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Dayton Hamvention Names 2020 Award Winners


Dayton Hamvention® has named five radio amateurs and one ham radio club as the recipients of its 2020 awards. Each year, Hamvention honors award winners in several categories — Amateur of the Year, Special Achievement Award, Technical Achievement, and Club of the Year. Hamvention Awards Committee co-chairs Michael Kalter, W8CI, and Frank Beafore, WS8B, thanked those who submitted nominations.

Amateur of the Year

Yasuo “Zorro” Miyazawa, JH1AJT, was named as Amateur of the Year. The award recognizes a radio amateur who has made a long-term commitment to the advancement to amateur radio. Licensed in 1964 at age 15, Miyazawa became interested in DXing and, later in his life, international humanitarian activities. He was inducted into the CQ DX Hall of Fame in 2015.

Miyazawa has led many DXpeditions that focus not just on handing out contacts but cooperating with the local population to implement needed humanitarian activities. In 2010, he established the Foundation for Global Children (FGC), which has since supported children and youth in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world in a wide range of fields, including education, health promotion, medical care, and sports. “His efforts have helped revolutionize education in Japan, by creating the learning systems for children who had difficulties in ordinary schools because of dyslexia, developmental disabilities, and other issues,” the Hamvention Awards Committee said.

In addition to chairing FGC, Zorro currently serves as chief executive officer of SEISA Group and as chair of SEISA Group's Kokusai Gakuen Education Institute. He is also a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Public Policy.

Special Achievement Award

Jordan Sherer, KN4CRD, of Atlanta, Georgia, is the recipient of the Hamvention Special Achievement Award, given to a radio amateur who made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the radio art and or science. This award typically goes to a respected radio amateur who has spearheaded a single significant project.

An experienced software engineer by day and digital amateur radio operator by night, Sherer started his journey into ham radio in 2017 exploring PSK31, JT65, and FT8. Fascinated by the ability to connect with others using low power, he set about developing a protocol for weak-signal mesh networking and communication. The result was JS8Call, a free open-source platform inspired by WSJT-X and fldigi. It allows for keyboard-to-keyboard, store-and-forward, and network relay-based communication. Since its release, thousands of hams have used JS8Call to make local and DX contacts, run digital nets, and tested NVIS propagation. It has been adopted by some Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) organizations to coordinate emergency situations.

Technical Achievement Award

Hamvention bestowed its Technical Achievement Award on a group of three radio amateurs who have become well-known for their development of the WSJT-X digital software suite. The 2020 award recipients are Steve Franke, K9AN; Bill Somerville, G4WJS, and Joe Taylor, K1JT. Over the past 7 years, the trio has collaborated on all aspects of WSJT-X — in particular, the digital protocol FT8 and its contesting variant FT4. Introduced in July 2017, FT8 has accounted for a significant portion of all HF ham radio activity. Franke retired last year as a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois. He enjoys chasing DX, studying HF and VHF propagation, and playing with RF circuits and antennas.

Bill Somerville, G4WJS, has worked in computer software and hardware in a variety of industries, including defense, software development, and financial services. Most recently, he’s been a freelance consultant providing systems programming and related services to mid-to-large software tool vendors. An active ham since 1981, he enjoys both HF and VHF, contesting, and DXing.

Joe Taylor, K1JT, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University. Steered into science by a boyhood fascination with radio and electronics, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1993 for discovery of the first orbiting pulsar. In his retirement, he has kept busy developing and using digital protocols for weak-signal ham radio communication.

Club of the Year

The South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS) of Norman, Oklahoma, is the 2020 Club of the Year. This award honors demonstrated member involvement in varied aspects of Amateur Radio for the greater good of their community and/or their nation.

SCARS is an ARRL Special Service Club named after the Canadian River. Formed in 1977, the club has worked through its website, Facebook, YouTube channel, and weekly newsletter to expand its reach to thousands of hams from the local area to around the globe.

Based in “Tornado Alley,” the club takes emergency communication very seriously. NWS SKYWARN training and weekly ARES nets offer hams in central Oklahoma an opportunity to practice their skills before the next weather emergency. The club also sponsors an “Elmer Night” and monthly free license examination sessions and participates in community public service events. The club works closely with the American Red Cross.

Awards will be presented during Hamvention, May 15 – 17, at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio. 



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