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Event Information

2012 USA ARDF Championships

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Wednesday and Thursday, May 30 - 31

While not an official part of the competition, a two-day "training camp" will be held to practice the various aspects of ARDF.  Practice will concentrate on determining reliable bearings, interpreting reflected signals, probable control locations, course strategies, route choices, and other essentials for doing well. This training is open to anyone who will be participating in the Championships. You may participate on either or both days.  Fee for the training, which covers maps and other expenses, is $10 for one day and $15 for both days, payable at the site.  The training venues do not include the competition areas.

The first training event will begin at 9:00 AM each day, starting from the lodge (see below).  Wednesday morning will be a full course on two meters, followed by informal training at Burnt Rancheria campground.  Thursday morning will be a full course on 80 meters, followed by a tri-tip barbecue at 12:45 PM and the foxoring session at 3 PM.

Friday, June 1

The championships will officially start today with competitors checking in at Event Headquarters (Laguna Mountain Lodge, see below) and receiving their information packets.  Some 2M and 80M transmitters will be on the air for equipment checkout from noon to 2 PM (the Model Event). 

The ARDF Sprint competition will take place on Friday afternoon, leaving from the lodge at 3 PM.

There will be a meeting of all non-competing volunteers with the Meet Director at a time and location to be announced.

There will be a very important competitor briefing Friday evening at 7:30 PM in the lodge meeting room.  This will be the official opening of the competition.  Introductions will be made and competitors will get a chance to make new friends and renew old acquaintances.  Topics to be covered include:

Rules and what to expect during each competition
Review of the starting process
Safety in the forest and emergency calling information
Makeup of the jury
Information on meals for competition days
Time limits for the courses
Maps and directions to competition start locations
Any other information that needs to be disseminated
Question and answer session
Announcement and posting of the starting order for each day
Numbered bibs and safety pins handed out to contestants

It is important that every competitor, observer and volunteer attends this meeting.  Please contact Marvin KE6HTS in advance if you cannot attend.

Saturday, June 2

The moment of truth has arrived -- today will be the 2M competition.

Everyone will gather in front of the lodge at 8:30 AM.  Be prompt so that the group can head for the undisclosed starting location at 8:45 AM.  The competition (first runner off the line) will start about 9:30 AM.  

After all competitors have reached the finish, the jury will meet to certify the results.  The remainder of the afternoon is lunch (bring your own) and free time.

Saturday evening is the official banquet and awards ceremony at the Pine House Cafe and Tavern in Mt. Laguna Village, starting at 6:30 PM.  We expect VIP guests from the American Radio Relay League to be in attendance.  Medals for the 2M event will be presented.

Banquet menu

Sunday, June 3

Today will be the 80M competition.

We will meet and leave for the start at the same time as Saturday, to start the course at the same time.  Typically, the 80M times are a bit faster than the 2M times.  The competition should be over by 1:00 PM, after which the jury will meet. Then an awards ceremony will take place to present medals.  Marked maps will be given out.  The championships will officially end at this time, expected to be about 2 PM.  .

Rules and Technical Information

General ARDF Rules

Because no official ARDF rules exist for IARU Region 2, these Championships will follow the current Region I ARDF rules. Any exceptions to those rules that are not stated on this page will be announced at the event briefing and/or in the starting area before the competitions.

Competition Site Embargo Now In Effect

Laguna Mountain and surrounding areas are presently under embargo for ARDF, meaning that if you plan to participate in the championships, you may not enter the forested areas there until the first competition day.  This embargo prevents anyone from having an unfair advantage in the competition by virtue of having been in these woods recently.  The embargoed area includes all of the Descanso Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest that is north of Interstate 8 and east of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  The entire Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is also embargoed.  Public highways and towns such as Pine Valley and Mt. Laguna village are OK, however.

Transmitter Details

Here is transmitter information for the main ARDF events.  The two-meter frequencies are below 146 MHz to accommodate European/Asian equipment. 

2M foxes: 144.525 MHz, AM modulation (keyed carrier) with CW tones
2M homing: 145.565 MHz, AM modulation (keyed carrier) with CW tones
80M foxes: 3579 kHz, keyed CW (A1)
80M homing: 3542 kHz, keyed CW (A1)

2M transmitters will use omnidirectional horizontally polarized antennas.  80M transmitters will use vertically polarized antennas. All transmitters will identify with a call sign in CW at the end of each one-minute transmission.

Foxoring transmitters will be continuous on 3579 KHz.  Sprint event transmitters will be on 3579 and 3510 KHz, transmitting for 12 seconds each in a 60-second cycle.  Finish beacon for both events will be continuous on 3542 KHz.

