ARDF Team USA Enjoys Success in Bulgaria with Seven Medals
Fifteen of the best on-foot hidden transmitter hunters in the US are back home after picking up seven medals in the 18th World Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championships and World Cup events in Bulgaria. The competition got under way on August 30 with the 80 meter “classic” event of the ARDF World Cup, an optional competition for individuals that precedes the Championships. Eight Team USA members participated in the World Cup.
On August 30 in the World Cup 80 meter “classic” competition, Vadim Afonkin, KB1RLI, of Massachusetts placed third in the M40 category to pick up a bronze medal. He found all of his required transmitters in 1:02:43, which was 8 minutes behind Alexander Sheynis of Russia, who took gold. The minimum M40 course length that day was 5.6 kilometers. On Wednesday, August 31, in the World Cup 2 meter classic competition, Alla Mezhevaya of Illinois won the silver medal in the W35 category, finding all required transmitters on a 5.8 kilometer course in 1:18:53, just 4 minutes behind gold medalist Steliana Mateeva of Bulgaria.
In the September 1 sprint event Afonkin took gold in M40 category, finding all 10 required transmitters on a 2.7 kilometer course in just 21:09. That same day, Team USA Captain Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG, of North Carolina, took bronze in the W60 category. The next day, she won a second bronze medal in the foxoring event, finding all seven required low-power transmitters on a 2.5 kilometer course in 1:11:37.
On September 8 during the World Championship events for national teams, Afonkin won an individual bronze medal on a 5.85 kilometer 2 meter classic course, finishing in 1:11:52. Bromer and Karla Leach, KC7BLA, took home a team bronze medal that same day in the W60 category, on a 4.25 kilometer 80 meter classic course.
More than 400 competitors representing 39 nations took to the courses near Varna, a popular resort on the Black Sea coast. Competitors were divided into six age categories for men and five for women, in accordance with rules established by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).
Team USA team members included nine men and six women from eight states, ranging in age from 26 to 74. They qualified for the team by dint of excellent performance in the 2016 USA ARDF Championships in Texas and the 2015 USA ARDF Championships in Colorado.
Members of Team USA 2016 were:
- Vadim Afonkin, KB1RLI, Massachusetts
- Alexandra Bondarenco, Pennsylvania
- Natalia Bondarenco, Pennsylvania
- Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG, North Carolina
- Robert Cooley, KF6VSE, California
- Kenneth Harker, WM5R, Texas
- Joseph Huberman, K5JGH, North Carolina
- Lori Huberman, California
- Harley Leach, KI7XF, Montana
- Karla Leach, KC7BLA, Montana
- Nicolai Mejevoi, Illinois
- Alla Mezhevaya, Illinois
- Mike Schuh, KF7QDZ, Washington
- Bill Smathers, KG6HXX, California
- William Wright, WB6CMD, California
The best year to date for ARDF Team USA was 2012, during the World Cup and World Championships in Central Serbia, when the US fielded 13 competitors. Six of them garnered a total of 13 medals in the World Cup and World Championships that year.
Visit the Homing In website of ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, for more information on ARDF.