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USA Radio Orienteering Team Brings Home Silver and Bronze Medals


 At the 21st International Amateur Radio Union World Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championship in Liberec, Czech Republic, held August 27 through September 2, 2023, USA competitors won a silver medal for an individual competition, as well as two bronze team medals.

ARDF, also known as radio orienteering, is a multi-skill sport that involves running and navigation using only a map and compass.

Competitors use a 2-meter (144 MHz) or 80-meter (3.5 MHz) radio receiver to locate multiple transmitters hidden in a forest. The sport directly applies to important activities such as search and rescue, wildlife tracking, airborne and seaborne navigation, and communications. The competition at the championship in Liberec involved mountainous terrain, intricate navigation challenges, periods of rain, and elite racing.

The USA fielded its largest team ever, including 21 athletes, with seven competing in a world championship for the first time. The (IARU) and Czech Radio Club hosted the event in the mountainous region of North Bohemia, with 28 countries and nearly 400 racers attending.

Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG, won a silver medal in the W65 category during the 3.5 MHz "foxoring" event that combines orienteering and transmitter (fox) hunting. Nadia Scharlau, KO4ADV, and Natalia Leoni earned a bronze team medal in the W55 category 144 MHz classic competition. Several USA athletes also finished within the top 10 results in nearly all the classes, including two fourth - place finishes by Scharlau.

Scharlau was thrilled with the results. "All our newcomers performed beyond our expectations. The courses were extremely hard. We all got along and supported one another. Most importantly, almost everyone expressed their determination to improve and come back to compete again," said Scharlau.

ARRL's ARDF Committee Chair Charles Scharlau, NZ0I, who also raced, echoed the positive take on the USA team, stating, "They successfully navigated well-designed courses on rugged terrain against a field of skilled and experienced competitors. The Czech Republic is an ideal place to hold the world championships. They have great maps, excellent venues, and they know how to put on a world-class event," he said.

The USA Radio Orienteering Championship will be held in Michigan on October 7 - 13, 2024. Team USA will select its team members for the 2025 USA Championship, and that team will travel to Lithuania in 2025 to compete in the 22nd World ARDF Championship.

A complete list of the 2023 results can be found at

Thanks to ARRL ARDF Committee and Event Director Joseph Burkhead, KE8MKR, for the information contained in this story.



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