Map Details

Scale: 1:15000
Paper size: 8.5 x 14 inches (21.6 cm x 35.6 cm) or less
Contour interval: 5 meters
Start, finish and exclusion circles will be pre-drawn

Required Transmitters For Each Category

Per IARU Region 1 Rules, or as announced at event briefing

Time Limit

180 Minutes for all categories, or as otherwise announced at the event briefing


Electronic scoring (SportIdent) will be used. Your registration fee includes use of a borrowed "e-stick," or you may use your own.

Mt. Laguna Weather Forecast

Weather forecast


Suggested Lodging

Hotel/motel lodging in the Mt. Laguna Recreation Area is very limited.  We recommend the Laguna Mountain Lodge in Mt. Laguna Village, which has 12 motel units (2 persons each) and 17 cabins of various sizes (4 to 7 persons each).  It's rustic, but comfortable, and it will be the site of our meetings on Friday.  All units are non-smoking.  Credit cards are not accepted, so make your reservation by phone (619-473-8533), then mail in a check.  Rooms have refrigerators and microwave ovens.  There's no restaurant on the property, but there is a general store where you can buy food and use WiFi.  Shop early, because the store closes at 5 PM.

A couple of restaurants are nearby, but they have very limited hours.  For instance, the Pine House Cafe and Tavern is only open for supper on Fridays and Saturday and for late breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Lodging is also available at Julian (20 miles northwest) and Pine Valley (11 miles southwest). Motels and cottages can also be found to the west at Alpine (25 miles) and in other towns on the east side of San Diego.

For those who want to "rough it," tent camping is available at Burnt Rancheria campground, which is close to Mt. Laguna Village.

SDIA logo Transportation

For those flying from overseas or distant cities in the USA, the recommended airport is San Diego International Airport (SAN, also known as Lindbergh Field), which is served by 22 airlines including Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and Virgin.

For those who prefer rail transport, San Diego Station is served by the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.  It offers twelve daily round-trip services between San Diego and Santa Barbara, including Los Angeles Union Station, where connections can be made to major cities across the country.

Railroad Car rentals are available at Lindbergh Field.  Eight shuttle companies provide service to hotels/motels in the east San Diego area.

Competitors and visitors are encouraged to provide their own ground transportation during their stay, as is customary at American orienteering events. Persons who will need transportation assistance to the event site, or to/from an airport, bus or train station must notify the organizers at the time of registration.

Adventure Passes

There is no entry fee for the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.  However, if you plan to bring a vehicle into the Mt. Laguna Recreation Area, you will need a National Forest Adventure Pass to park it in a campground or anywhere else except commercial facilities such as the lodge and restaurants.  You can buy an Adventure Pass in the general store at Laguna Mountain Lodge (see above) or at many other locations.  The pass has a daily rate and must cover all the days you're in the Recreation Area.

Several other passes are accepted in lieu of Adventure Passes, including the old Golden Passports and the new "America the Beautiful" Federal Recreational Lands Passes.  If you're over age 62 and a US citizen or permanent resident, get an Interagency Senior Pass for $10 at a local Forest Service office before you come to Mt. Laguna and you will be covered for an unlimited number of days in the forest.

Driving Directions from Downtown San Diego to Mt. Laguna

From Lindbergh Field or San Diego Amtrak station, take Interstate 5 or Highway 163 north to Interstate 8.  Go east on I-8 approximately 40 miles, passing the Pine Valley Road exit.  Take the next exit (Old Highway 80 exit) and go north on Sunrise Highway (S1) approximately 10 miles to Mt. Laguna village.

Mt. Laguna area

Open Regional Repeaters For Travel Coordination

WB6WLV/R, 147.150 MHz, + offset, PL 107.2 Hz, Mt. Laguna (monitored when possible)
W6SS/R, 146.265 MHz, + offset, PL 107.2 Hz, Lyon's Peak (halfway between San Diego and Mt. Laguna)

Local Simplex Frequencies

Primary 146.565 MHz (monitored when possible), alternate 146.52 MHz

Medical Care

The event's Field Medic team will be stationed at the finish line on competition days. The team will monitor 146.565 MHz simplex (or other frequency as announced) during the competitions for emergency calls.  (Note that competitors are forbidden to transmit while on the course except in an emergency.)

The nearest major medical facility is 536-bed Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, which is approximately 40 miles from Mt. Laguna.

Fun Factoids

Other Things to See and Do in San Diego

The event organizers are looking forward to welcoming you to the Championships and providing an outstanding radio-orienteering experience.

Marvin Johnston KE6HTS, General Chair and Meet Director
Joe Moell KØOV, USA ARDF Coordinator

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This page updated 28 May 2012