Ken Harker WM5R
2003 IARU Region II ARDF Championships


Jen and I competed in the IARU Region II ARDF Championships held near Cincinnati, Ohio, July 30 to August 3, 2003. This was our second trip to the USA/Region II championships. USA national championships are held every year, IARU regional championships are held every odd-numbered year, and the IARU world championships are held every even-numbered year. This year, the IARU Region II (North America, South America, and the Caribbean) championships and the USA championships were held as a single event. It's the biggest ARDF event of the year for us, and the only one Jen and I will likely attend until ARDF meets get going in Texas. Competitors came from California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Hungary. Unfortunately, expected competitors from Ontario were unable to attend. The 2004 USA ARDF Championships will likely be held in California.

These photos are copyright © 2003 Kenneth E. Harker. All rights reserved.


The competitors and organizers of the IARU Region II ARDF Championships all stayed in this dormitory, Havighurst Hall, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Notice the orienteering control and the large Icom banner. Icom was a major sponsor.
Jen W5JEN, standing at the door of our room. This dormitory is evidently used throughout the summer for conference housing. While we were there, a group of chemists was also in residence, and just before we left a group of high school kids moved in for a "leadership conference" of some variety.
Thursday was practice day. A small wooded park area across the street from Havighurst Hall was an excellent place for competitors to make sure their gear was working - two meters in the morning and eighty meters in the afternoon. This was one of the hidden two meter transmitters. In actual competition, the controls were not hidden in thick vegetation like this.
The transmitting antennas for the two meter controls were all homebrew "turnstile" omni-directional, horizontally-polarized antennas, hung in the trees two to three meters off the ground.
This case contained the two meter transmitter, foxhunt controller (which keyed the transmitter and sent the Morse code at the correct times,) and a gel cell battery. The two meter transmitters were MCW F2A, to be received with an FM receiver. The controllers were all PicCon (N6BG design) controllers.
What one of the orienteering controls looks like up close. In actual competition, these were held on punch stands. The punch stand holds the control at about one meter off the ground. For the practice, they didn't set out punches.
Another of the two meter practice transmitters. The actual transmitting antenna doesn't need to be directly on top of the control flag. If it was, competitors might accidentally become entangled in coax or ground radials or otherwise foul the transmitter. The transmitter merely needs to be within two meters of the control flag, and the control flags need to be visible from 10 or 20 meters away.
Jay Hennigan WB6RDV and Winnie Hennigan KA6OFZ, from California, used log periodic "tape measure" antennas. Using steel tape measures cut to the appropriate length to make antenna elements has been really popular, and many WB2HOL tape measure yagis were used this year and last. This was the first time I'd seen a log periodic used in ARDF. The boom is much shorter than needed for a yagi. Jay would wine the gold medal in M50 with this rig.
Havighurst Hall acquired more banners on Thursday.
The eighty meter practice took place in the afternoon. This was one of the eighty meter transmitters. The ammo case contains the transmitter, controller, and battery. The antenna is a shortened wire vertical with three radials.
Another view of the transmitter and antenna. The wire vertical is supported by a 26' tall collapsible fiberglass fishing pole. Some of the wire is wrapped around the base of the bottom section of the pole, creating a loading coil. The plastic box on the side is where the radials and the vertical wire are brought together into a coax connector. A balun was inside the plastic box.
The fishing pole has a metal spike with a cross brace that is attached to it at the bottom (where the two cable ties are.) The spike is driven into the ground by stepping on the cross brace, which you can barely see on the ground (it is aluminum colored.)
The fishing pole is twenty feet tall, and extends up through the low trees. Collapsed, they were less than four feet tall, which made carrying them out to the transmit sites easy.
One of the competitors out practicing on eighty meters. The receiver in his right hand is a German receiver, the PRX-80 Pro, a design by DL3BBX, commonly sold in both kit and assembled form throughout Europe. It is a "ferrite rod" style receiver.
Another competitor out practicing eighty meters. His receiver is a Fox-Finder 80, a WB8WFK design built from an FAR Circuits printed circuit board and an article published in the November, 2000 issue of 73 magazine. It is a "magnetic loop" style receiver.
Friday was the two meter competition. All of the competitors were transported from Havighurst Hall to the competition site in a forty-seat converted school bus. Notice the tape measure yagis with their elements rolled up. The two meter course was held at Fort Ancient, a site maintained by the Ohio Historical Society, southeast of Lebanon, Ohio (about 75 minutes from Havighurst Hall.) The excellent map was 1:10,000 scale, five meter contours, and provided by Orienteering Cincinnati.
Karla Leach KC7BLA and Harley Leach KI7XF came to the competition from Bozeman, Montana. Behind them are the bag lunches we would be issued to us upon finishing the course. My start time was very early, and the bus arrived late, so I had no time to take photos at the two meter start area.
