Active Radio Foxes in NTX: 3 -- RWK Fox #1 (RWK) -- Wheatly (RWK) -- Freddy the Fox (MARC)
North Texas Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF)
ARDF is a radio-sport enjoyed by people around the world. The sport encompasses a diverse set of interests and activities, including the following:
  • the design and construction of low-power radio transmitters and direction-finding equipment
  • the placement (hiding) of low-power radio transmitters in dispersed locations within a search area
  • the use of radio direction-finding equipment to locate the previously hidden transmitters
  • the training of radio amateurs to plan, organize, and conduct relevant sport and social events
ARDF is divided into two distinctly different approaches to the sport: (1) Fox Hunting, and (2) Radio Orienteering.

FOX HUNTING
RADIO ORIENTEERING

Fox hunting (also known as T-hunting, bunny hunting, and bunny chasing), is an informal, loosely-structured activity where participants use their radio equipment (often home-brew or improvised) to locate one or more radio transmitters hidden within a designated search area.

Fox hunting is pursued in several different popular formats, specificed by the hunt organizers, including from vehicles and while on foot. Before each fox hunt, participants are informed of the frequencies on which the transmitters will be operating, the boundaries of the search area, and any general "rules of the hunt". Fox hunters, frequently referred to as "hounds", use radio-direction finding techniques to determine the likely direction and distance to the hidden transmitter from several different locations, and then triangulate the probable location of the transmitter. Some hunts may include limits on the amount of time allowed to find a transmitter. Although many fox hunts are conducted just for the fun of the activity, some more competitive hunts will recognize winners in publications and offer awards, such as trophies or a "winner's purse". Many fox hunts culminate in a group social event or luncheon at a nearby eatery.

Radio Orienteering is a much more formal and well-structured radio-sport activity that blends the skill sets for locating hidden radio transmitters with the prowess to read maps while at the same time quickly running between the locations where the transmitters are hidden. The rules of the sport and international competitions are organized by the International Amateur Radio Union.

Radio Orienteering uses maps designed to International Orienteering Federation (IOF) standards. However, only the start and finish points are shown on the maps. The event organizers place the radio transmitters anywhere within the search area. The event participants use specialized directional radio antennas and receivers to locate the controls and then return to the finish point. At the most difficult level, competitors have 5 transmitters to find, and also must choose what order to take them in. Transmitters are marked with regular Orienteering Control Markers and participants use a finger-stick to check in and record their times. Winners in Radio Orienteering are based on their total number of transmitters found within the allowed time as well as their total time to locate them.


CURRENT NTX FOX HUNTING EVENTS
RECENT NTX RADIO ORIENTEERING EVENTS
  • White Rock Lake ARC: Three VHF radio foxes (Rocky, Bullwinkle, and Boris), one UHF radio fox (Natasha), and one 80m fox (Mister Peabody) within 1.5 miles of the shore of White Rock Lake on the east side of Dallas TX. Conducted the first and third Saturday/Sunday of each month. Next Hunt: June 15. Link for Hunt Details: WRL ARC
  • Richardson Wireless Klub - Wheatly: So named because he features Wheatley from Portal2 (the voice of Stephen Merchant), he was built by K5CG and has become a dependable and wily Fox. He can be found on 433.250MHz and mostly is in Richardson, but occasionally ventures north. Next Hunt: June 8/9. Link for Hunt Details: RWK - Wheatly the Fox
  • Richardson Wireless Klub - Fox #1: One VHF radio fox, out weekends. Built by KE5GDB and modified by KD4C. He is big and powerful and is always found on 144.500MHz. Link for Hunt Details: RWK - Fox #1
  • McKinney Amateur Radio Club - Freddie the Fox: One UHF radio fox, out weekends. Visible from the vehicle, but not necessarily vehicle accessible. Next Hunt: June 8/9. Link for Hunt Details: MARC - Freddy the Fox
  • USA Radio Orienteering Championships 2023: The 22nd USA Radio Orienteering Championships were recently held April 19-23, 2023 at Cooper Lake State Park, near Sulphur Springs TX (north east of Dallas). April 19th was set aside for radio direction-finding training and practice. Results of the competitions on April 20-23 were used to determine the members of Team USA who will compete in the Radio Orienteering World Championships scheduled for the fall of 2023 in Liberec, Czech Republic.

    Gerald Boyd, WB8WFK, the event's director, requested the WRL ARC coordinate local ham radio support for this national competitive event. The following hams helped support the event:
    • KG5VSR, David Ricker
    • W5JMW, John Webb
    • KF5PFP, John Cheyney
    • W5WXY, Randy Durham
    • KI5WZZ , Alberto Boisse
    • KI5GBU, Shane Outlaw
    • KI5LET, Topp Robertson
    • NT5TM, Anthony Mendina
    • K5YR, Dave Catlett