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ARRL Announces New Youth Editor

10/21/2008

The ARRL has announced Duncan MacLachlan, KU0DM, of Prairie Village, Kansas, as the new Youth Editor and will write the Youth@HamRadio.Fun column. MacLachlan, 13, takes over from Andrea Hartlage, KG4IUM, as she continues her education at the Georgia Tech. Amateur Radio runs in the MacLachlan family -- 12 family members are hams. "I got interested in ham radio through Boy Scouts," MacLachlan said, "but it was with family support that I got licensed."

An ARRL member, MacLachlan was first licensed in February 2006. "I passed my Technician and decided I might as well get the code out of the way at the same time," he said. "I came home that afternoon with my CSCE and began the cycle of looking at radios, checking their price and then checking to see if I was in the database. Finally, after what felt like a year, but was really just a few days, I learned my call: KC0VVU."

Using an old handheld transceiver that his uncle, Phillip Fry, WD0FHK, loaned him, MacLachlan quickly got on the air. "I soon learned that I wasn't going to get into any repeaters from my room, so I put on a jacket and went outside to brave a February evening to talk on the radio," he said. "It was worth it! But it wasn't long that I got restless with being restricted to VHF/UHF -- I wanted to be able to talk around the world! I decided it was time to get to work on getting my General class license. I studied for two weeks and passed that test in April 2006 at a local hamfest."

MacLachlan said he remembers "getting on HF and gleefully calling CQ every afternoon." But soon, he said, he caught the DX bug: "I was satisfied with stateside QSOs, but not for long. I had heard about DX hunters, and the 'last 25,' so after doing some research, I knew I'd need my Amateur Extra license to get those contacts. After about a year of procrastinating, I decided it was time to start studying for my Extra. I think late January 2007 was one of the happiest times of my ham career: I had passed my Extra! Later that year, I changed my call to KU0DM. The KU is for University of Kansas (go Jayhawks!) and the DM is for my initials."

Since then, MacLachlan has become active in public service and emergency communications. "I feel that it is very important to provide Amateur Radio communications when asked or needed and that we do it in a way that is efficient for the operation and that respects accepted practice on the bands. I am currently the coordinator for the Johnson County ARES Rapid Response Team. My job is to assemble a roster of amateurs who are ready to respond at moment's notice to any disaster or request to aid in communications."

Outside of public service, MacLachlan, who calls himself a "big APRS geek," enjoys helping to build and maintain repeaters and digipeaters, trying to get the most range and reliability out of them. "I am a huge DXer," he said. "My total is currently at 110 entities (with a dipole and 100 W). When I get the chance, I'll put in an effort for almost any contest. I mainly operate SSB, but am getting up to speed on my CW after a year-long hiatus. I also enjoy weak-signal/sound card modes on HF and spend a lot of my time on PSK31 or RTTY. My favorite band is 15 meters. It is really almost always open, but people just don't use it."

Outside of ham radio, MacLachlan is an 8th grader at Indian Hills Middle School: "I enjoy football, basketball, climbing, swimming, listening to music and just spending time with friends and family. I am a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 91 and am working toward my Eagle Scout rank. I also am a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow. I'm always looking ahead to see what's next in life and Amateur Radio!"

The two previous ARRL youth editors -- Hartlage and Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT -- have both received the prestigious Hiram Percy Maxim Award from the ARRL, as well as Amateur Radio Newsline's Young Ham of the Year Award (YHOTY). Hartlage was also awarded the Goldfarb Scholarship from the ARRL Foundation in 2007. Mileshosky currently serves as Rocky Mountain Division Director; he is the youngest ham to be elected ARRL Vice Director and Director.



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