2018-04-29, Spring #3, Sprint and Foxoring
Carolina North Forest - West
Chapel Hill High School
Smith Middle School
Seasell Elementary School
Event Report

Island Creative Time
The family website of Kelly and Patrick Sears

We had a beautiful cool and sunny day for our first ever sprint ARDF. Perfect for running. ☺ Two families participated: two middle school students and four family members. We had two courses planned. There was a sprint for our experienced participants and a foxoring course for newcomers.

If you find a mistake or need some information changed, please let me know [ patrick (dot) r (dot) sears [at] gmail (dot) com ].


We had a new meeting area set in the center of the courses. It was at the south end of Chapel Hill High School, close to CNF. The homing beacon was set just across from our meeting place. The course area was about the size of the west side of CNF, the same as we use for our smaller classic events. But it used less than half of that area and extended over the three adjacent schools.

The foxoring course. We specifically designed the foxoring course for people learning ARDF for the first time. It made a loop around our meeting area and went into CNF and the schools. The course had four controls and a length of 1.8 km.

The sprint course. In the sprint course the slow foxes were all in CNF. The spectator control was about 20m east of our meeting place and we could easily see it the start. We used all our transmitters for the foxes and the homing beacon. So the homing beacon was also used to guide participants to the spectator. The fast foxes were all on the school campuses. A full sprint course went through the five slow foxes, the spectator, and the five fast foxes. But there were many enforced bends due to fences, closed fields, and buildings on the school campuses. Straight lines going through the full course and going around all these bends came to 3.6 km. The longest distance across the course was 1.3 km. There was a 150 m radial exclusion zone around each fox.

Participant Activities

Toby and his father Jason went out first, each doing their own courses. Toby opted to go for all the slow foxes before going for the spectator control. Fantastic! It was his first sprint and he handled it like a champ. It can be quite frustrating with the poles being so thin and the transmitters only being on for 12 seconds at a time. Fox 3 was particularly challenging. But he persevered and got them all. After this great effort, he came in running to the spectator. We talked for a bit and he decided to go back out to get some of the fast controls. Excellent! Jason took the more sober option we had recommended. He went for three slow and three fast. It was still quite a challenge. As he noted, metal structures around some of the foxes distorted the signals.

Rachel, Daniel, and their parents were newcomers. They started out with Patrick learning about orienteering maps on their way to finding the first foxoring control. They were quick learners. After finding fox #1, they declared they were ready to go on their own. And so they did. Super! They found all the other foxes and headed for the homing beacon. Great job!


#participants (school, grade)findstime
Course: Sprint - 5 slow + 2 fast
1 Toby (SMS-8) 1 2 3 4 5 S 1F 3F H 82'
Course: Sprint - 3 slow + 3 fast
1 Jason (f) 1 3 4 S 1F 3F 5F H 37'
Course: Foxoring
1 Rachel (CuMS-6), Daniel (f), Ms Choi (f), Mr Ko (f) 1 2 3 4 H 81'

The entries are listed first by chosen course. Those starting with the class group are listed at the end. Then entries are listed by the number of foxes found on that course and finally by the time on course. The # column gives the results placement for that course. The finds column notes the controls found: foxes 1 through 5 and H for the homing beacon. Foxes numbers in parentheses were not on the chosen course. The time column is the time on course. Students are listed with their school and grade. We use the following schools abbreviations: PMS Phillips MS, SMS Smith MS, McDMS McDougle MS, CMS Culbreth MS, CHHS Chapel Hill HS, ECHHS East Chapel Hill HS, CaHS Carrboro HS, f family or guest friend, es elementary school, s chccs student (no school info).

Course setting and equipment notes.

The code for the transmitters needs a bit of work. There was some overlap of transmissions. But it wasn't too bad. A much tougher problem for the newcomers was all the frequencies on the air. The fast foxes on the sprint course were transmitting on 3590 kHz while the foxoring transmitters where close on the colorburst frequency (3579 kHz). With the foxoring transmitters at such a low power, it was easy to have their transmissions masked if the frequency dial wasn't set in a good place. The direct conversion receivers have a zero on the tuned in frequency. You have to tune on either side to hear the signal. So you had to set the receiver to the side away from the fast foxes. It was easy to mistakenly set it on the wrong side while listening to a close foxo transmitter.

Since it was a sprint, the course area was smaller. This allowed us to use antennas with a 4 m vertical element instead of our usual 6 m ones. We would also have to place four foxoring controls for newcomers. But they're really easy to setup. So we figured this would be a break from doing the classic 80 m events. Nope. It was almost twice as much work. But seeing everyone having fun on the course made it super worth while. We're definitely going to put on sprints again. ☺

For the first time, we are proud to mention one of our participants in the equipment section. Toby is building! He recently finished soldering the audio section on a reciever kit. Outstanding!

Thank you to all our helpers.

Thanks to Charles and Nadia Scharlau who helped with control pickup. Pick up went so quickly with your help! Thanks to all the middle school and high school teachers and staff who helped get the word out to the students: Rachel Hopler (Science Teacher, Culbreth Middle School), Christine Lippy (Science Teacher, McDougle Middle School), Al McArthur (Technology Facilitator, Phillips Middle School), Haley Wamble (Science Teacher, East Chapel Hill High School), SaCola Lehr (Media Specialist, Chapel Hill High School), Libby Diesel (Library Assistant, Chapel Hill High School), Kara Watson (Media Specialist, Carrboro High School). Thanks to Greg Kopsch (Park Manager at Carolina North Forest) for the use of CNF.


Clicking pictures will bring up original full-sized versions. All participants are listed as seen in the picture from left to right. Pictures are generally listed in chronological order trying to keep groups together.

Jason and Kelly at the meeting area.

Mr Ko, Daniel. They are just heading out of CNF on their way to fox #3.

Ms Choi and Daniel. So close to fox #3! It's just on the other side of the bush behind Daniel.

Rachel, Daniel, Ms Choi, Mr Ko. Found fox #3 ☺ .

Charles, Patrick, Toby, Jason. At our meeting area. Toby and Jason are getting ready to go out.

Toby. Running in from CNF where the slow controls are. He's the only one to get every fox in CNF. Excellent!

Toby arriving back at the meeting place. [1]

Toby. Discussing the CNF foxes and deciding what to do next. [1]

Toby. Punching the homing beacon.

Jason. Punching the spectator control just before going on to fast foxes.

[1]. Thanks to Jason Reed for these pictures.

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