Secure Site Login


ARDF Enthusiasts Compete in USA National Championships


Fifteen US-eligible competitors took home first-place awards in the just-completed 17th USA National Championships of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) in Harrison, Ohio. The competition ran from August 3 through 6 on the 4,345-acre Miami Whitewater Forest and other nearby wooded sites, and it attracted more than 80 fans of the sport — also known as foxtailing and radio-orienteering. This year’s USA Championships were combined with the 9th ARDF Championships of International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 (IARU R2) — the Americas. The IARU establishes rules for ARDF competitions. The object is always to find as many of the required transmitters as possible in the shortest time and then navigate to the finish line. Competitors may use only their own direction-finding equipment, in addition to a compass and the provided map.

Classic 80- and 2-meter competitions with up to five hidden transmitters took place on separate days. Course lengths — from start to each required transmitter and then to the finish — ranged from 2.8 to 7.1 kilometers (1.7 to 4.4 miles), depending on age/gender category.

Two additional events took place, both on 80 meters. These included the sprint, a shortened course with 10 transmitters and a faster transmitter cycle, and foxoring, a combination of orienteering and foxhunting, in which participants receive maps marked with the approximate locations of a dozen very low-power transmitters to find. In all events competitors are divided into six age categories for men and five for women, with medals awarded to winners in each category. The 4 days of championship events were preceded by 3 days of informal training in other nearby parks.

According to IARU rules, USA-eligible competitors must be either citizens or legal residents for at least 1 year. First-place award winners among these competitors are, in alphabetical order:

Vadim Afonkin, KB1RLI


2-meter, 80-meter, foxor

Natalia Bondarenco


2-meter, 80-meter, sprint

Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG


2-meter, 80-meter, sprint, foxor

Thomas Chen


2-meter, 80-meter

Bob Cooley, KF6VSE


2-meter, 80-meter, sprint, foxor

Jay Hennigan, WB6RDV



Joseph Huberman, K5JGH


2-meter, 80-meter, foxor

Mengbing Li


2-meter, 80-meter, sprint, foxor

Nicolai Mejevoi


2-meter, 80-meter, sprint, foxor

Alla Mezhevaya


2-meter, foxor

Eduard Nasybulin


2-meter, 80-meter, sprint, foxor

Kelly Sears


2-meter, 80-meter, sprint, foxor

Evghenii Vorsin, KD2MZT



Jenny Wang


2-meter, sprint, foxor

Amy Wang


2-meter, sprint, foxor

Representing Canada was Nicholas Roethe, DF1FO (M60), who was first among Region 2 competitors in the 2-meter, 80-meter, and sprint events.

US national championships are open, meaning that radio-orienteers from other countries are welcome on the courses. Non-Region 2 visitors compete for individual medals in a separate division. For this competition, that division included some 40 middle- and high-school students from Guangzhou No. 2 High School in southern China, along with some instructors and parents. Adult participants also came from Australia, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine. Stateside foxtailers enjoyed comparing notes on ARDF equipment and techniques with them.

Organizing and staging these championships were members of the OH-KY-IN Amateur Radio Society. Lead organizers and course-setters were Dick Arnett, WB4SUV; Bob Frey, WA6EZV; Brian DeYoung, K4BRI, and Matthew Robbins, AA9YH. Additional volunteers were members of Orienteering Cincinnati (OCIN), which also provided the event maps.

Complete results of all events in these Championships are available on the Homing In website, where there is also much more information about the growing sport of ARDF.

Next year’s national championships are expected to take place in early June, in time for selection of ARDF Team USA, which will travel to Korea for the 19th ARDF World Championships in September 2018. A maximum of three competitors in each age-gender category may be on a nation’s team. They will be selected from the best USA-eligible performers at the 2017 and 2018 USA Championships. — Thanks to Joe Moell, K0OV, ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator