Amateur radio athletes in Region 2 are going through their final preparations ahead of the 2018 World Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championships in September. At least 30 IARU member societies are sending team to the event this year, which is hosted by the Korean Amateur Radio League (KARL) and will take place near the city of Sokcho, on Korea’s naturally beautiful east coast. The World Championships are organized by the IARU and held every two years. This year’s championships will feature four different races using both 3.5 MHz and 144 MHz bands. Athletes carry receivers with directional antennas to take bearings and use a topographic map and compass to find their way as they run through woods and fields in search of the low-power transmitters sending Morse code identification from omnidirectional antennas.

Two IARU member societies from Region 2 will be sending teams to the World Championships this year. The ARRL will be sending one of its largest ever teams, with 11 athletes. The team includes both men and women who will be competing in separate age and gender categories. This year’s team features athletes from six different US states whose ages range from 29 to 76. Those competing in older age categories will be searching for fewer transmitters on shorter courses. The United States took two bronze medals in the 2016 World Championships (one individual and one team medal) and are hoping to do well in Korea. The RAC will also be represented at the World Championships, with one competitor and a member of the International Jury. The Jury ensures that the competition rules are followed, observes the competitors during the race, hears protests or appeals, and certifies the results. All competitors will be practicing in the weeks remaining before the competition, honing their technical radio skills, getting practice in map reading, and of course training for cross-country running.

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Photo: Team USA from the 2016 ARDF World Championships in Bulgaria. Photo by Mindy Wright.