF Championships.

No further contributions are anticipated from the original sources, so the fund has been opened to contributions from individuals and clubs.  All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law and will be acknowledged by ARRL, a registered 501(c)(3) organization.  Contributions may not be designated by donors to be granted to any specific recipient, individual or group.

Grants from the fund may be requested by groups sponsoring ARDF events in the USA and by individuals who have qualified to represent the USA in ARDF competitions sanctioned by the ARRL or the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).  Requests for grants should be submitted electronically at least 60 days in advance of need to the Development Office at ARRL Headquarters.  They will be reviewed by a committee that includes ARRL's Chief Executive Officer, Chief Development Officer and ARDF Committee.

You can help support ARDF in the USA by sending a donation to ARDF Development Fund, c/o ARRL, 225 East Main Street, Newington, CT 06111.  Checks should be made out to ARRL with "ARDF Development Fund" on the memo line.

The not-for-profit American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the national association of Amateur Radio operators, founded in 1914.  ARRL is a member society of the IARU.

ARDF Training and Practice

Local ARDF sessions for training and practice are sometimes held in the areas listed below.  If you are close to any of them, get involved!  If you're not, the task of developing ARDF locally is yours.  With the help of other hams in your town, it can be relatively easy and fun.  This may be just the activity to shake the doldrums out of your club.  Start planning now!

Results and Photos of Other Stateside ARDF Events in Recent Years

Current SoCal sessions -- Southern California practice/demonstration events of 2023.

SoCal 2022 -- Southern California (and Arizona) practice/demonstration events of 2022, including Yuma Hamfest, Hillcrest Park and Felicita Park.

SoCal 2021 -- Southern California practice/demonstration events of 2021, including Lake Los Carneros, Hillcrest Park and Bonelli Regional Park.  (There were no events in 2020 due to COVID.)

SoCal 2019 -- Southern California practice/demonstration events of 2019, including Bonelli Regional Park, Mt. Pinos, Guajome Regional Park, Hillcrest Park, Mission Viejo Community Park, Yuma Hamfest and Lake Los Carneros.

SoCal 2018 -- Southern California practice/demonstration events of 2018, including Hillcrest Park, Lake Los Carneros (2), Mt. Pinos, Santa Fe Dam, Mission Bay Park and Bonelli Regional Park.

SoCal 2017 -- Southern California practice/demonstration events of 2017, including Hillcrest Park, Lindo Lake Park, Mt. Pinos, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Bonelli Regional Park.

April 7 - 10, 2022 -- 21st USA ARDF Championships in Triangle, VA.

October 14 - 17, 2021 -- Twentieth USA ARDF Championships in North Carolina.

July 28 - August 4, 2019 -- Nineteenth USA and Tenth IARU Region 2 ARDF Championships near Raleigh, NC.

June 13 - 17, 2018 -- Eighteenth USA ARDF Championships near Truckee, CA.

July 31 - August 6, 2017 -- Seventeenth USA and Ninth IARU Region 2 ARDF Championships near Cincinnati, OH.

For results and stories of events before 2017, see this site's Table of Contents

Additional ARDF Resources In This Site

THRDFS cover Go to International-Style Foxhunting Comes To The Americas -- An introduction to the sport with the history of its development in the Western Hemisphere

Go to Equipment Ideas for Radio-Orienteering -- Simple and inexpensive receiving and transmitting solutions

Go to Radio-Orienteering News for Southern California -- Results and stories of recent radio-orienteering events in southern California, plus announcements of upcoming ones.

Go to Foxhunting for Scouts -- Let's get the kids involved

Go to Extenders Aid Handicapped Foxhunters -- A novel way to include persons with disabilities

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This page updated 15 September 2023