Championship ARDF News

From USA and Around the World

ARDF Bulgaria

20th ARDF World Championships
Borovets, Bulgaria, 28 August to 3 September, 2022

WC22 logo ARDF Team USA has brought home gold again, this time at the 20th World ARDF Championships in Borovets, Bulgaria.  In the classic competition on September 1, 2022, Vadim Afonkin KB1RLI triumphed over two dozen other competitors in the M50 category, finding five 80-meter fox transmitters in just 53:04.  He was 24 seconds ahead of Zbynek Zacek from the Czech Republic, who took second place.  Normally, the M50 category competitors are required to find only four of the five transmitters, but this event was unusual because M21 and M50 were required to find all five on a course with optimum route of almost 5 kilometers. 

Vadim Afonkin Vadim (at right) has medalled at every World Championships since 2012 and won a gold at the last World Championships in 2018.  In addition to Vadim's individual medal, Vadim and Alexander Myachin captured bronze in the team aggregate score standings.  Complete results and photos are in the official event Web site .

The Amateur Radio Union of Serbia (SRS) was originally scheduled to host the World Championships in 2020 but had to cancel due to the pandemic.  The rescheduled championships could also not take place in 2021 due to COVID.  It was thought that case counts would be significantly lower and travel restrictions would be lifted in time for the championships in 2022, but many Asian countries are still under severe limitations.  Korea was the only country in IARU Region 3 that submitted a Letter of Intent to participate.

The war in Ukraine created the other problem.  Russia submitted a Letter of Intent to field 47 competitors to Serbia.  Numerous other national teams and individuals let it be known that they would not compete if a Russian team were allowed to attend, but IARU leaders have taken the position that there will be no restrictions on the participation of any IARU member societies.  YU1EW wrote, "This makes it clear that a minimum number of competitors that would meet the usual norms for the World championship cannot be achieved."

Elizabeth Afonkin On May 9, 2022, SRS announced that it was cancelling plans to host the 20th IARU ARDF World Championships in Zlatibor.  Jiri Maracek OK2BWN, the IARU Region 1 ARDF Coordinator, announced that another host for the 2022 World Championships would be sought.  On June 8, Viktor Tsenko LZ3NN announced that the Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs would host in the resort town of Borovets on the same planned dates.  Borovets is about 70 kilometers from the airport at Sofia.  There would be no COVID restrictions for entry and stay in Bulgaria.

On July 2, the following message was posted to the Russian Amateur Radio Union (SSR) Web site:  "The Collegium of the Ministry of Sports decided not to send Russian national teams to competitions in unfriendly countries.  Unfortunately, Bulgaria (as a member of the EU) is on the list of unfriendly countries, with representatives of the national amateur radio organization of which excellent working relations have developed.  The Presidium of the SRR, guided by the decision of the Russian Ministry of Sports, decided not to send the Russian national team (SRR) to the World Cup in the SRR in Bulgaria, and also recommend to refrain from independent trips to this country as sports judges."

Back in the spring, the ARRL ARDF Team Selection Subcommittee announced that 24 persons had been offered the opportunity to represent USA at the 2022 World Championships.  If all had accepted, this would have been the largest number of ARDF Team USA members ever to participate in the World Championships and would have included 17 men, 6 women and one youth.  But the late announcements and continuing concerns about COVID took their toll and only four persons competed for USA in Bulgaria:  Elizabeth Afonkin (W19), Vadim Afonkin (M50), Gheorghe Fala (M21) and Alexander Myachin (M50).  This was our smallest team since the USA first attended the World Championships in 1998.

World Championshps feature classic competitions on two meters and 80 meters, plus sprints and foxoring.  National teams may send only three persons per age/gender category to the IARU World Championships.  The World Cup competition is for individuals and there are no national team limits.  Team members and World Cup participants are responsible for their own registration/room/board fees and for transportation expenses to and from Serbia.

From August 24 through 27, BFRA hosted the World ARDF Cup for individuals in different competition sites.  In the 80-meter classic competition on August 26, Alexander Myachin and Vadim Afonkin took second and third place, respectively, finding four required foxes in a 6.1 kilometer route.

