Sunday, August 29, 2010

Few questions to Nick Roethe, new member of the Team Canada in ARDF

When did you start doing ARDF? Who introduced you into ARDF?
"Since I was a kid I have been an active homebrewer, always looking for things to build or improve. Six years ago at a ham-fair I bought a PLL-circuit and thought 'this would be nice for a portable radio or maybe ARDF receiver'. So I read a book on foxhunting, built what I thought was a good receiver, and, to try it out, went to my first foxhunt. It was a desaster! But it was also fun and I got a lot of encouragement from experienced ARDFers, so I stuck with it and gradually improved my equipment and my technique. From the beginning I published all my ARDF designs on the Internet, and they are now very popular homebrew projects in Europe."

Why do you like doing ARDF?
"I like building things. I like being in the nature. I love the excitement of searching and finding hidden transmitters. And it is always fun to spend time with other ARDFers, because they are as crazy as I am."

As a team Canada member what experience do you expect from upcoming World ARDF Championship in Croatia?
"I feel very honored that I have been invited to be a member of Team Canada. Realistically I have no chance to get close to a medal. So I see this more as a social event, a chance to meet old friends from all over the world and to make new ones. This is my first World Championship, so I am very much looking forward to the experience. And although I will not be world champion, I will definitely challenge my American friends and my German training partners."

                                                                By Amel Krdzalic - VA7KBA

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Program of the 15th World ARDF Championship

13 September, Monday – Arrival, Accommodation, Registration;

14 September, Tuesday – Training on both bands, 1st ARDF World Championships for the BlindOfficial opening;

15 September, Wednesday– First competition, Awarding;

16 September, Thursday– Day off, Excursion;

17 September, Friday – Second competition, Awarding, Closing ceremony and banquet;

18 September, Saturday – Departure.

List of countries taking a part in the 15th World ARDF Championship growing!

Till 27th July organizer has received OFFICIAL APPLICATION from the following countries:

Australia (WIA), Austria (OEVSV), Belarus(BLR), Belgium (UBA), Bosnia & Herzegovina (ARABIH), Canada (RAC), China (CRSA), Croatia (HRS), Denmark (EDR), Estonia (ERAU), France (REF), Germany (DARC), Japan (JARL), Kazakhstan (KFRR), Korea (KARL), Netherlands (VERON), Norway (NRRL), Slovenia (ZRS), Spain (URE), Sweden (SSA), UK (RSGB), Ukraine (UARL) and USA (ARRL).

Amateur Radio Direction Finding - by G. D. (Joe) Young, VE7BFK


Amateur radio direction finding (ARDF)—also called Radio Orienteering, foxhunting, or transmitter hunting—can take many forms. The game described here has been standardized and fostered by the International Amateur Radio Union since about 1978. The object is to locate and visit on foot each of up to five transmitters concealed in a wooded area in as short a time as possible by using a directional receiver to obtain bearings to the transmitters. The transmitters (foxes) all transmit on the same frequency, but take turns transmitting a unique signal for one minute and are silent for 4 minutes while the others transmit.

The skills needed to succeed include obtaining accurate bearings with the receiving gear, navigating through the wooded area using map and compass, and devising a strategy to visit the required sites in the minimum time.

Course layout, rules

See Figure 1 for a (schematic) course layout. The hidden transmitters, foxes, will be located so that the associated marker flag (control) can be seen when the hunter is within about 3m of the transmitter; they will be at least 400m apart; no fox will be nearer than 750m from the start. A homing beacon on a different frequency from the foxes is located at the entrance to the finish corridor.

Each fox will transmit a signal with a unique pattern that identifies which transmitter it is. The standard patterns are incidentally slow Morse code characters, but you do not need to know that to understand which fox is on. The signals have two long (dashes), three long (dashes), then followed either by one short (dot), two short, three short, four short, or five shorts to indicate fox 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 respectively. In addition to the transmitted patterns, a fox can also be identified by the time it is on: fox 1 transmits in minute 1, fox 2 in minute 2, and so on. The beacon transmitter sends two long, three long, continuously. Finally, to comply with radio regulations, the transmitters will also send an amateur radio call sign in rapid morse code at the beginning of each transmission.

