Ken Harker WM5R
2006 USA ARDF Championships


Jen and I competed in the Sixth USA ARDF Championships held April 7-9, 2006, in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. The competition was held in William B. Umstead State Park, right next to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. I took home my first medal, a bronze in the two meter M21 competition, and Jen took home the gold in both the two meter and the eighty meter W21 categories.

These photos are copyright © 2006 Kenneth E. Harker. All rights reserved.


Friday, April 7, was a practice day for competitors to field test their equipment and gain familiarity with the woods near Raleigh. Everyone gathered at this large picnic shelter. We all got small maps of the woods near the shelter. Two each eighty meter and two meter transmitters were put on the air for competitors to go find at their leisure.
Three regulars at these events: Richard Thompson WA6NOL, Vadim Afonkin, and Jay Thompson W6JAY. Vadim is from New York and is the top M21 athlete in the country. Jay, from California, was the Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham Of The Year for 2003.
Joe Moell KOV, from California, and Bob Frey WA6EZV, from Ohio. Joe is the American Radio Relay League ARDF Coordinator.
Dave D'Epagnier KQE came to the event from Colorado.
Scott Moore KF6IKO and Bill Smathers KG6HXX both came to the championships from California.
Jerry Boyd WB8WFK of Albuquerque, New Mexico was the course setter for the 2005 IARU Region II ARDF Championships. Jerry has also published a design for an eighty meter ARDF receiver.
Sam Vigil WA6NGH came to the event from California.
Dick Arnett WB4SUV, examining a pile of equipment. Dick was one of the six competitors to come to the championships from the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area.
George Neal KF6YKN from New York and Harley Leach KI7XF from Montana. George was more familiar to most of us as Gyorgy or Gyuri — he changed his name when he recently became a U.S. citizen. George was able to take off his neck brace for periods of time, but had to wear it while on course. It did slow him down, but he still had great times.
A video documentary being filmed by Gary Pearce KN4AQ included interviews with just about everyone there, including two of the volunteers, Michael Carman W4IT and Bill Cole KG4CXY.
Sitting at one of the picnic tables are Brigitte Roethe and Mary Cegelski KC8YLC. Brigitte came to the event from Germany and Mary from Ohio. In the background are April Moell WA6OPS and Sam Vigil WA6NGH, both from California.
Brigitte Roethe's two meter ARDF receiver was handmade by her husband, Nick Roethe DF1FO, who also ran in the competition. The handle was carved to fit the shape of Brigitte's hand.
All the competitors in the woods just before the start of the two meter competition on April 8. There was light intermittent drizzle in the morning that would turn into a real solid rain shower by 1:00 PM when the cold front came through. On the blue tarp are bags that would be transported to the finish area after everyone has started.
A wide variety of two meter ARDF receiver equipment in the impound area at the start.
A typical forest hillside in Umstead State Park. Unlike other parts of the country where these ARDF championships have been held, there was almost no undergrowth, which made off-trail routes fast.
Early in the morning on April 9, competitors are awaiting the bus that will take them to the start area for the eighty meter competition. The outside air temperature felt like it was just above freezing.
Jerry Boyd WB8WFK and Vadim Afonkin arrive at the shelter on Sunday morning. Notice their winter clothing.
Gary Pearce KN4AQ, capturing some more footage for the video documentary.
Jen Harker W5JEN, from Texas, wearing her winter fleece to stay warm.
Karla Leach KC7BLA from Montana came well prepared for the cold weather.
Mary Cegelski KC8YLC from Ohio and Jen Harker W5JEN from Texas, hanging out at the eighty meter start area.
Jay Thompson W6JAY, getting ready to pin on his competition number.
Emily DeYoung K4MLE from Kentucky tries to keep warm at the eighty meter start area on Sunday morning.
The competitors waiting to start migrated to the one sunny spot in the area. The first start was just before 9:00 AM, and the air temperature was still in the 40s Fahrenheit.
Jay Hennigan WB6RDV from California, getting ready for his start.
George Neal KF6YKN took the course at a brisk walk with his neck brace.
Jen Harker W5JEN, waiting for her eighty meter course start.
Men in Hats: Matthew Robbins AA9YH from Ohio, Scott Moore KF6IKO from California, and Sam Vigil WA6NGH, from California. Matthew was explaining how he drinks at least one and a half liters of Gookinaid Hydralyte just before he heads out on an ARDF or orienteering course in order to stay hydrated.
Another example of the typical forest encountered in the park. High winds from Hurricane Fran in 1996 knocked down many mature trees in the park, such as the one here. In some areas, the fallen trees made straight-line travel through the woods very difficult.
Sitting in the sun at the finish area: Brigitte Roethe, Vadim Afonkin, and Jay Thompson W6JAY.
Charles Scharlau NZI begins the simple awards ceremony. Awards were handed out immediately after the eighty meter competition so that those who needed to travel home on Sunday afternoon could get away as early as possible.
Joe Moell KOV, gives a few remarks on behalf of the American Radio Relay League. Joe and April have been to every one of the USA ARDF Championships since they began in 2001.
Ken Harker WM5R and his bronze medal for the M21 two meter competition.
Jen Harker W5JEN earned two gold medals for the W21 two meter and eighty meter categories.
Sam Vigil WA6NGH finally arrives at the finish line - moments after the award ceremony has concluded!
Those competitors who remained after the awards ceremony. Third from left on the front row in the green jacket is Nadia Scharlau. Nadia is probably the top performing athlete on Team USA, with sixth place (two meters) and eleventh place (eighty meters) finishes in the W35 category at the 2004 World ARDF Championships held in Brno, Czech Republic. Nadia designed the courses at this championships to be as challenging as world championship level courses.

Last Updated 14 April 2016
wm5r@arrl.net