Registration is now open for the 21st USA Championships of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF), set for April 7 – 10, 2022. The competition will take place in Prince William Forest Park near Quantico, Virginia.
“Radio orienteers from all over the country, plus visitors from abroad, are invited to attend,” said ARRL ARDF Co-coordinator Gerald Boyd, WB8WFK. “The competitive courses are open to anyone of any age, with or without an amateur radio license. The results will help select who will be invited to fill positions on ARDF Team USA, which will travel to Serbia for the 2022 ARDF World Championships in September.
Wednesday, April 6, will be a practice day for equipment testing and a competitor briefing. From Thursday through Sunday, competitors will have the opportunity to compete in the sprint, foxoring, and classic courses on 2 meters and 80 meters. Awards for first through third places will be presented at ceremonies following the events.
Members of the Backwoods Orienteering Klub (BOK) will organize the 2022 USA Championships. All are experienced radio orienteers who organized the successful 2013 and 2019 national 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 12 age/gender categories. In the classic ARDF events, competitors start together 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 between 4 and 12 kilometers (about 2.5 miles and 7.4 miles). 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,” Boyd emphasized. “In ARDF, personal navigation skills are important because each participant competes as an individual — any teamwork or GPS map use is forbidden. Competitors bring their own direction-finding gear to the events, although extra gear is often 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. 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 includes equipment ideas for 2 meters and 80 meters, plus photos and stories from previous championships. — Thanks to Joe Moell, K0OV