The Hamvention® Awards Committee has announced that Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L of Crescent City, Illinois, is 2018 Amateur of the Year. The committee, chaired by Michael Kalter, W8CI, and Frank Beafore, WS8B, announced the winners of the Hamvention 2018 award 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,” said the committee when the award winners were announced. “The process is always difficult.”
Hotzfeld was first licensed in 2006 and was very active in local amateur radio clubs and in ARES. When she “discovered” HF, she was obsessed with DXing and contesting. In recent years she has enjoyed inviting new hams to DX or competitions at her station. She was a pilot or main pilot for four major DXpeditions.
Hotzfeld is co-moderator of the netcast “Ham Nation” and has created several videos on YouTube with instructions for the amateur radio community. She also enjoys giving presentations on various topics on Skype for amateur radio clubs in the US.
She is currently the treasurer of her competition club and award chairperson for W9DXCC and SMC-fest. She became very active in the public service in 2017, traveling to Texas after Hurricane Harvey to rescue small animals. She then spent three weeks with the American Red Cross as part of a group of volunteer amateur radio operators in Puerto Rico to facilitate critical communications following Hurricane Maria. Hotzfeld said that amateur radio has enriched her life because of the challenges and good friends the hobby brings with it.
Club of the year
Portage County’s Amateur Radio Service (PCARS) from Ravenna, Ohio, is Hamventions Club of the Year 2018. PCARS was founded in November 2005 and is a special service club affiliated with ARRL.
PCARS members host an average of 40+ hours of club activity per month, including special interest groups, licensing training, on-site competitions (K8BF), and club social events. “Our members cover a wide range of interests that enable us to support public safety organizations, student outreach programs, and activities promoting our hobby,” the club told the Hamvention Awards Committee. “We love to share our experiences and have to fill our events with a lot of fun. Members joined PCARS because we have so many activities and fun. “
The club donated more than $ 6,000 in time and money to the community last year. It has launched its own competitions 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 annual National Parks on the Air event in 2016.
Every year PCARS sponsors several “Build Days” with projects such as self-built transceivers, antennas and digital devices, with which members can expand their horizons to new areas of amateur radio. Every month there is at least one Get on the Air day on which members and non-members can use the club’s equipment to find out about HR and new operating modes. “It’s about building our hobby, helping our community, building our skills, and most importantly, having fun,” said PCARS.
Technical Achievement Award
Chip Cohen, W1YW from Belmont, Massachusetts, received the Hamvention 2018 Technical Achievement Award. Licensed for 52 years old and bitten by antenna failure, Cohen became a radio astronomer and astrophysicist, working at Arecibo, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Very Large Array (VLA), and others. As a professor at Boston University, Cohen combined fractal geometry with antennas and thus made a paradigm shift in the design of fractal antennas and their possibilities. Cohen, an inventor with 41 U.S. patents, is known for inventing the invisibility cape using fractal antenna techniques.
W1YW started out with simple flea market treasures 30 years ago, honed antennas with modest equipment, and used amateur radio to report on the success of its new technology. He founded Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. in 1995 with WA1ZWT (SK) and is currently its CEO.
Cohen is a DXCC Top of the Honor Roll DXer and a strong advocate of the technical “culture of innovation” through amateur radio. He is a lifelong member of ARRL and a Fellow of the Radio Club of America, where he served as vice president and currently director.
Heriberto Perez, KK4DCX; Victor Torres, WP4SD, and Emilio Ortiz Jr., WP4KEY are the winners of Hamvention’s 2018 Special Achievement Award. All communications services and utilities collapsed after Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico last September. On September 21, Perez, accompanied by Torres and Ortiz, mobilized his radio equipment at Radio Sol in San German, the local public broadcaster.
The team handled health and social intercourse with thousands of families across the continental US. With the support of more than 45 radio amateurs in the United States, more than 4,000 messages were delivered by phone.
The awards will be presented at Hamvention 2018 in Xenia, Ohio in May.