Radio Orienteering

Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF)

Welcome to Radio-O.  Here is how it works! We provide a radio receiver with a directional antenna, an orienteering map, a compass, and a finger stick. By pointing the antenna and listening to the signal you can determine the direction of the signal.  Using this information you navigate to the transmitter and punch in with your finger stick. Only the start and finish are marked on the map and it is important to keep track of where you are.  To qualify as finishing you must find at least one transmitter on your course and reach the finish within the time limit. To calculate results -- first; the number of assigned transmitters you found, then; your time on the course. We offer beginner through advanced courses, Regular BOK fees apply, and Pre-Registration is required.

Latest News in Radio Orienteering

March 23rd, 2020

Orienteering & ARDF April 18-19 at Gray Owl

Saturday, April 18 This is no longer an Open event. We will have an Advanced orienteering event at 1725 Gray Owl Road, Asheboro. (Orange through Red courses) We have a new sprint map of the Rock Garden, a complex area with many rock and rootstock features mapped at 1:4000 by Vladimir Lyuk. The plan is to start with a ~2k sprint at the Rock Garden and when the last sprint control is punched the course will continue with an appropriate length Orange, Brown, Green, or Red course back to the finish at the house. Start window will be from 10am – 2pm to spread people out. You must register for starting during a particular hour. Choose the hour you want to arrive when selecting the product for registration. There is a limit of 6 entries per hour. Course closes at 4pm. Maps will be pre-printed or you can request a PDF when you check out if you want to print the map yourself. Each day requires separate registration. Register for the Orienteering event on April 17 by Choosing the “Product” that represents the hour you wish to arrive. Registration closes at 5pm, Friday April 17, 2020

Sunday, April 19 we will have a classic ARDF Event set by Charles. Check back for details on the ARDF event. Register for the ARDF event on April 19 Registration closes at 5pm, Friday April 17, 2020 (If you are coming on both days you must register for each day separately.) Start window will be from 10am – 2pm to spread people out. (Since we only expect 10 people separate arrival times are not necessary.) Maps will be pre-printed or you can request a PDF when you check out in the notes if you want to print the map yourself.

  • Our plans for COVID safety:
    • Only 6 entries may arrive and start per hour
      • Choose the correct product for your preferred hour for Saturday.
    • We will ask people to stay outside of the house except for using the downstairs bathroom.
    • We expect everyone to maintain a minimum of 2m distance from others.
    • We will not rent finger sticks or loan compasses.
    • We will rent receivers
      • Bring your own headphones
      • Bring wipes to sanitize the receivers before and after use.
March 3rd, 2020

Open ARDF Ranking Event and Expert Long Form Orienteering at Umstead North

Registration Closed 6:30 pm 3/14/20

  • When: March 15, 2020 Courses open from Noon – 3:30 pm
  • Location: Umstead North, Multi Use Parking Area
    GPS Coordinates: 35.867674, -78.752441

Frequencies: Beacon 3.59Mhz , Beginner 3.55 Mhz, Expert 3.51Mhz

We will have Beginner ARDF (Radio-O) through Expert ARDF as well as Expert Long Orienteering courses.

ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction Finding)

Beginner and Intermediate ARDF

The Beginner and Intermediate ARDF courses will use the low power transmitters on a 2.5 minute cycle. There are 5 foxes and an Effective Length of 3.9 k. Effective_Length=Length+(Climb*10) . Each transmitter will be on for 30 seconds before the next one starts. That is plenty of time to get a bearing and you don’t need to wait so long for it to come back on again.

We will have 80m Receivers for rent and instruction on how to use them throughout the event. Bring your own headphone to use with the rental receivers. This is a good event for you to try out Radio Orienteering because we are offering a classic beginner course.

Beginner level courses – Foxes 3.55 Mhz – Beacon 3.9 Mhz

Course options (with effective length (length +10*climb):

  • ARDF Beginner White, 1.6 km, 2 foxes
    • 1, 5
  • ARDF Beginner Yellow, 2.5 km, 3 foxes
    • 1, 3, 5
  • ARDF Beginner Orange, 3.1 km, 4 foxes
    • 1, 2, 3, 5
  • ARDF Beginner Long Orange, 3.9 km, 5 foxes
    • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Be sure to Rent your Receiver (and bring your own headphone) when you Register for the Event

In ARDF you don’t need to find all the controls to successfully complete the course. The only requirements are: 1) Find one transmitter; 2) Find the beacon, which is close to the finish; 3) Finish within the 3 hr. time limit.

It may be harder than you expect, so don’t get discouraged. The trick is to get a direction bearing to the fox (fox is a common term for the transmitter) and draw it on your map. Now you can keep going toward the fox even when it is not transmitting. You can also take bearings to a transmitter that you are planning to find later. In the best case you can draw two bearings from different directions to get a cross bearing. This intersection of two accurately drawn bearings will give you the location of the transmitter so you can plan the best route choice to find it.

Many thanks to Imre for designing and setting the White – Orange ARDF courses and the Brown orienteering course. (This gives me a chance to practice on the ARDF Orange course.)