Elizabeth Afonkin (at left), the teenage daughter of Vadim Afonkin, is a fine radio-orienteer who did not win World Championship or World Cup medals in Bulgaria while competing in the W19 category for women ages 19 and under.  This is not surprising because so many in her category were considerably older.  In July 2022, Elizabeth ran in the 15th Balkan ARDF Championship and ARDF Black Sea Cup.  There in the W16 category for ages 16 and under, Elizabeth took second place in all four events, including course lengths up to 4.5 kilometers.

Cooper Lake Park
Cooper Lake State Park in eastern Texas is a great place for radio-orienteering.  Will you be in this picture next April? (Photo by North Texas Orienteering)

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

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

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

All events will take 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 may not enter the wilderness areas of the park until the first day of competition.  However, the camping areas may be entered via the main roads.  Camper, tent and cabin camping are available and encouraged.  Bulletin One from the organizers has more information about this embargo and the competition schedule.

The official event Web site is being prepared.  In the coming weeks there will be postings there about rules, frequencies, registration and lodging.

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 a chance to learn from experts.  An Amateur Radio license is not a requirement.  Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

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!"

Prince William Park
The beautiful serenity of Prince William Forest Park welcomed radio-orienteers in April, 2022.

The 21st USA ARDF Championships
Triangle, Virginia, April 7 - 10, 2022

Backwoods Orienteering Klub logoThe 21st annual USA Championships of ARDF took place April 7 - 10 near Triangle, Virginia, sponsored by the Backwoods Orienteering Klub (BOK).  Radio-orienteers from all over the country plus visitors from abroad were invited to attend.  The competitive courses were open to anyone of any age, with or without an Amateur Radio license.

The fun got under way on Wednesday, April 6 as participants fine-tuned their skills and aligned their direction-finding equipment on practice courses.  From Thursday through Sunday, competitors had the opportunity to comptete in the sprint, foxoring and classic courses on two meters and 80 meters.  Award ceremonies followed the events.

Ruth and Joseph Primary site of the competition was Prince William Forest Park, adjacent to Triangle, Virginia.  It borders the Quantico Marine Corps Reservation, 19 miles northeast of Fredricksburg and 29 miles southwest of Washington, DC.  This park features almost 17,000 acres of mature hardwood forest including springs, ferns, creeks, and ponds.  It is habitat for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, beaver and large concentrations of woodland birds, including thrush and warblers.

The park was under embargo for ARDF before the competition.  Public orienteering maps were available for study in advance.

These USA Championships are concluding just in time for final selection of ARDF Team USA 2022 members, who will travel in late August to Zlatibor, Serbia for the 20th ARDF World Championships (see news item below).  USA's team positions will be filled based on performances in these 2022 events in Virginia and the 2021 events in North Carolina.

Organizing Co-Chairs for the 2022 USA Championships were Joseph Huberman K5JGH (Meet Director) and Ruth Bromer WB4QZG (Registrar), shown at right.  They have competed at many USA Championships and also have been on ARDF Team USA to the World Championships.  Course Designer and leader of the setting team was Charles Scharlau NZØI.

National ARDF Championships are for individuals only.  No teaming or assistance on the course is permitted.  Participants are divided into six age categories for males and six age categories for females in accordance with standard IARU rules.  Awards for first, second and third places were awarded in each category on each band.

Here are links to the official results.

     Sprint competition, Thursday, April 7
     FoxOring competition, Friday, April 8
     Two-meter classic competition, Saturday, April 9
     Eighty-meter classic competition, Sunday, April 10

The Twentieth USA National ARDF Championships
North Carolina, October 14 - 17, 2021

This report has been updated and moved here.

Listing of Upcoming Championship ARDF Events Worldwide

(All subject to change)

22nd USA Radio-Orienteering Championships, April 19 - 23, 2023 in Sulfur Springs, TX.

21st IARU ARDF World Championships, Summer 2023 in Liberec, Czech Republic.

24th IARU Region 1 ARDF Championships, September 2024, possibly in Hungary.

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 2022.

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.

SoCal 2016 -- Southern California (and Arizona) practice/demonstration events of 2016, including Hillcrest Park, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Griffith Park, Lake Murray, Mt. Pinos, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Lake Los Carneros (2), Schabarum Regional Park and Bonelli Regional Park (2).

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.

April 6 - 10, 2016 -- Sixteenth USA ARDF Championships near Killeen, TX.

For results and stories of events before 2016, 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 6 November 2022