Fall 2007 Issue

Homing In

USA’s 2007 ARDF Championships
and Emergency Transmitter News

By Joe Moell, KØOV

Bob Cooley, KF6VSE, set all courses for the 2007 USA/IARU-R2 Championships and for two days of intense training prior to the event. (All photos by the author)

“World-class radio-orienteers shouldn’t have to sleep in unheated garages!” That was the good-natured complaint of Jay Hennigan, WB6RDV, at breakfast on the first competition day of this year’s national Amateur Radio Direction Finding Championships (ARDF). He was recovering from a night in a rustic cabin near the shore of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Mountains of east central California. The temperature had dipped into the 30s overnight, but was heading for the 70s under clear skies.

Jay went on to win a gold medal in the category for men age 50 to 59. He had to navigate with map and compass through the forest from the start line to the finish while finding all required transmitters (four in his category) in the least elapsed time. A typical course is five to eight kilometers long, if you travel the shortest possible route. Vadim Afonkin of Boston, the day’s fastest, did it in an hour and two minutes. Others took up to three hours, which was the time limit for this hunt.

This 2-meter competition took place on Saturday, September 15. The next day there was a similar competition on the 80-meter band in a different part of the forest. Both courses were set by Bob Cooley, KF6VSE, of Pleasanton, California. A long-time orienteer, Bob used the experience he gained in 2003 when he mapped the area and helped set courses for the national championships of the US Orienteering Federation.

General Chair of this year’s championships was Marvin Johnston, KE6HTS, of the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club. SBARC teamed up with the Los Angeles Orienteering Club (LAOC) to organize the events and to set up electronic scoring. Maps were provided by the Bay Area Orienteering Club. International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) rules for ARDF were followed as closely as possible.1
These Seventh USA ARDF Championships were combined with the Fourth ARDF Championships for IARU Region 2 (North and South America).2 Unfortunately, the USA was the only Region 2 country represented. The foreign visitors came from Germany in Region 1 and Australia in Region 3. For the second year, Nick Roethe, DF1FO, and his wife Brigitte included the USA Championships in their auto touring of the US.

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