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 31st, 2023

Radio Orienteering at Schenck Forest

We will have a two-band small Classic Radio Orienteering event at Schenck Forest on Saturday, April 1 – no foolin’ You may start between 10 AM, and 1:30 PM. Courses close at 3 PM sharp.

(This is a new procedure, so let us know if you have problems with it.)

To accommodate more people who need to rent receivers a receiver rental will be for either in the morning 10AM – 1230PM OR in the afternoon from 12:30PM until 3PM. (We will be flexible with this timing depending on the availability of receivers.)

  • For example, you can rent an 80m receiver in the morning and a 2m receiver in the afternoon if you want to rest between courses or you could rent both for the morning and do the two courses back to back finishing by 12:30 so someone else can use the receivers in the afternoon.

In any case, be sure to bring wired headphones

Both 80m and 2m courses will be set out. These should serve as good practice for those planning to compete at the 2023 USA Radio Orienteering Championships in Texas later in the month.

The time limit will be 90 minutes for each course. Neither 5-fox course is longer than 3.5 km (effective length), and an even shorter 3-fox option is available. The exclusion zone around the start/finish is only 200 meters, but each fox will be separated from the others on its band by the regulation 400-meter minimum to make this a good practice for the championships. We will be using the actual transmitters and antennas that will be used in Texas. So this dual-band event can double as a dual-band equipment check.

There will be a first-time beginner’s class that starts at noon. There is no charge for the beginner’s class, and no need to rent a receiver – a beginner receiver will be provided free of charge. Also, no map or finger stick will be needed for the beginner class – we will just concentrate on learning to use the receiver. But please register for the beginner’s class if you plan to come – we need to know how many to expect. Beginners who plan to do the 80m course after the class may elect to use the beginner receiver rather than rent an 80m receiver: the course is small enough that the beginner receivers should have no problem hearing all the course transmitters. But you will need to register for the 80m course in order to try it. It is not recommended for first-timers to attempt the 2m course until they have a few 80m courses under their belts.

Everyone must check in at the shelter upon arrival. The same map will be used for both courses, so hold onto it if you plan to run on both bands. There is no additional charge (except for receiver rental) for running both courses – and you are encouraged to do so. Remember to rent receivers for both bands if you need them. To ensure that there are enough receivers to go around, please return your receiver as soon as you are finished with the course.

Register Here.

March 6th, 2023

Results – Championship Quality Radio-O Sprint

March 5, 2023 at Dix Park The weather was perfect, and the event went flawlessly setup and equipment wise, however some of the competitors weren’t so flawless. This is great practice for the Champs. Now is the time to get the mistakes out of your system. Radio Orienteering,Results 2023-03-05 Sprint All3.1 km 58 m 60 […]

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November 3rd, 2022

Results for Radio Orienteering Nov 12, Umstead South

Eight competitor groups (ten individuals) participated in the 80m classic course competition on November 12. Everyone located all the controls on their course, and no one was OT! That is especially impressive because it was the first time on a standard course for three of them. All the first-timers were graduates of Nadia Scharlau’s beginner classes. Congratulations to all.

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July 21st, 2022

Results – Umstead West 80m Radio Orienteering & Beginner Training – 17 July 2022

There was a strong showing of eleven beginners, and two intermediate-level radio orienteers, on this warm, humid, July morning. A few Radio Orienteering experts were also on hand. The beginners worked as a group, walking together, learning the basics of operating an 80m direction-finding receiver. For simplicity, all beginner participants used identical R3500D receivers. With […]

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June 7th, 2022

Radio Orienteering Classes at Bond Park

Youth Radio Orienteering.
This is a Town of Cary class at Bond Park, and is not hosted by BOK.
Registration is available online at, by mail, and in person at staffed Town of Cary facilities.
July 6-8, or 11-13, both 3-day classes meet 9 AM to Noon

Do you know of a young man or woman age 11-16 who likes the outdoors and electronics and is looking for a fun summer activity?

There is a unique opportunity offered by the Town of Cary this July: Radio Orienteering. It is an international sport that most folks have never heard of! Radio direction-finding (or Radio Orienteering) is the sport of locating transmitters in the park. It is an outdoor sport that combines maps and compasses with radio receivers and transmitters. Students will learn to read maps, determine directions using a compass, and operate radio receivers to hunt down transmitters. It is all about walking, thinking, and competing. All sessions will be taught by a two-time world champion in the sport. All equipment will be provided. You can view the class description in the Town of Cary Recreation Guide, and instructions for registering are on the last 3 pages of the Guide. Fee: $99 Cary Residents, $129 non-residents.