Ken Harker WM5R
Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF)

Many ARDF Receivers
A variety of 80M ARDF receivers at the second IARU Region II ARDF Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I love radiosport. In addition to radio contesting, I have become active in Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF). ARDF is a map-and-compass sport that includes using handheld radio receivers and directional antennas to locate radio transmitters in diverse, wooded terrain. As an Amateur Radio operator, and an active orienteer, ARDF is a natural fit to my interests.

My current gear for 144 MHz is a three-element WB2HOL design yagi with a VK3YNG Foxhunt Sniffer Mk4 receiver. I use a pair of very basic Sony MDR-101LP headphones. On 3.5 MHz, I am using an Altai 3,5, a receiver manufactured in Siberia in 1991. Although not everyone likes them, I've decided that I really don't mind the heavy, high-impedance headphones that come with the radio. In addition to the radio gear, I run with TrekLite Ally Zips gaiters and a Suunto Arrow 5 thumb compass, both of which I use to compete in orienteering.

My wife and I have been to three USA ARDF Championships, two of which were also designated IARU Region II ARDF Championships. We are eager to develop the sport at home in Texas, and have joined forces with fellow enthusiasts in the Houston area to form a Texas ARDF group to host local meets and perhaps eventually host a USA or IARU Region II championships.

I am the webmaster for the IARU Region II ARDF website, which supports the work of the IARU Region II ARDF Working Group in organizing and increasing ARDF activities in the Americas.

ARDF Organizations

  • Texas ARDF
    ARDF is just getting started in Texas. Look for announcements of upcoming competitions in the Austin and Houston areas.

  • ARDF in the USA
    Read about USA national championships, Team USA at the World Championships, and a lot more about the growing sport of ARDF in the United States.

  • IARU Region II ARDF
    The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) represents the interests of Amateur Radio operators worldwide, and is the international organizing body for ARDF.

ARDF Photos

2005 IARU Region II ARDF Championships
Jen and I competed in the Third IARU Region II ARDF Championships held August 1-6, 2005, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Jen took home the gold in both the two meter and the eighty meter D21 categories.
2004 ARDF Yagis
This year, Jen W5JEN and I built or rebuilt tape measure yagis for ARDF. I reused the PVC in my old tape measure yagi, added 5" to the rear of the boom, and used PVC pipe hangers to mount a plexiglass plate for the receiver. Jen built a new tape-measure yagi, using a modified fishing rod with a cork grip for the boom. The boom-to-element brackets were quarter-round wood trim, notched and epoxied onto the fishing pole. Her yagi is noticably lighter than mine.
2003 IARU Region II ARDF Championships
In the summer of 2003, Jen W5JEN and I represented the state of Texas at the 2003 IARU Region II ARDF Championships held in the woods of the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Jen won gold in the 80 meter, D21 category!
2002 USA ARDF/Radio Orienteering Championships
In the spring of 2002, Jen Sims W5JEN and I represented the state of Texas at the 2002 USA ARDF/Radio Orienteering Championships near Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Last Updated 14 April 2016