Prior to any competitor being on the course or starting of the foxes, it is usual to gather the receivers in a quarantine area near the start. When there are many competitors, they will be divided into groups of 3 to 10 and the groups start at 5 minute intervals to spread competitors out in time. A few minutes before the start, the competitors will receive a map of the area and any last-minute info about the course and will pick up their receiver from the quarantine. The receivers must remain turned off while awaiting start.

The hunter will leave the start position when instructed to do so, go to the end of the marked start corridor (about 100m long), turn on the receiver after passing the end of the corridor and begin to locate the foxes. At each fox, the hunter will punch his score card with that fox's unique punch to prove having visited that fox. After locating all the foxes required, or as many of them as there is time for, the hunter exits the course via the marked finish corridor.

The time elapsed from leaving the start position until reaching the finish line is recorded along with the number of transmitters successfully located to determine the hunter's standing with respect to others in his category. The standing is first among those finding all of the required foxes in the shortest time, then among those finding one fewer fox, etc. Those not returning to the finish within the maximum time limit (2 hours, typically) are disqualified.

To be continued ... Receivers ...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nick Roethe has joined the Team Canada in ARDF

Nick was born in Montreal in 1953. He lives in Germany since he was 5 years old, became an electrical engineer and worked for IBM in Germany and USA for many years. He enjoys hiking and rock climbing, and he is an active ham with special focus on ARDF. Nick today lives in Southwest-Germany, where Mercedes and Porsche cars come from. He has close relatives in Vancouver and has been there many times.

Nick participates in dozens of foxhunts every year, mainly in Germany, but also in other European countries. He has attended the last two Region 2 championships and won 3 first places. In this years German championship he finished second on 80m. Nick makes high quality ARDF receivers for both 2m and 80m bands. Just at the last German Championships in August 2010 receivers made by him won total of 6 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals! Nick is going to represent Canada in M50 Category in upcoming World ARDF Championship in Croatia.

Welcome Nick!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Meet the Team - John MacConnachie - VE7GED

John is a member of the Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada and has participated in ARDF competitions hosted by that organization since 1993. He has also been involved in hosting regular practice/demo ARDF sessions in Victoria BC since that time to the present. He is also a reigning ARDF champion from the last Friendship Amateur Radio Games 2008 held in Portland, OR, USA, in category M50.

Past major results:

2008, Friendship Amateur Radio Games ARDF Championship, M50, 1st place individual (2m band), 1st place Team Canada (2m band)
2001, Friendship Radio Games ARDF competition - organizer of the event.
1999, IARU region II and FRG99 combined ARDF competition; 1st place Team VHF OT men, 3rd place Team 80m band.
1997, Friendship Radio Games ARDF competition
1995, Friendship Radio Games ARDF competition, 2m band, 3rd place Team Canada.
1993, Friendship Radio Games ARDF competition, 2m band, 3rd place Team Canada.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Few questions to Amel VA7KBA (by Matthew VE7UDP)

Every few weekends, enthusiasts from around Greater Vancouver (British Columbia) converge in local parks to sharpen their radio orienteering skills by hunting down hidden radio transmitters, and Amel is always one of them. To Amel VA7KBA, fox hunting is a sport that challenges the mind and body. Amel started hidden radio finding in his youth in his home country of Bosnia. Amel wanted to share his passion and his skills so he recently formed an ARDF group BCRadioSport whose mission is to promote the sport and develop radio direction finding skills in BC. He was heading to Victoria to do practice with the FARS Canada group there but wanted to see more people in the Lower Mainland pursuing the hobby.

1. When did you start doing ARDF? Who introduced you into ARDF?
"I started fox-hunting when I was seven. My father Almas (E71W, ex.T91W, 4N4DA, 4N4WF, YU4DA) took me to the national ARDF YU competition in 1979. He gave me an 80m sniffer and said I was going to compete, and then explained how the hunt was supposed to be done. I found all 3 foxes and finished 7th although I was the youngest competitor in that category."

