' Ken Harker WM5R - Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF)

Ken Harker WM5R
Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF)

Ken Harker WM5R at the 2017 
USA ARDF Championships
On my way to a bronze medal result on the 3.5 MHz Classic Distance competition at the 2017 USA ARDF Championships near Cincinnati, Ohio

In August 2018, I was appointed the IARU Region 2 ARDF Coordinator.

I have always been drawn to the competitive aspects of amateur radio. I have been active at the US national level in the IARU sport format of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) since the 2002 USA ARDF Championships in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Since then, I have been to almost all of the USA and IARU Region II ARDF Championships. I have been part of hosting two USA championships: in 2008, I was the chairman and organizing host of the USA ARDF Championships in Bastrop, Texas, and in 2016, I was the Meet Director of the USA ARDF Championships in Killeen, Texas. I have been to four ARDF World Championships, once as a juror and three times as a competitor for Team USA. I am the current Team Captain of the US ARDF national team, and the webmaster for the IARU Region II ARDF web site.

I have a growing collection of ARDF receivers. My current favorite for 3.5 MHz is a receiver designed and built by fellow Team USA member Vadim Afonkin KB1RLI. My current radio for 144 MHz is a homemade rig from Ukraine. My backup rigs of choice right now are the Superfox 3,5GX and Superfox 145E from Jiri OK2BWN. I have also used the Chinese RF-2A 144 MHz receiver in the past. Another radio I have used in competition on 144 MHz is a three-element WB2HOL design yagi with a VK3YNG Foxhunt Sniffer Mk4 receiver. Also in my collection are Altai 3,5 and Altai 144 receivers manufactured in Siberia in the early 1990s. Although not everyone likes them, I've decided that I really don't mind the heavy, high-impedance headphones that are popular with the Eastern European radios.

My current thumb compass is a Moscompass 8. Prior to this one, I had been using a Suunto Arrow 5 thumb compass. It worked great for over a dozen years, but unfortunately developed a bubble while competing in Kazakhstan. I've tried many different shoes over the years, but my current competition choice is the Salomon Speedcross 4 Wide. I wear nylon gaiters for lower leg protection that my wife has custom sewn for me. For training, I track my runs using Strava.

World ARDF Championships

  • Competitor, 2010 ARDF World Championships, Opatija, Croatia
  • Competitor, 2014 ARDF World Championships, Burabay, Kazakhstan
  • Competitor, 2016 ARDF World Championships, Albena, Bulgaria
  • Team Captain, 2018 ARDF World Championships, Sokcho, Korea

USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships

  • Competitor, 2002 USA ARDF Championships, Pine Mountain, GA
  • Competitor, 2003 USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships, Cincinnati, OH
  • Competitor, 2005 USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships, Albuquerque, NM
  • Competitor, 2006 USA ARDF Championships, Raleigh, NC
  • Competitor, 2007 USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships, South Lake Tahoe, CA (1 Bronze)
  • Competitor, 2009 USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships, Boston, MA
  • Competitor, 2010 USA ARDF Championships, Oxford, OH (2 Silver)
  • Competitor, 2012 USA ARDF Championships, Mt. Laguna, CA
  • Competitor, 2013 USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships, Asheboro, NC
  • Competitor, 2014 USA ARDF Championships, Boston, MA (1 Silver)
  • Competitor, 2015 USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships, Elbert, CO
  • Competitor, 2017 USA/IARU Region II ARDF Championships, Cincinnati, OH (1 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • Competitor, 2018 USA ARDF Championships, Truckee, CA (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze)

Organzing Experience

  • Chairman, 2008 USA ARDF Championships, Bastrop, TX
  • Meet Director, 2016 USA ARDF Championships, Killeen, TX

Judging Experience

  • Juror, 2008 ARDF World Championships, Hwaseong, Korea

Last Updated 1 August 2018