The sixth annual USA ARDF Championships took place on the second weekend of April 2006 in the North Carolina Piedmont, with radio-orienteers from all over the country plus visitors from abroad in attendance. The competitive courses were open to anyone of any age, with or without an Amateur Radio license. Medals awaited the winners in five age categories for males and four for females, in accordance with rules of the International Amateur Radio Union.
"Piedmont" is a French word meaning "foot of the mountain." This region, in the foothills of the Appalachians, features rolling hills and beautiful forests. The 5300 acres of William B. Umstead State Park are ideal for orienteering of all kinds. The park is conveniently located next to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Backwoods Orienteering Klub, which claims to make the best O-maps in the world, supplied updated course maps for the 2m and 80m events.
The USA Championships started on Friday at noon with an optional four-hour practice and equipment checking session, followed by an information and safety briefing. The two-meter competition took place Saturday and the 80m event on Sunday. In addition to the ARDF competitions, there was a picnic supper after the practice session and an award ceremony following the 80-meter hunt.
TWO-METER RESULTS: Forecasted thunderstorms failed to materialize on Saturday, April 8. Skies were mostly cloudy with occasional light rain, making for good running conditions. Twenty-eight radio-orienteers from USA, England and Germany took to this difficult course beginning shortly after 10 AM. Due to a possible technical problem with transmitter #4, it was announced that this transmitter would not be required to be found. Best overall time of the day (2:00:36) was posted in M21 category by Vadim Afonkin of New York. This is remarkable because he found all five transmitters in spite of the fact that he didn't have to get #4. He was almost seven minutes faster than second place M21 finisher Jay Thompson W6JAY from southern California. In the hotly contested M40 category, Matthew Robbins AA9YH of Indiana won gold by punching the required three transmitters in 2:08:47. Overall gold medal winner in M50 category was Nick Roethe of Germany, with Bob Frey WA6EZV taking second overall and first USA in that category. The M60 category was led by Bob Cooley KF6VSE of northern California with three foxes in 2:05:19. In categories for women, the gold medal winners were Emily DeYoung K4MLE of Kentucky in D19, Jennifer Harker W5JEN of Texas in D21 and Brigitte Roethe of Germany in D35.
EIGHTY-METER RESULTS: The passing cold front brought refrigerator conditions to the Piedmont area Saturday night. The temperature was just 36 degrees with completely clear skies as competitors entered the park Sunday morning. Would that be an incentive to run faster? It's normal for competitors to do better on 80m than on 2m, and this time was no exception. Whereas two meter times were almost all between two and three hours, the majority of 80m times were under two hours. Once again, Vadim Afonkin took gold in M21 category with 1:31:09, seven minutes ahead of Csaba Tiszttarto in second place. George Neal KF6YKN won M40 category in 1:29:59, which is especially remarkable because he went out of his way to punch the fifth transmitter, which was not required for his category. "For practice," he said. In M50 category, visitor Steve Stone of England was overall winner, followed one minute later by Nick Roethe DF1FO of Germany and one minute after that by Jay Hennigan WB6RDV of southern California. Gold medal winners of categories M60, D19, D21, and D35 were the same as on two meters. In D50, Karla Leach KC7BLA took home the gold.
Organizers were Charles (NZØI) and Nadia Scharlau of Cary, NC (above right). Both have been consistent medal winners at previous USA Championships. They attended the World ARDF Championships in 2002 and 2004, where Nadia was among the top six finishers in her category on one band each time.
The USA Championships concluded just in time for final selection of ARDF Team USA 2006 members, who traveled to Primorsko, Bulgaria for the 13th ARDF World Championships from September 12 through 17. USA's team positions were filled based on performances in the 2005 USA Championships in New Mexico and the 2006 events in North Carolina. A maximum of three competitors in each age-gender category may be on a nation's team.
You can see dozens more photos here, along with links to other participants' pictures. For event information, rules, technical parameters, course descriptions and complete individual results, go to the 2006 USA ARDF Championships Web site (www.ardf.us). Read more about this event in my Homing In column in CQ-VHF Magazine for Fall 2006.
Joe Moell K0OV
USA ARDF Coordinator
Report and photos copyright © 2006 Joseph D. Moell. All rights reserved.
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This page updated 4 December 2007