Fifteen top US on-foot hidden transmitter hunters are packing their bags to join more than 400 other competitors from 39 nations taking part in the 18th World Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championships in the Black Sea resort of Albena, Bulgaria. Competitors are divided into six age categories for males and five for females, in accordance with International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) rules for ARDF competition. Team USA includes nine men and six women from six states. Ranging in age from 26 to 74, they won their places on the team by their excellent performances in the 2016 USA ARDF Championships in Texas and the 2015 USA ARDF Championships in Colorado.
“This is the 10th time that the US has fielded a team for the World Championships, which take place in even-numbered years in various countries,” said ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV. “The last time that Bulgaria hosted was in 2006, when Team USA won its first World Championships medal.” That year, Nadia Scharlau of North Carolina captured bronze in the 80 meter classic event, which required her to find four transmitters scattered within 2700 acres of forest.
Competition in Bulgaria gets under way on August 30 with the 80 meter classic ARDF World Cup event, an optional competition for individuals. Five members of Team USA will participate. World Cup events over the next 3 days (2 meter classic, sprint and foxoring) serve as world-class training and an opportunity for individual medals.
World Cup competitors get a day of rest on Saturday, September 3, as the remaining World Championships participants arrive. The following day is devoted to foxoring, the first official World Championships event. Participants in all events seek medals both as individuals and as members of national teams, which are limited to three participants per age/gender category from each country.
The World Championships continue with the sprint on Monday, September 5, and classic events on Tuesday and Thursday; Wednesday is set aside as a free day and cultural tour, offering a break between the classics. Banquets and medal award ceremonies follow each day’s competition, and everyone goes home on Friday, September 9.
Moell said Team USA’s best year to date was 2012 in central Serbia, when the US fielded 13 competitors. Six of them collected a total of 13 medals in the World Cup and World Championships that year.
The latest information on how Team USA is faring in Bulgaria will be posted on Moell’s “Homing In” website. Details on the 18th World Amateur Radio Direction Finding Championships are on the World ARDF Championships website.
The Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs (BFRA) is hosting the event. The Bulgarian seaside has been the host of previous international ARDF competitions, and this year’s event organizers say they have chosen new areas where ARDF competitions have not taken place in the past.
Visit the Homing In website of ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, for more information on ARDF.