2. Why do you like doing ARDF?
"Technology is one of my passions. I like being around technology. I also like being outdoors. What better way to do both things at the same time?”. “Each fox hunt is a new experience, hiding stations is different – each hiding spot has unique challenges and there’s always something new to learn. Also social aspect – meeting other people while playing with technology is very important to me too”.

3. As a team Canada member what experience do you expect from upcoming World ARDF Championship in Croatia?
"Meeting friends and people from all over the world. Gathering information on how to organize a big ARDF competition (Vancouver will be host in 2013 for IARU Region II ARDF Championship). Competing and doing my best to represent the country."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meet the Team - Amel Krdzalic -VA7KBA

Amel was a national champion of Bosnia and Herzegovina and national champion of ex.Yugoslavia in multiple categories, as an individual and in team competitions. He is also a reigning ARDF champion from the last Friendship Amateur Radio Games 2008 held in Portland, OR, USA, in category M21. He is an active promoter and teacher of radio direction finding skills in Vancouver BC area. He’s been recognized by many local radio amateur clubs for organization of BCRadioSport group, whose mission is to promote the sport and develop RDF skills. He is a member of the Burnaby Amateur Radio Club (VE7BAR) and Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada.

Past major results:
2008, Friendship Amateur Radio Games ARDF Championship, M21, 1st place individual (2m band), 1st place Team Canada (2m band)

(No competitions between 1992 and 2007)

1991, Bosnian Amateur Radio Association ARDF Championship, M21, 1st place (80m band)
1988, Bosnian Amateur Radio Association ARDF Championship, M21, 2st place (80m band)
1987, YU Amateur Radio Association ARDF Championship, M17, 1st place (2m band)
1987, Bosnian Amateur Radio Association ARDF Championship, M17, 1st place individual (80m band), 1st place Team YU4FRS (80m band)
1984, Bosnian Amateur Radio Association ARDF Championship, Age 7-14, 1st place (80m band)
1983, Bosnian Amateur Radio Association ARDF Championship, Age 7-14,2st place individual (80m band), 1st place Team YU4FRS (80m band)
1979, YU Amateur Radio Association ARDF Championship, Age 7-14, 7st place individual (80m band)

Few questions to Les VA7OM (by Amel VA7KBA)

Last year, about this time, during the SARC fox hunt in Surrey, I met Les. He came and introduced himself to everybody. He was asking about fox-hunting gear and I could "smell" someone who used to do the fox-hunting in the past. He tried VK3YNG MK4 (2m band) receiver. I didn't see him for a while until beginning of this year when he visited our another fox-hunt event. He showed even more interest in what BCRadioSport has been doing in Lower Mainland, BC. Les lives in Maple Ridge and belongs to the local radio club. He was so enthusiastic as he started talking about how he built 80m receiver, a prototype and how he wanted to try it. At that moment it was clear that Les was the person to recruit for not only the BCRadioSport mission but also for Team Canada which was just forming for the 15th ARDF World Championship. I asked him to join us and he accepted it. I am so glad Les is member of the team as he has shown (even after so many years not competing) that he is still a true champion. He is a super nice guy, very approachable and with excellent technical knowledge.

Recently I asked Les a few questions:

1. When did you start doing ARDF? Who introduced you into ARDF?
"In 1966/67. First I became interested when I saw an article in a magazine about fox hunting. It was in my native Slovakia. I was then 15 years old. But I learned the sport later when I joined the local radioclub OK3KTP in 1966. The radioclub was preparing a local 80m foxhunting competition. I joined the foxhunt with a borrowed receiver. The receiver was not working properly, I heard only one fox and could not find the direction as the sensing antenna was not working. That time I decided that I will build a better receiver."

2. Why do you like doing ARDF?
"I like ARDF because it is challenging – requires constant improvement of receivers, tactics, physical condition, work with maps, as well as building transmitting equipment and antennas. Doing ARDF I meet lots of new friends that have the same hobby. In Slovakia after first two courses (80m and 2m) we were running the third course – drinking contest and partying, and there we had lots of fun."