Expert ARDF Ranking Event

Expert level courses – Foxes 3.51 Mhz – Beacon 3.9 Mhz

This will be an ARDF Ranking Event for the following Categories:

  • ARDF Red 5 Foxes – Effective Length 8.0k, 5 Foxes
    • M40, M19
    • 1,2,3,4,5
  • ARDF Green Long 5 Foxes – Effective Length 7.5k, 5 Foxes
    • W21
    • 1,2,3,4,5
  • ARDF Green Short 4 Foxes – Effective Length 7.2k, 4 Foxes
    • W19, W35, M50
    • 1,2,3,5
  • ARDF Brown Long 3 Foxes – Effective Length 5.7k, 3 Foxes
    • W45, M60
    • 3,4,5
  • ARDF Brown Short 3 Foxes – Effective Length 4.8k, 3 Foxes
    • W55, W65, M70 
    • 2,3,5

The Advanced and Expert ARDF courses will use 3 watt transmitters and they will be on the standard 5 minute cycle with each transmitter on for 1 minute at a time.

ARDF USA Ranking Events

This event will be the first ARDF USA Ranking Event. The ARDF rules now include a subset that focuses just on the competitive standards of the race. This is to set a standard for championship level events, distinguishing them from practice events. The goal is to fairly compare competitors running in different local races as well as the US Championship events. The method for computing this is under development, but the standard for the races is approved. By holding, and reporting the results of the Ranking Events, we can collect the data necessary to develop the Ranking method. The goal is to have a National Ranking that can encourage more championship level events and assist the Team Selection Subcommittee with their decisions.

Long Form Orienteering

Long Form Orienteering has long legs and fewer controls. Route choice is thus more important.

There will be a 9.1k Red course with 6 legs ranging from 800m to 2.4k. The 7k Green course with 5 legs is similar except for one short 600m leg. The Brown course is a 6 leg classic format at 3.1k. Unfortunately Brown doesn’t lend itself to the long form.

December 18th, 2019

Dix Sprint & FoxOring Jan 5

We will start in Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh near the intersection of Umstead and Whiteside drive. 35.769774, -78.657912. Park in the large lot south of Umstead Drive.

We will have a fast complex sprint with 4 courses, each with about 15 – 20 controls. Two red courses, each about 2.8k and two brown courses, each about 1.8k.

In addition we will have a FoxOring Radio Orienteering course. This starts out like orienteering, however your control, the Radio Transmitter, is about 60 meters from the orienteering control. You find it by using your radio receiver. If you are doing the FoxOring course you should rent a Receiver ($5) when you register if you don’t have one.

  • Event Types:
    • 2 Red and 2 Brown Sprints
      • You can do 2 reds, 2 browns, or a red and brown
    • FoxOring Radio O
      • You can do this before, between, after or instead of the sprints
  • Start Times: 10 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Course Closes: 1:00 PM

Registration is open in our store.

December 8th, 2019

Dix ARDF & Middle 12/8/19

Nice cool weather and we had new people trying ARDF. The 30 second transmit for the slow side of the sprint worked really well, particularly for new people and those who haven’t practiced in a while. Here are the results   Dix Park ARDF & Middle, Dec 8, 2019 – Open, Results 2019-12-08   Slow […]

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December 3rd, 2019

Dix ARDF Sprint & Orienteering Dec. 8, 2019

This event will have 2 levels of ARDF (Radio Orienteering) and two lengths of Regular Orienteering. You can mix and match however you want.

  • Location: Small shelter at 1800 Umstead Drive
    • GPS 35.771397, -78.661485
  • Date: December 8, 2019
  • Time: Starts 11am – 1pm
    • Course closes at 2pm
  • Type: ARDF Radio Orienteering Sprint & Orienteering Middle Distance
    • Everyone is welcome
    • We will have a class at 11:30, and additional ARDF help throughout the day.
  • Registration: You must register in advance at the BOK store by Friday evening December 6th.
  • Orienteering Courses: High speed Middle Distance courses. Green 5.5k and Brown 3.7k. These courses are all in the open park, no need for
  • ARDF Courses: ARDF sprint courses are designed in two halves. You set your frequency and then start and find 5 controls. Next you change your frequency and find the Spectator Beacon which is the control that divides the two halves. Then you change frequencies and find the next 5 controls. Finally you change frequencies, find the Finish Beacon and run in to the Finish.
    • First Half : “Slow” In usual ARDF sprints each transmitter is on for 12 seconds and then the next transmitter comes on. This makes it particularly difficult for beginners to get the bearing. So we are going to set the first half so the transmitters will be on for 30 seconds before the change to the next transmitter.
    • Second Half: “Fast” This will be the standard 12 second transmitter transmit time.
    • Options for your courses:
      • Just Slow: Start as usual then after you punch the Beacon you then punch the finish
      • Just Fast: Start as usual then after you punch the Beacon you then punch the finish
      • Both: Start as usual, punch all the slow controls then the Beacon then punch all the fast controls. Punch the beacon again and then the finish.

The courses will be short probably about 4k for both together. We will update this after the course design is finalized. This is longer than usual because the slow side has 30 seconds on instead of 12 seconds. We are intentionally making the slow side longer than usual but much shorter than a classic event.

We will have ARDF instruction throughout the event. If you get started and are having trouble you can return for help and start over if you wish.

We have 6 receivers that we can rent so sign up early to reserve one. When someone returns we can give the receiver to someone else. We will confirm that you have a receiver after you enter. If you are on the waiting list for a receiver you should come at Noon so someone with a receiver has a chance to return.