July 17, 2024 Donate

Chelsea, Dexter, Saline

USA Radio Orienteering Championship Coming in October

Community News 

Parks surrounding Chelsea, Dexter, Pinckney, and Brighton, Michigan will be venues of competition for the 23rd USA Radio Orienteering Championship to be held October 5th through the 13th, 2024. 

Radio Orienteering, also known as Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF), is a multi-skill sport that involves running and navigating using only a map and compass (orienteering) while using a hand-held radio receiver and antenna to locate multiple transmitters hidden in a forest. The sport has direct application to important activities such as search and rescue, wildlife tracking, airborne and seaborne navigation, and communications. 

Competition will involve hilly terrain, intricate navigation challenges, and elite-level orienteering racing, but anyone who is a beginner will be happy to know that coaching, practices, race events, a training camp, and equipment rentals will also be offered during the competition week for those who would like to get started. Race formats include Sprint, Foxoring, 144 MHz Classic, and 3.5 MHz Classic events. 

Competition venues include Waterloo State Recreation Area, Hudson Mills MetroPark, and Brighton State Recreation Area. A training camp at Pinckney State Recreation Area and two local practice events with mentors will also be offered in the days leading up to the races for anyone who is a beginner or wants to improve their skills. The training camp will be held October 5th & 6th, practice events will be held on October 8th and 9th, and the championship races will be held October 10th through the 13th. 

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Southern Michigan Orienteering Club (SMOC), and local amateur radio clubs are organizing the event. Lyndon Township’s Joseph Burkhead who serves on the ARRL’s Radio Orienteering Committee is the Event Director for the championship. Joe is a 2018 World ARDF Championship bronze medalist, USA M40 national champion in the 144 MHz Classic, and also competed for Armed Forces Orienteering Team USA at the 2013 World Military Orienteering Championship. 

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) also sanctioned the championship to dually-function as the IARU’s Region 2 (Americas) Championship. This means that in addition to attracting competitors to the local area from multiple states across the country, organizers are also expecting international competitors hailing from Canada, Australia, China, and Europe. 

To highlight the important civic and humanitarian applications of radio transmitter hunting the organizers are also planning a search and rescue team exhibition contest. Search and rescue teams from across the area will be invited to compete in a distress beacon hunt while conducting land navigation and other search and rescue tasks. 

National championship medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each class of competition including junior, elite, and masters age classes. Multiple social gatherings, outings, an amateur radio guest speaker, and an awards ceremony are also planned for the championship week. 

Whether new or experienced, young or senior, all are welcome to compete. Regular registration is open until August 15th. For additional information and the registration link, visit www.radioorienteeringchamps.us. You can also follow the event’s social media page at www.facebook.com/2024USradioO, or contact the organizers at radioO2024@gmail.com.