3. As a team Canada member what experience do you expect from upcoming World ARDF Championship in Croatia ?
"I hope to find all 3 foxes in my category and get back within the time limit. The competition will be very strong so I expect to end-up somewhere in the second half. I am looking forward to see some of my old friends that we were competing together as well as to meet new ones. I hope that this is better. I am working on my new 80m receiver and hopefully will finish it for the Victoria foxhunt."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meet the Team - Les Tocko - VA7OM

Les was a Czechoslovakian and European champion in multiple categories, as an individual and in team competitions. He is also an active promoter and teacher of Radio Direction Finding skills in Maple Ridge BC area. His excellent technical building skills have produced high quality equipment for radio direction finding. Les will be competing in M60 category.

Past results:
(No competitions between 1975 and present)

1974, Czechoslovakian National Competition, 2m, 1st place.
1973, Czechoslovakian Regional Competition, 80m 1st place, 2m 3rd place
1973, Czechoslovakian National Championship, 80m 1st place
1973, European Championship, Hungary, groups, 80m 1st place
1972, Czechoslovakian Regional Competition, 2m 3rd place
1972, Czechoslovakian National Competition, 80m 10th place, 2m 1st place
1972, Slovakian Championship, 80m 5th place, 2m 1st place.
1971, Czechoslovakian National Competition, 80m 10th place, 2m 2nd place
1971, Czechoslovakian National Competition,80m 1st place, 2m 1st place
1971, Czechoslovakian National Championship, 80m 3rd place, 2m 2nd place
1970, Czechoslovakian Regional Competition, 80m 1st place, 2m 3rd place
1970, Czechoslovakian Regional Competition, 80m 5th place, 2m 2nd place
1970, Czechoslovakian National Competition, 80m 1st place, 2m 7th place
1970, International Competition Germany – groups, 80m 2nd place, 2m 3rd place
1969, Czechoslovakian Regional Competition, Brno, 80m 3rd place
1969, Czechoslovakian National Competition, 80m 3rd place, 2m 7th place
1969, International Competition, Austria, 2m 12th place
1968, Czechoslovakian National Competition, 80m 4th place, 2m 5th place
1967, Czechoslovakian Regional Competition, 80m 2nd place
1967, Third Czechoslovakian National Competition, 80m 7th place

Meet the Team - Valeri Geuorguiev - VE2UMS

Valeri has been active in the Montreal Amateur Radio club (VE2UMS). He has increased ARDF activities recently by contributing a design for a 2m ARDF receiver that was then constructed as a club project so that there are now a couple dozen equipped to participate in ARDF. Valeri will be representing Canada in M50 category.

Past results:
2010, 10th USA ARDF, International Category M50, 2m band, 3rd place.
2010, 10th USA ARDF, International Cat M50, 80m band, 2nd place.
2009, 9th USA ARDF & 5th IARU Region 2 ARDF, Cat M40, 2m band, 7th place
2008, 8th USA ARDF, International Cat M40, 2m band, 1st place
2008, 8th USA ARDF, International Cat M40, 80m band, 4st place
1977, First European ARDF, Scopje, ex.Yugoslavia, 80m band, 5th place
1976, Bulgarian National ARDF, 80m band, 2nd place
1976, Bulgarian National ARDF, 2m band, 2nd place

The ARDF 2010 Championships - Venue

The Championships will be held in Opatija, situated at Adriatic Sea coast, 12 km west of Rijeka and 170 km west of Zagreb, capital town Republic of Croatia.

Opatija, often called the Pearl of the Adriatic, is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Croatia and has the longest tourist tradition on the Adriatic Sea. As early as 1883, Opatija was known as a favorite destination for high society and famous artists from all over the world who came to Opatija to find new energy in this unique landscape.

The 15th World ARDF Championship, Croatia, 13-18 Sept. 2010


A small team of five people representing Canada, four from BC, will travel to Croatia to compete in the ARDF, in September 2010.

ARDF - Amateur Radio Direction Finding (also called Radio Orienteering or fox-hunting).

This is the first time Canada is participating at the World Stage ARDF competitions.

We started this blog to inform you about this important event and to keep you up-to-date with Team Canada day to day activities. We are also on Facebook and on Twitter. Stay tuned.

73's - Amel - VA7KBA