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Dhruv Rebba, KC9ZJX, is 2019 Newsline Young Ham of the Year


Fifteen-year-old ARRL member Dhruv Rebba, KC9ZJX, of Normal, Illinois, has been selected as the 2019 Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year (YHOTY). His parents are Hari Rebba, VU2SPZ, and Shailaja Panyam. A rising sophomore at the Normal Community High School, Dhruv is a member of the Central Illinois Radio Club. He has been licensed since 2013, after a visit to Dayton Hamvention® with his dad sparked his interest in Amateur Radio.

“He was going to the Hamvention, and so I wanted to tag along,” Dhruv recalls. “There I got to see all the cool stuff like the Morse code keyers and all the radios and everything, and I decided to start studying for my Technician class.”

After getting his license, Dhruv became involved in ARRL Field Day and public service events with the Central Illinois Radio Club, including the We Care Twin Cities Half Marathon and the Hop on for Hope Bike Ride/Walk. Dhruv says he found a way to combine his interest in space and engineering with his new hobby, joining AMSAT and pursuing his dream of a school contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

In October 2017, he served as lead control operator for an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with students at his school, Chiddix Junior High, who spoke to astronaut Joe Acaba, KE5DAR. On July 27 of this year, Dhruv helped to facilitate another ARISS contact with Scouts attending the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, and he was able to monitor the contact from home.

ARISS presentations at Dayton and Huntsville, Dhruv’s selection as an ARISS mentor, and networking with those putting together the ARISS contact for the World Scout Jamboree led to his involvement in the July 27 contact.

In 2018, Dhruv was selected to take part in the Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX Adventure. He traveled to Curacao last summer, where the PJ2Y team logged a record 6,262 contacts with 135 entities. His favorite mode is SSB.

Dhruv has earned many accolades for his Amateur Radio pursuits, including the Young Ham Lends a Hand Award at the 2019 Dayton Hamvention Youth Forum; a Presidential Award from AMSAT, and the Radio Club of America Young Achiever Award.

Dhruv has traveled to India to promote Amateur Radio awareness. In an appearance at the ZPHS N.P Kunta school in Anantapur, he discussed the importance of wireless communication and its role during disasters.

Dhruv started the Universal Help Foundation to help underprivileged students on a global scale. Among the Foundation’s first activities was a digital project at a girls’ high school in India this past January. He also has an interest in robotics and has served as a mentor helping elementary school students build robots. This past April, Dhruv’s MetalCow Robotics team finished fourth overall in an international competition sponsored by NASA.

A visit to the AMSAT booth at Hamvention 2019 prompted him to sign on as a volunteer for an ARISS plan that’s under consideration by NASA’s Deep Space Gateway (DSG).

The Young Ham of the Year was established in 1986 by Amateur Radio Newsline cofounder Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF (SK), in 1986. After Pasternak died in 2015, his name was added to the award to memorialize his commitment to recognizing the accomplishments of young radio amateurs.

Dhruv will receive the 2019 YHOTY award during the Huntsville Hamfest on August 17 in Huntsville, Alabama. — Thanks to Amateur Radio Newsline



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