Nineteen-year-old Ruth Willet, KM4LAO, of Cana, Virginia, was named as the recipient of the 2018 ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award by the ARRL Board of Directors at its July 20 – 21 meeting. The Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award is given annually by the Board to a radio amateur under the age of 21 whose accomplishments and contributions to both Amateur Radio and the local community are of an exemplary nature.
Willet, who earned her Technician class license in June 2015 and upgraded to Extra in May 2016, was instrumental in re-establishing the Amateur Radio and Electronics Club (K8HPS) at Kettering University in Michigan, where she is a junior pursuing a double major in engineering physics and mechanical engineering while maintaining an A average. She alternates 11-week academic terms with 11-week co-op jobs at Textron Specialized Vehicles in Augusta, Georgia. Willet recently relocated to Virginia from Lawrenceville, Georgia, where she grew up.
Willet is actively involved in recruiting and mentoring new licensees and in community awareness programs, including demonstrations during the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. She is on the air daily on HF, using SSB or CW and satellites. In addition to her membership in ARRL, Willet belongs to AMSAT and CWOps, as well as several other clubs. She enjoys HF contesting, participating in local club events, and chasing and roving to grids on Amateur Radio satellites. Willet and her mom Sharon, KM4TVU, participated in ARRL’s highly successful National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event in 2016.
Willet has written articles for numerous amateur radio news outlets, including QST. She earned the 2017 ARRL August QST Cover plaque for her article “The 2016 Youth DX Adventure to the Caribbean Island of Saba.” The article was based on her experience as a participant in the 2016 Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX Adventure trip to Saba.
In May, Willet was presented with the Radio Club of America’s Young Achiever Award. Last spring, she was the keynote speaker at the 32nd annual SWODXA DX Dinner, held in conjunction with Hamvention®, where her topic was “Experiencing the Hobby of a Lifetime.” She also spoke at the 30th Hamvention Youth Forum in 2017 on “Plugging into Your Valuable Club Resources.”
The Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award, which includes a cash award of $1,500 and an engraved plaque to the recipient, is intended to provide a tangible reward to those deserving young amateurs who contribute their time, skills, and energies daily through their commitment to Amateur Radio. As models for their peers, and inspirations to us all, these fine young people are highly visible boosters of Amateur Radio awareness. — Thanks to ARRL Communications Manager Dave Isgur, N1RSN
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