The Hamvention® Awards Committee has announced that Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, of Crescent City, Illinois, is the 2018 “Amateur of the Year.” The committee — chaired by Michael Kalter, W8CI, and Frank Beafore, WS8B — revealed the Hamvention 2018 award winners this week. The list also includes “Club of the Year,” “Technical Achievement Award,” and “Special Achievement Award.”
“We would like to thank everyone who nominated a candidate,” the committee said in announcing the award recipients. “The process is always difficult.”
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 is a co-host of the netcast “Ham Nation” and has created several how-to videos on YouTube for the ham radio community. She also enjoys giving presentations on various topics via Skype to Amateur Radio clubs across the US.
She is currently the treasurer for her contest club and the prize chairman for W9DXCC and SMC-fest. In 2017, she became very active in public service, traveling to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to help rescue small animals. She was subsequently deployed to Puerto Rico with the American Red Cross for 3 weeks as part of a group of volunteer Amateur Radio operators, facilitating critical communications after Hurricane Maria. Hotzfeld has said that Amateur Radio has enriched her life because of the challenges and great friends the hobby brings.
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. Each month features at least one Get on the Air Day, where members and non-members can use club site equipment to learn about HF and new modes of operation. “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 been named to receive 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. An inventor with 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 served as Vice President and presently as a 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, all communication services and utilities collapsed. On September 21, Perez mobilized his radio equipment to Radio Sol in San German, 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.
Awards will be presented at Hamvention 2018 in Xenia, Ohio, in May.
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