The 80 Meter competition was held on Saturday. Everyone's equipment gets impounded, and returned to them as they progress through the start sequence. As there are no commercially-made ARDF receivers for 80 meters available in the U.S., I find the variety of those used at the championship fascinating. Here are two PRX-80 Pro (DL3BBX design) ferrite rod receivers and what I think is a Ukrainian magnetic loop model.
This is a Fox-Finder 80, a design by WB8WFK (who also competed in this event.) There were several of these magnetic loop receivers in use, but each looks different as there are no standard cases or knobs. The tags on the gear identify who it belongs to.
This is Sam Smith N4MAP's Fox-Finder 80. Notice the red arrow indicating the direction of the lobe peak when the unit is in cardioid pattern mode (by pressing the normally-open momentary contact switch on the side.)
Some more receivers of the "magnetic loop" type. At the top is Dale Hunt WB6BYU's home-brew receiver. This is the prototype from which his recent batch of kits was designed. The middle one is (I believe) an east European model, and the one below is a different European kit. The black plastic receiver next to the blue magnetic loop receiver is a Chinese receiver based on a ferrite rod design.
The two magnetic loop antenna designs in the center of this photograph are, I believe, made from Ukrainian kits. I think the one on the left may have lost its original sense antenna, which was replaced with the steel tape measure.
In the center is Dale Hunt WB6BYU's own WB6BYU-design magnetic loop receiver. On the right is the gear used by Mike Cegelski K8EHP. The receiver is a Kenwood TH-F6A, a commercially-available HT with a general coverage receiver that covers 80 meters. The PVC has a passive step attenuator mounted below an antenna box.
This photo gives a better view of the K8EHP antenna. It is a ferrite rod (enclosed in PVC) with a telescoping whip used as the sense antenna. A switch on the side of the metal project box engages the sense antenna.
The rig in the center of this photo is a Russian Altai 3,5. This is a commercially made rig built in Siberia and used throughout Russia and the former Soviet republics. It is seriously rugged and designed to be waterproof. It has a built-in rechargeable battery. Jen and I each used an Altai 3,5 for our 80 meter receivers.
This is Nadia Mayeva's magnetic loop receiver. I believe it is a Russian design and either built from a kit or homebrew.
This is Jay Hennigan WB6RDV's magnetic loop receiver. I believe this is a commercially-available Ukrainian receiver. Above it is a PRX-80 Pro (DL3BBX design) ferrite rod style receiver and a Fox-Finder 80 (WB8WFK design) magnetic loop antenna belonging to one of the competitors from Georgia.
The two black magnetic loop design receivers are Ukrainian (I think,) and I believe are commercially available there. Next to the left one is a very compact ferrite rod design receiver with a collapsible whip sense antenna. I don't really know anything about it.
Another instance of the Fox-Finder 80 (WB8WFK design) magnetic loop style receiver for eighty meters. Notice the handle attachment on the side of the case.
A Fox-Finder 80 (belonging to one of the competitors from Georgia) and an east European magnetic loop design receiver I've never seen before.
This is a Chinese "PJ-80" receiver. It is a ferrite rod design with a telescoping whip antenna (that flips around) for a sense antenna. It is a commercially available design in China, and can be bought for under $35 if you can find someone selling them in the U.S. As you can see by comparing it with the PRX-80 Pro (DL3BBX design) receivers nearby, the ferrite rod in the PJ-80 isn't as large and therefore isn't as sensitive. The case is also far less rugged.
Some of the competitors checking out the variety of gear for 80 meters on the impound tarp. The 80 meter competition was held at Mounds State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake near Brookville, Indiana. It was a 45 minute drive from Havighurst Hall, and we used another Orienteering Cincinnati map.
Charles Scharlau NZ0I, on the left, with Emil Mayeva. Charles would go on to win gold in the prestigious M21 class and Emil would win silver in the M19 class. They traveled from North Carolina to compete.
Some competitors lounging near the Miami University bus that brought us to Indiana for the 80 meter course. Even though this portion of Indiana does not follow daylight savings time, and was thus one hour earlier than Ohio, the meet was run on Ohio time.
Some of the volunteers getting ready at the start tent. The start is a three stage process. In the first five minutes you receive your gear from impound. In the next five minutes you walk up to the tent and receive your punch card, map, and (optional) clear plastic map bag. In the final five minutes, you walk up to the start triangle and start corridor (which cannot be seen from the competitors' waiting area.) You can turn your gear on when you are set off down the start corridor.
The competitors from Georgia all came with camp chairs. Each competitor was given a large trash bag that we could use to bring stuff with us (sandals, dry socks, bug repellent, cameras, camp chairs, duct tape, etc.) that would be transported from the start area to the finish after the last competitor was on course.
The Awards Banquet was held in the 1809 Room of the Shriver Center on the Miami University campus. Here, Jennifer Harker W5JEN receives her gold medal for IARU Region II, 80 meters, D21 category.
Jen also won a gold medal for "80 meters, D21 category, overall." As there were some competitors at the meet who were not eligible for the IARU Region II Championships (i.e. they were citizens of countries in IARU regions I or III) medals were also given out for overall standings in the meet.
Jennifer Harker W5JEN with her two gold medals. As far as I know, Jen is the first Texan to ever win a medal at a USA or IARU Region II championship.

Last Updated 22 November 2012
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