Texas ARDF: Amateur Radio Direction Finding
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2005 Texas ARDF Championships

This meet is now over. Results and photos of the meet are now online.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bastrop State Park will be the site for the first Texas ARDF Championships. The weekend of 22-23 October 2005 is the Southwest Region Orienteering Championships and Relay, hosted by the Houston Orienteering Club and the LaPorte High School JROTC. Saturday is a classic, on-foot orienteering meet. The ARDF Championships will take place on Sunday, at the same time as the Relays. If you are unfamiliar with the rules for ARDF, please review them before the competition. ARDF competitors are encouraged to run in the Saturday orienteering meet as well as the Sunday ARDF course.

Map to Bastrop State Park
Directions: From Austin, take SH71 east to Bastrop, turn left on SH21/SH95 north, turn right to stay on SH21 (also called Chestnut Street.) Bear left at the fork and make an immediate right to enter Park Road 1A. From Houston, take IH-10 west to SH71. Turn right at sign "To Bastrop State Park," then make an immediate right onto Park Road 1A. Drive past the golf course and ranger station, and follow the orienteering signs. Call WM5R or KA5CVH on 146.52 FM simplex if you have trouble finding the meet location.

To register for the Texas ARDF Championships, you must register for the entire weekend's meet activities, sign the liability waiver, and pay the nominal meet registration fee. This fee covers the cost of liability insurance for the host organization, the cost of producing and printing maps, and other meet expenses. There is normally a day use fee to enter the park, but that is included in the meet fee and does not need to be paid separately.

Bring any two meter (144 MHz) radio direction finding gear you have. If you don't have any, just bring your HT or scanner. The transmitters will be transmitting in MCW on FM. Make sure that your batteries are fresh and capable of at least three hours of operation. Bring your own compass, something with which to mark bearings on the map that you will be provided, and if you like, a map board. Comfortable running or trail shoes and long pants or gaiters are recommended. Also be sure to bring anything you'll need while on course, such as water, food, and sunscreen. If this is all new to you, please read What You Need to Get Started in ARDF.

The official hosting organization of this event is the Houston Orienteering Club (HOC). Contact Ken Harker WM5R at wm5r@arrl.net if you are thinking of attending.

Start Times

Name Callsign Class Location Time Transmitters
Walter Higgins W5SWA M60 Kingwood, TX +0 minutes MOE, MOH, MO5
Darrin Lutz KE5CQL M21 Georgetown, TX +0 minutes MOE, MOI, MOS, MOH, MO5
Bob Frey WA6EZV M50 Cincinnati, OH +5 minutes MOE, MOS, MOH, MO5
Michael Bayern W2CVZ M19 Houston, TX +5 minutes MOE, MOI, MOH, MO5
Johnny Sangree KE5DWG M21 Austin, TX +10 minutes MOE, MOI, MOS, MOH, MO5
George Fremin III K5TR M40 Johnson City, TX +10 minutes MOE, MOI, MOS, MOH
Mike Urich KA5CVH M50 La Porte, TX +15 minutes MOE, MOS, MOH, MO5
Keith Stolle KE5FYG M40 Round Rock, TX +15 minutes MOE, MOI, MOS, MOH
Jen Harker W5JEN W21 Austin, TX +20 minutes MOE, MOS, MOH, MO5

Course Lengths

The following are the computed straight-line distances for the routes for each course, choosing the optimal order of the transmitters. These are all shorter than you would see at a USA or IARU Region II ARDF Championship.

CourseDistance (kms)

Getting There

If you are coming to the Saturday orienteering event, just follow the HOC signs once you get into the park to find the start area. The start and stop locations for the ARDF event on Sunday will be at the Scenic Overlook on Park Road 1A. When you enter the park, after the ranger station, turn left at the sign for 1A. Continue on 1A at the intersection with 1B near the fishing lake. Near the top of a hill, there's an intersection with Park Road 1C that says "to Buescher State Park." Bear right to continue on 1A. The parking lot and a stone gazebo will be on your right soon after. Park there. While driving on Park Road 1A, be aware of potentially many recreational cyclists. There are no restroom facilities at this location. There are facilities at the ranger station where you enter the park, and near each of the campgrounds.

Course Notes

  • The intended first start time is 9AM. This is conditional on Ken being capable of setting some of the transmitters out on the course before daylight. If this turns out to be too difficult, the start time might be pushed back an hour or so.
  • Because of intermod on our preferred hunt frequency of 145.565 MHz, we will instead be hunting on 146.565 MHz FM.
  • The finish beacon frequency is 144.550 MHz FM.
  • The maps will be 8.5" x 11" landscape at 1:15000 scale.
  • The time limit is 3 hours.
  • The safety bearing is west to major state highways.

Bastrop State Park is being used for a two-day classic foot-O competition the same weekend as the ARDF meet. You might see other controls on the trails or in the woods. I've tried to set the ARDF course in a part of the park where I don't think the Sunday foot-O courses go, but the Saturday controls could very well still be up on Sunday. So, check the control for an MOE, MOI, MOS, MOH, or MO5 designation before you punch.

There is one significant old barbed wire fence that crosses the park from SW to NE. The fence is mostly still in good shape, so I would recommend crossing it only at trail or road crossings. All of the trails marked on the map are reliable. There are no "indistinct trails" that might have gone away. Parts of the park have been through prescribed burns in the past year. In general, this hasn't affected the vegetation markings on the map at all, as it mostly occurred in what was already marked runnable forest.

Most of the area is several inches behind on rain this summer. There are only a few water features on the map, and most of them will be lower than normal. Anything marked as a dry ditch will almost certainly be dry, unless it rains a lot in the next two weeks. There is currently a county-wide burn ban in effect. If you've never orienteered in Bastrop State Park before, be aware that the loblolly pine needles on the forest floor can be very slippery and cause traction problems on steep slopes.

You might see whitetail deer, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, armadillos, and possibly turkeys. The ponds of Bastrop State Park are home to the largest known concentration of the Houston Toad, an endangered species unique to this region of Texas. Bastrop State Park is also home to a wide variety of birds.

There are snakes in Bastrop County, including the venomous broad-banded copperhead, western diamondback rattlesnake, canebrake rattlesnake, and the Texas coral snake. I don't know of any orienteer who has ever actually seen one of these venomous snakes in the park, however. Jen and I don't even remember ever seeing any snakes at all in the park. You might run across a southern black widow spider or a brown recluse spider, but I've never seen either in the park before. You might also see scorpions or tarantulas, but they are uncommon, and their bites are rarely dangerous to humans. Poison ivy does exist in the park, but is not common.

At least with Cingular, I was able to get decent cell phone reception anywhere in the park.


Send comments to: Ken Harker WM5R wm5r@wm5r.org
Last updated: 17 April 2016