ARDF in Sweden

19 Dec 1995

A short description of Amateur Radio Direction Finding - ARDF, as it is practised in Sweden.

Start by bicycle

The first time Radio Direction Finding was described, as far as we know, was in 1926 in the magazine "Wireless World". The article had the header "Tracking a concealed transmitter". In Sweden the sport appeared seriously two decades later, in 1948.

Because the receivers were quite large, the first competitions took place by bicycle or by car. Running with the heavy batteries was almost impossible.

In 1952 the Swedish national society for radio amateurs, SSA, decided that a Swedish Championship in ARDF should be arranged. This first championship had about 60 participants.

The first Scandinavian championships took place in Stockholm 1961.

Night races

Right from the beginning the Swedish runners arranged competitions by night and also on cross-country skis. (The picture shows the runners just before the night race in the 1969 Swedish Championships)

The first European ARDF Championships were arranged by Sweden in 1961, covering both 144 MHz and 3.5 MHz.

Don't kill the cute foxes

In 1973, SSA decided that the word "fox-hunting" should be replaced by "Radio Direction Finding Orienteering". This was because there had been several misunderstandings with people feeling sorry for the foxes in the forest!

Races every week

Today Sweden ARDF activities include about fifty active runners and several hundred occasionally active runners. Every week during non-winter season, there are at least three competitions in different parts of Sweden.

Standard receivers

Almost all runners use the same 3.5 MHz receiver, which was originally designed in the sixties. This receiver, with the size of a freestyle, is built around a ferrite-antenna.

For the 144 MHz competitions there have been a variety of receivers used. A new receiver design presented in 1992 has now largely become the standard receiver.

Seven transmitters - without finish beacon

A normal Swedish race includes 7 transmitters, without finish beacon, and with a transmitting sequence interval of 10 minutes (approx. 1.5 minutes each).

The time is taken at the 7th transmitter found, which can be anyone of the 7 available. This creates a variety of alternatives and the strategy becomes more important than when 5 transmitters are used. Even during night-races, 7 transmitters are used and sometimes even 10 transmitters.

Sweden has participated in all ARDF World Championships. This team is from the 1984 championships in Norway.



ARDF for the future

ARDF is a fairly small sport in Sweden in contrast with orienteering which has about 160,000 runners. But this can never take away the joy the active runners find in the sport. Even if the number of active ARDF runners has decreased during the last decades, we are confident that ARDF is still a sport with a strong future!