• 2023 Hamvention Awards Announced

    From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Fri Mar 3 19:45:54 2023

    The 2023 Hamvention Awards committee, chaired by Michael Kalter, W8CI, has announced the 2023 Hamvention award winners.

    The Special Achievement Award recipient is Dr. Jason McDonald, MD, N2TPA. He is an active, well-known Amateur Extra-class operator who earned his license in 2003. Dr. McDonald began as a radio frequency engineer before changing careers to become a trauma surgeon. Dr. McDonald's amateur radio interests range from operations on the air to international disaster response. His true passion is working with youths to promote amateur radio.

    Dr. McDonald brings amateur radio to the world through youth projects and Scouting, particularly through Radio Scouting. Empowering youth through education is the goal of the clubs he has helped form. W1PTG is a testing group that Dr. McDonald helped create to offer exams in underserved areas and get more people into the hobby. This team of volunteer examiners graciously donates its time and money to ensure each licensee in the program receives mentor support and a radio.

    He has been instrumental in promoting international friendship and community through amateur radio by forming Scouting clubs in Canada (VA7RSI), the Philippines (W1PTG and DX1MC), and Florida (KQ4GCK). To date, more than 500 youths in these clubs have been licensed and are on the air.

    The Amateur Radio Club of the Year is the Delaware Valley Radio Association (DVRA), an ARRL Affiliated Club formed in 1930 and serving the Trenton, New Jersey, metropolitan area. The club has tripled in size over the last 6 years due to the wide range of amateur radio activities and events they offer. An all-purpose club, the DVRA's activities include public service events, operator training/mentoring, Scouting events, informational monthly meetings, POTA events, and the operation of a world-class club station.

    The DVRA's center of activity is club station W2ZQ, which operates on a regular schedule. The station was renovated 6 years ago and currently houses two complete HF stations, a VHF repeater, an APRS digipeater, and a Winlink VHF-RMS node. The recent addition of 1296 MHz Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) capability has been optimized with the assistance of member Joe Taylor, K1JT. Station activities include an open house, hands-on seminars, contesting, and special event activations. Most importantly, the exchange of ideas that occur within the walls of the building is priceless.

    The DVRA's focus on training and diversification of its projects attracts new hams and engages radio amateurs at all levels.

    The Technical Achievement Award recipient is Dr. James Breakall, WA3FET, whose work has been instrumental in amateur radio antenna technology for decades. He has teamed with many experts in the field to develop state-of-the-art advancements with a wide range of applications, including the Numerical Electromagnetics Code (NEC). As a professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University from 1989 to 2022, Dr. Breakall developed cutting-edge antenna technology and mentored his students in amateur radio, resulting in 700 new licensees. Now a retired Professor Emeritus, he serves as a consultant to the Army, Air Force, and Navy on many antenna-related projects.

    Nittany Scientific, a company initiated with his students, developed some of the first optimization methods applied to NEC in a package called NECOPT, a design he called Optimized Wideband Antenna (OWA) Yagi. The goals of the optimization were minimum peak SWR in a band, maximizing the lowest gain in a band, and maximizing the minimum front-to-back ratio in a band. These OWA Yagi designs have been used in numerous contest and DX stations around the world. Because Breakall wanted this technology to be readily available worldwide, he has never pursued patent licensing. He was also the first to use helicopter measurements and Geometrical Theory of Diffraction (GTD) techniques for antennas in terrain at HF that led to software such as TA and HFTA.

    In 2010, Dr. Breakall collaborated with Joe Taylor, Angel Vazquez, WP3R, and Pedro Piza, Jr., NP4A, to use the Arecibo 1000-foot dish for EME. He worked on many antenna designs at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and at the HAARP facility in Alaska. Dr. Breakall has frequently presented at Hamvention forums to share his expertise on antenna design and enthusiasm for amateur radio. As an avid amateur radio contester, Dr. Breakall has built contest stations in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico, and he has participated in more than 100 contests; he has also won a fair amount of them. Dr. Breakall has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles and books.

    Amateur of the Year 2023 Carsten Dauer, DM9EE, has been active in European amateur radio through the World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) and Youth on the Air (YOTA) for 30 years. Recently, he has spearheaded a movement that provides amateur radio equipment to war-torn Ukraine by collecting donations and personally delivering the approximately 5,000 kg of radios, power banks, solar packs, and first aid kits have been shipped to Ukraine. Countless hours of planning, packing, documentation, and accessing permits have gone into this endeavor. On the return trips from Ukraine, Dauer transports war refugees to havens in Germany, including his own hotel.

    Supporting fellow hams and inspiring youth involvement is Dauer's passion. On his website, http://dm9ee.de/dm9ee-ukraine-help/[1], he states, "Ham radio gave me a lot and I try to give back to our great hobby. The world is very small when you have a radio license. You talk to the world, and eventually you also visit people in other countries... and you always learn more about culture when you know people there. Ham radio is [a] great [way] to learn languages, even if it is only a few friendly phrases."

    You can read more about the 2023 Hamvention Awards at their website[2] or at ARRL.org[3].

    [1] http://dm9ee.de/dm9ee-ukraine-help/
    [2] https://hamvention.org/
    [3] http://www.arrl.org/

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