ARDF Information for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
- Latest update: 2020-01-19 -
This page contains general information that applies to most CHCCS ARDF events.
For information about specific events, make sure to check
the main CHCCS ARDF home page.
Back to CHCCS ARDF home.
What is ARDF?
ARDF is Amateur Radio Direction Finding.
Also known as radio orienteering (Radio-O) and on-foot foxhunting.
It is a sport in which low power radio transmitters are placed in the woods and competitors use directional radio receivers, a map, and a compass to find the transmitters.
Why is ARDF so great?
It is the most incredible geeky sport in the world!
It's an activity like no other.
- out in nature
- doing sports
- solving complex problems involving route planning in space and time
- gaining technical expertise handling the receiver, map, and compass
What exactly will happen at a CHCCS event?
We'll have a meeting place where we all gather for the event.
When you first show up, you don't need to bring anything or know anything about ARDF.
We'll provide all the equipment and teach you how to use it.
What specifically will happen depends on the type of event we're running that day.
A standard event go as follows.
You will drive to our event, usually at Carolina North Forest in Chapel Hill.
As you drive in, follow the orange and white ARDF signs to our meeting place.
When you show up at the meeting place, you'll sign in with Kelly and get some equipment.
If you're experienced, you can go out on the course as soon as you get your equipment.
Then we'll tell you all about the event
and teach you how to use the equipment.
You will learn about orienteering, map reading, compass work, and radio direction finding.
You will learn all this with equipment in hand, trying it out as you go.
Then you will go on the course.
Newcomers usually start as a group with Patrick and search for the transmitters together.
If you feel comfortable, you can go off on your own.
Or you can stay with the group the entire time.
It's totally up to you.
There is a 2 hour time limit on the course.
- After you finish, you'll come back to our main meeting place
where there is always a lively post-hunt discussion.
Who can participate?
All middle and high school students and their families are invited.
Participants can go out individually or in groups.
Those that don't feel comfortable alone in the woods can go with one of us.
Parents and other family members are totally welcome to participate.
For older students, this can be either an exciting competitive event or just a fun new way to spend time in the woods.
For younger students, it's a great introduction to being out in nature with family and a fun activity.
Registration and receiver reservation.
We have a registration page where you can reserve a receivers:
(reservation page link).
Or you can just send Kelly an email telling her who is coming and how many receivers you will need.
You will get an email back soon to confirm the reservation.
For questions or problems in registering, email Kelly Sears
(ksears [at] chccs.k12.nc.us)
What should I bring to an ARDF event?
A smile : )
We provide a whistle, a compass, and earphones.
But if you have any of these, you will want to bring your own.
A cell phone is a good idea.
Some people like a board to hold their map, others go without.
Some people bring bug repellent.
A call for volunteers!
Sporting events are a huge amount of work to put on.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Volunteers could help with the setup, at the starting line, at the finish line, on the course, and with cleanup.
Email Kelly Sears
(ksears [at] chccs.k12.nc.us)
to let us know you would like to help.
The more help we get, the more events we'll be able to plan.
Donations are super appreciated : )
We have a donations box at our meeting place.
It's usually on the main table or close by.
All donations go to the Smith Middle School ARDF Club.
The 80m receivers cost about $41 each.
The 2m receivers cost over $100.
They break and need to be fixed or replaced.
If you break one, no worries!
You can't go running in the woods with complex equipment and never break anything; it's part of the sport.
There are also batteries, maps, flagging tape, etc.
We used to rent the receivers to pay for them, for repairs, batteries, etc.
Thank you so much to all who came to those early events.
You made it possible for us to get started.
Since the end of 2018 we've gone to just donations.
People have been so generous that we've been able to keep it all going.
Thank you, thank you, thank you : )
Worried about performance or expertise needed?
If you don't feel like running, walk the course and you'll still have a great time.
If you're not sure about the skills needed; don't worry,
we'll teach you.
And every time you participate, you'll get better.
So just get out there now and have fun.
Where to look for information about school ARDF events.
The CHCCS ARDF information is mostly hosted on the islandcreativetime web site.
It's the family web site of Kelly and Patrick Sears. The main places to look are as follows:
Other ARDF opportunities.
The Backwoods Orienteering Klub (BOK) holds several ARDF events a year in the Triangle area (they really do spell Klub with a K).
See the BOK site for announcements.
The USA National Championships are held every year.
Anyone can enter - Super exciting!
Be on the course at the same time as the best ARDFers in the world.
We always have competitors who travel from other countries; most commonly from Canada, Germany, Ukraine, and China.
Championships have been held in California, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Colorado, Ohio.
They are a ton of fun.
At the 2019 Championships, we even had a CHCCS student! Very cool : )
The Region-2 Championships are held on odd years, usually together with the USA Championships for that year.
Region-2 is comprised of North and South America.
On even years, the Wold Championships are held and the USA has sent a teams since 1998.
For more information about ARDF in general...
Some good YouTube videos about ARDF...
Video from ardf.club.
The first 1'30" are just fun and a bit corny.
But the rest of the video is the best introduction to ARDF we've seen.
Andrew Soltysik video.
There are two radio bands used in ARDF, 80 meters (3.5 MHz) and 2 meters (144 MHz).
They have quite different characteristics.
The video describes 2m ARDF but gives a good feeling for what it's like to run any classic ARDF course.
We run all four types of ARDF events for CHCCS (80m classic, 2m classic, foxoring, sprint).
Most of our CHCCS events are 80m classic.
Hope to see you there!