Radio-orienteers of the world returned to Asia in 2008 as the Korean Amateur Radio League hosted the 14th ARDF WCs from September 2 through 7 at a resort in Hwaseong, just outside of Seoul. There were separate events on separate days for each competitor on eighty meters and two meters, each with up to five transmitters scattered in a large rural area.
In the two-meter competition on September 4, Team USA member George Neal KF6YKN (pictured at right below) won the bronze medal in the M50 age category. He found all four required transmitters and got to the finish line in 1:23:42, less than six minutes behind gold medallist Igor Kekin of Russia.
Team USA had three additional top-ten placings: Vadim Afonkin was 5th in M40 category on 80 meters. Bob Cooley KF6VSE was 7th on 80 meters in M60 category. Nadia Scharlau was 9th on 80 meters in W35 category.
As USA's ARDF Coordinator, I issued invitations to 22 persons to compete for our country, based on their finishes in the Seventh USA ARDF Championships (California, September 2007) and the Eighth USA ARDF Championships (Texas, May 2008). Because of economic considerations and activity conflicts, only eleven were able to accept.
Among those accepting an invitation was Dale Hunt WB6BYU, but a few weeks before the trip, he was diagnosed with gout. Although he was hopeful that his foot pain would diminish enough for him to run in Korea, it was not to be. He traveled there anyway to attend meetings with officials from IARU Regions 1 and 3. He also served as Team USA's Captain, which meant going to even more meetings. Ken Harker WM5R represented IARU Region 2 on the International Jury overseeing the events.
NAME AND CALL CITY CATEGORY Afonkin, Vadim Boston, MA M40 Cooley, Bob KF6VSE Pleasanton, CA M60 Harker, Jennifer W5JEN Austin, TX W21 Harker, Kenneth WM5R Austin, TX Juror Hennigan, Jay WB6RDV Goleta, CA M50 Hunt, Dale WB6BYU Yamhill, OR Captain Leach, Harley KI7XF Bozeman, MT M60 Moore, Scott KF6IKO Santa Barbara, CA M40 Neal, George KF6YKN Maspeth, NY M50 Scharlau, Nadia Cary, NC W35 Scharlau, Charles NZ0I Cary, NC M40 Thompson, Jay W6JAY Santa Ana, CA M21 Thompson, Richard WA6NOL Santa Ana, CA Visitor
Here are the medal winners and Team USA performances for all age/gender categories in which USA competed:
TWO-METERS, SEPTEMBER 4 (140 minute time limit) W21 (Females of any age, 31 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Veronika Krcalova Czech 64:28 4 Foxes Silver Olena Fursa Ukraine 67:01 4 Foxes Bronze Tatiana Melnikova Russia 74:57 4 Foxes Jennifer Harker (OT) USA 168:51 2 Foxes
- - - - - W35 (Females ages 35 and older, 28 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Tatiana Gureeva Russia 68:12 4 Foxes Silver Wang Shuyan China 76:40 4 Foxes Bronze Marina Pankratova Russia 87:19 4 Foxes Nadia Scharlau (15th) USA 111:46 4 Foxes - - - - - M21 (Males of any age, 47 in category, 5 required foxes) Gold Peter Viskup Slovakia 56:16 5 Foxes Silver Alexander Hergert Germany 68:57 5 Foxes Bronze Evgeny Panchenko Russia 70:20 5 Foxes Jay Thompson (24th) USA 111:11 5 Foxes - - - - - M40 (Males ages 40 and older, 46 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Baktybek Sharshenov Russia 65:20 4 Foxes Silver Sergey Gureev Russia 65:51 4 Foxes Bronze Mykhailo Pugach Ukraine 71:05 4 Foxes Vadim Afonkin (19th) USA 104:23 4 Foxes Charles Scharlau (43rd) USA 94:55 2 Foxes Scott Moore (44th) USA 121:08 2 Foxes Team USA 15th of 16 national teams
- - - - - M50 (Males ages 50 and older, 39 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Igor Kekin Russia 78:02 4 Foxes Silver Stanko Cufer Slovenia 79:59 4 Foxes Bronze George Neal USA 83:42 4 Foxes Jay Hennigan (24th) USA 134:20 4 Foxes Team USA 5th of 10 national teams - - - - - M60 (Males ages 60 and older, 38 in category, 3 required foxes) Gold Oleg Fursa Ukraine 61:44 3 Foxes Silver Yoshimi Kaneshige Japan 69:39 3 foxes Bronze Manfred Platzek Germany 75:11 3 foxes Bob Cooley (11th) USA 98:25 3 Foxes Harley Leach (24th) USA 139:54 3 Foxes Team USA 7th of 10 national teams - - - - - EIGHTY-METERS, SEPTEMBER 6 (140 minute time limit) W21 (Females of any age, 30 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Michaela Omova Czech 70:21 4 Foxes Silver Veronika Krealova Czech 72:39 4 Foxes Bronze Svetlana Godunova Russia 76:13 4 Foxes Jennifer Harker (OT) USA 156:07 1 Fox - - - - - W35 (Females ages 35 and older, 28 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Larisa Savinykh Russia 87:17 4 Foxes Silver Tatiana Gureeva Russia 91:43 4 Foxes Bronze Marina Pankratova Russia 91:48 4 Foxes Nadia Scharlau (9th) USA 112:31 4 Foxes - - - - - M21 (Males of any age, 47 in category, 5 required foxes) Gold Karel Fucik Czech 64:12 5 Foxes Silver Martin Baier Czech 64:50 5 Foxes Bronze Jakub Oma Czech 74:11 5 Foxes Jay Thompson (37th) USA 132:36 4 Foxes - - - - - M40 (Males ages 40 and older, 46 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Servey Gureev Russia 71:17 4 Foxes Silver Baktybek Sharshenov Russia 72:21 4 Foxes Bronze Jan Kosut Slovakia 72:32 4 Foxes Vadim Afonkin (5th) USA 82:02 4 Foxes Charles Scharlau (OT) USA 157:27 3 Foxes Scott Moore (OT) USA 208:55 2 Foxes - - - - -
M50 (Males ages 50 and older, 38 in category, 4 required foxes) Gold Vasyl Romanenko Ukraine 62:38 4 Foxes Silver Chermen Guliev Russia 69:33 4 Foxes Bronze Alexander Kulikov Russia 73:21 4 foxes George Neal (12th) USA 91:39 4 Foxes Jay Hennigan (OT) USA 140:37 3 Foxes - - - - - M60 (Males ages 60 and older, 38 in category, 3 required foxes) Gold Viktor Korshunov Ukraine 61:16 3 Foxes Silver Oleg Fursa Ukraine 66:22 3 foxes Bronze Manfred Platzek Germany 67:05 3 foxes Bob Cooley ( 7th) USA 79:15 3 Foxes Harley Leach (25th) USA 111:32 3 Foxes Team USA 7th of 10 national teams
On the awards podium for category M50, left is silver medalist Stanko Cufer S57CD of Slovenia, center is gold medalist Igor Kekin of Russia, and right is bronze medalist George Neal KF6YKN of USA. (By WB6RDV)
As one who had organized ARDF championships in the past, WB6BYU was impressed by the Koreans' high level of organization and attention to detail. "There were a lot of things that can go wrong that the officials had anticipated," he reported. "I was amazed by the number of volunteer hams that they had to help them. Everywhere you went, there were about twenty people in black vests with 'KARL volunteer' on them. At the opening ceremony, there had to be a hundred folks handling things."
These championships drew far more people than the 300 originally planned for. The final attendance was about 330 competitors and more than a hundred official visitors. The hotel had a limited number of rooms with beds, so those arriving later ended up with Korean-style sleeping arrangements -- thin mats on the floor. "The pillows were little tiny things that felt like they were full of Rice Crispies," one Team USA member reported.
Team USA gave good marks to the food, which was served from large buffet tables in the gardens outside the hotel when weather permitted. "They had something for everyone," WB6BYU explained. "There was bread for the Russians, processed meat for the Germans and so forth. One of our team members expressed surprise that they were serving lasagna for breakfast. He was even more surprised when he took a bite of it and it turned out to be kimchi."
The 2400-acre two-meter contest site was a far cry from the usual European forests. About 40 per cent of the map was marked yellow, meaning easy to navigate. But these parts turned out to be drained rice paddies and fields of other crops, such as soybeans and bok choy. This was a first for most competitors. They wore new trails through these muddy areas and couldn't help trampling some of the plants. The farmers' dogs could be heard barking in the distance, but fortunately the dogs were confined and the farmers didn't seem to mind.
As always, the Russians, Ukrainians and Czechs dominated the medal count, taking home 92 per cent of the golds. But with four finishes in the top ten, Team USA did better than ever.
Click for more photos of the championships by Jay Hennigan WB6RDV and Dale Hunt WB6BYU, plus links to photo pages of other participants. Complete results, including transmitter orders and splits, are in the ARDF site of Germany. These championships are also the subject of an ARDF Update feature on the ARRL Web site.
Portions of the report above have been excerpted from my Homing In column in the Fall 2008 issue of CQ-VHF Magazine.
Joe Moell KØOV
USA ARDF Coordinator
(Photos of George Neal and medal above right are by Richard Thompson WA6NOL. Photo of Korean organizers courtesy DS1RDJ.)
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This page updated 26 April 2010