Results are for the 20th US ARDF Championships and the 11th IARU Region 2 Amateur Direction Finding (ARDF). Four days of competition took place October 14-17 in North Carolina, and the results will help determine the makeup of the U.S. ARDF team at the 20th ARDF World Championships, slated for summer 2022 in Serbia. The US Championships and World Championships have been postponed from 2020 after they had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite this, visitors from outside the United States were unable to attend this year’s competition due to lingering travel restrictions, but a group of robust hopes for the U.S. team have lent themselves to the competition.
The contestants were between 14 and 74 years old. Competitions were held in the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area just south of Asheboro, North Carolina. The events began on October 14 with sprint events, a fast-paced competition in which two sets of five transmitters operating on two different 80-meter frequencies transmit non-consecutive bursts of 12 seconds every minute. Between the transmitters, the competitors pass through an area open to spectators, where supporters and spectators can cheer them on. Two elite competitors completed the sprint course in just over 15 minutes, a world-class time.
Of them classic events took place on October 15. The longest courses for the young adult categories were over 2 meters, and the shorter courses for the older adults and youth categories were over 80 meters. Separating the longest and shortest courses and keeping them on separate, non-disruptive lanes made it possible to tailor the course design for optimal challenge within each competition category.
Foxoring, a combination of direction finding and classic orienteering over 80 meters, followed the next day.
“Foxoring tests participants’ map and compass navigation skills,” said ARRL ARDF coordinator Gerald Boyd, WB8WFK. “Micro-electric foxes of 80 meters transmitting continuously are placed near marked locations on the map. The transmissions are so weak that competitors’ receivers cannot detect them until they get very close to the marked locations. Once they can hear one of the transmitters, it’s a quick sprint to find its exact location.
The competitions ended on October 17th with a different card and two other classic events, this time with the bands exchanged for those of the longer and shorter courses. This gave everyone the opportunity to compete over 2 and 80 meters over the 2 days of competition. Twenty-seven competitors took part in the events.
“Two remarkable young competitors set impressive times on adult courses in the W19 women category,” said Boyd. The youngsters included Adalia Schafrath-Craig (14) of North Carolina who won gold in recurve and foxoring, and Elizabeth (Lisa) Afonkin (15) of Massachusetts who won gold in the sprint.
US competitors in all six IARU age categories for men (U19 – U70) and women (W19 – W65) are under consideration to become members of the US team for the 2022 ARDF Championships. three competitors in each age / gender category and competition format may be part of a national team.
Contact the ARRL ARDF committee for more information on participation, participation or hosting of ARDF competitions. ARDF competitors do not need an amateur radio license. For more information on amateur direction finding, visit ARRL ARDF website.