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NV9L, is 'Amateur of The Year,' as Hamvention Announces Award Winners:

from The ARRL Letter on March 8, 2018
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Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, is 'Amateur of The Year,' as Hamvention Announces Award Winners:

Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, of Crescent City, Illinois, is the 2018 Hamvention "Amateur of the Year." The Hamvention Awards Committee -- chaired by Michael Kalter, W8CI, and Frank Beafore, WS8B -- this week announced its 2018 award recipients for Club of the Year, Technical Achievement, and Special Achievement.

"I am extremely honored to even be nominated for Amateur of the Year, let alone to win this award," Hotzfeld told ARRL. "I would like to thank the Hamvention Awards Committee. Their decision must have been a tough one, as I am certain the other nominees have done an outstanding job representing this hobby too. I would also like to thank those who mentored me throughout my different learning phases of this hobby. Not only has Amateur Radio been a life-changing experience for me, there are so many helpful hams in this hobby that it just feels natural to give back."

First licensed in 2006, Hotzfeld has been very active in local Amateur Radio clubs and in ARES. Once she "discovered" HF, she became obsessed with DXing and contesting. In the past few years, she has enjoyed inviting new hams to her station to DX or contest. She has been the pilot or lead pilot for four major DXpeditions. Hotzfeld also is a co-host of the Ham Nation webcast and has created how-to videos on YouTube for the ham radio community.

In 2017, Hotzfeld became engaged in public service, first traveling to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to help rescue small animals. She subsequently was deployed to Puerto Rico with the American Red Cross for 3 weeks as part of an Amateur Radio volunteer contingent, facilitating critical communications after Hurricane Maria.

Club of the Year

The Portage County Amateur Radio Service (PCARS of Ravenna, Ohio, is Hamvention's 2018 Club of the Year. PCARS was established in November 2005, and it is an ARRL-Affiliated Special Service Club. PCARS members average more than 40 hours of club activities each month, including special interest groups, license training, contesting run from the club site (K8BF), and club social events.

"Our members cover a wide range of interests that allow us to support public safety organizations, student outreach programs, and activities focused on growing our hobby," the club told the Hamvention Awards Committee. "We love to share our experiences and have a requirement that our events be filled with a lot of fun. Members have joined PCARS because of all the activities and fun we have."

The club donated more than $6,000 in time and money to the community last year. It has created its own contests and events, including the annual Freeze Your Acorns Off in February and Ohio State Parks on the Air, which was used as a model for ARRL's year-long National Parks on the Air event in 2016.

PCARS sponsors several "Build Days" each year, with projects including home-built transceivers, antennas, and digital equipment to allow members to expand their horizons into new areas of Amateur Radio. A monthly "Get on the Air Day" lets members and non-members use club site equipment to learn about HF and new operating modes. "It is all about building our hobby, helping our community, building our skills, and, most of all, having fun," PCARS said.

Technical Achievement Award

Chip Cohen, W1YW, of Belmont, Massachusetts, has received the Hamvention 2018 Technical Achievement Award. Licensed for 52 years and bitten by the antenna bug, Cohen became a radio astronomer and astrophysicist, working at Arecibo, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Very Large Array (VLA), and others. While a professor at Boston University, Cohen connected fractal geometry with antennas, pioneering a paradigm shift in the design of fractal antennas and what they make possible. The holder of 41 US patents, Cohen is known for inventing the invisibility cloak using fractal antenna techniques.

Starting 30 years ago with simple flea market treasures, W1YW bootstrapped fractal antennas with modest gear and employed ham radio to report on the success of his new technology. He started Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. with WA1ZWT (SK) in 1995, and is presently its CEO.

Cohen is a DXCC Top of the Honor Roll DXer and a strong advocate for technical "innovation culture" through Amateur Radio. He is a Life Member of ARRL and a Fellow of the Radio Club of America, where he has served as vice president and director.

Special Achievement Award

Heriberto Perez, KK4DCX; Victor Torres, WP4SD, and Emilio Ortiz Jr., WP4KEY, are Hamvention's 2018 Special Achievement Award winners. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico last September, Perez mobilized his radio equipment to Radio Sol in San Germán, the local public broadcasting station, accompanied by Torres and Ortiz. The team handled health-and-welfare traffic to thousands of families across the continental US. Thanks to the support of more than 45 radio amateurs across the US, more than 4,000 messages were delivered via telephone to anxious families.

"We would like to thank everyone who nominated a candidate," the committee said in announcing the award recipients. "The process is always difficult." A formal awards presentation will take place this May at Hamvention 2018 in Xenia, Ohio.


The ARRL Letter

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