Team USA Competing in Amateur Radio Direction Finding World Championships in Kazakhstan
Members of Team USA will compete in the 17th Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) World Championships, which get underway Saturday, September 6 in the mountains of Kazakhstan, and continue until September 13. Invitations to join the US team were issued earlier this summer, based on results of the 2014 USA Championships near Boston and the 2013 USA Championships in North Carolina. Up to three competitors in each age/gender category may be on a national team. The basic goal is to locate the greatest number of hidden radio transmitters -- or "foxes" -- in the shortest time. ARDF enthusiasts call themselves “foxhunters,” “foxtailers,” “radio-orienteers” and “ARDFers.” Team USA brought back 13 medals from the 2012 ARDF World Championships, said Joe Moell, K0OV, ARRL ARDF Coordinator.
“Many of those medals were from the World Cup competitions for individuals, which will not take place in 2014,” Moell said this week. “Since there will be fewer events this year, I do not expect our team to get as many medals. Also, our team is much smaller this year. Because some members had to drop out for various personal reasons, we have five men and three women, ranging in age from 29 to 72.”
China has the largest contingent, with 64 registered competitors. Not too far behind is Russia, with 40 members registered. The Czech Republic is signed up to field 37 competitors, while Finland has registered just two team members.
This weekend’s activities will primarily involve training on 80 and 2 meter foxhunts, with the official opening ceremony on Sunday, September 7, just ahead of the first “classic competition” on Monday. A second classic competition will take place on Wednesday, and “sprint” competitions are set for Thursday. Friday is set aside for “foxoring” competition.
Foxoring was developed to get classic foxhunters interested in ARDF and is currently done only on 80 meters. At the starting line, foxoring competitors are given a map marked with circles for at least 10 transmitters, plus the start and finish. The fox transmitters, which run about 10 mW into foot-tall vertical antennas, are close to or within the map circles, and all operate continuously. Competitors start at 2-minute intervals and navigate to the circles using map and compass. They complete the final approach by direction finding. After “punching in” at all required foxes, they head to the finish line.
The Kazakhstan Federation of Radiosport and Radioamateur is sponsoring the World Championships, which are being held in Kazakhstan for the first time in the resort town of Burabay.