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QST Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, Named "Amateur of the Year"


Dayton Hamvention® has named QST Contributing Editor and Author H. Ward Silver, N0AX, as its 2008 Amateur of the Year. Hamvention says Silver's "books and teaching materials have helped many become hams." Tom McDermott, N5EG, will receive Hamvention's Technical Achievement Award to recognize his technical contributions that helped digital ham radio expand. Emery McClendon, KB9IBW, was named the recipient of the Special Achievement Award for starting Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day (ARMAD) in 2003 as a way for Amateur Radio to express support and appreciation for our service men and women. Hamvention announced its award winners today.

"I was completely surprised and hopelessly flattered to receive the award," Silver said after getting word that he would receive Hamvention's top award in May. "I got the phone call on the evening of March 31st, which was April Fool's Day in GMT, so I'm thinking...wait a minute. But it was real!"

Silver was first licensed at age 17 in 1972 as WN0GQP and upgraded to Amateur Extra and changed his call sign to N0AX in 1975. A contester and DXer, he is on the DXCC Honor Roll.

Silver's award nomination cited his "many contributions, including Ham Radio for Dummies, his first effort to show that becoming a ham does not have to be a difficult challenge. His additional books, magazine articles and his "Hands On Radio" column in QST have all helped many hams develop their knowledge and skills." Silver was awarded the ARRL's Bill Orr, W6SAI, Technical Writing Award in 2003. He is also the editor of the "Contester's Rate Sheet" and the ARRL Antenna Design Course. Silver has also written feature articles and product reviews for QST and pens the "Contest Corral" column in the journal.

While living on Vashon Island, near Seattle, Washington, Silver worked closely with community leaders and the Vashon-Maury Island Radio Club (W7VMI) to provide effective emergency communications. According to Hamvention, radio club members, along with the fire district and CERT, have created one of the "best local communications systems in the state of Washington."

Calling it "really, really nice and a complete honor" to be named Amateur of the Year, Silver told the ARRL that "It's a humbling experience to even be nominated, much less be chosen. To whoever is responsible for the nomination and to the Hamvention Committee, thank you. Receiving the award would be impossible without readers, colleagues, mentors and friends -- so it's just as much for them as it is for me. Being recognized will keep my fires lit to go on producing, strive for better accuracy and clarity and figure out how to make it all be fun, too. I'll just try to act like I deserve it -- most of the time."

Technical Achievement Award: Tom McDermott, N5EG

The Hamvention Technical Achievement Award goes to Thomas C. McDermott, N5EG, for his "more than 20 years of involvement in projects which further the development of Amateur Radio." According to Hamvention, McDemott co-developed the TexNet packet switching network in 1986; based on datagram routing, it covered much of the South Central United States in the 1990s.

McDermott, an ARRL Life Member, received the Doug DeMaw, W1FB, Technical Excellence Award in 2004. Licensed for almost 40 years, he is a member of the IEEE and holds a bachelor's in electrical engineering. His Amateur Radio interests lie in HF digital communications, hardware and software design, and an occasional HF contest.

McDermott was the founder of the Texas Packet Radio Society. As part of that group, he designed the hardware and some of the protocols for the TexNet packet switching network; he has been involved in numerous TAPR projects and has written a textbook on wireless communications. McDermott holds eight patents.

Special Achievement Award: Emery McClendon, KB9IBW

Emery McClendon, KB9IBW, received the Hamvention award for Special Achievement for his efforts starting Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day (ARMAD) in 2003. He said he started ARMAD "as a way to have Amateur Radio serve as a tool for the people of our communities to be able to express 'live' support and appreciation for our troops, veterans, retired military and first responders." McClendon, a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, became an Amateur Radio operator 16 years ago. His interest in organizing Military Special Events derives from his four years of service in the US Air Force and two years in the Indiana Air National Guard.

Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day has become a popular event, spreading to other communities. Several military support groups have developed an interest in having Amateur Radio as a part of their activities. According to McClendon's award nomination, this has resulted in introducing Amateur Radio "to thousands of people worldwide who otherwise would have never known about our public service."

McClendon is active with two local Amateur Radio clubs, as well as with giving presentations about Amateur Radio to community groups. His activities, including ARMAD, have resulted in many TV, radio and media stories during the past five years, giving Amateur Radio community exposure.

Hamvention Chairman Carl Rose, K8CPR, praised the winners, saying: "On behalf of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) and Hamvention 2008 it is my pleasure to congratulate this year's Award Winners. I ask all hams to join me in recognizing the outstanding contributions and the many years of service the winners have given to the Amateur Radio Service."

The world's largest Amateur Radio gathering, Hamvention each spring attracts more than 20,000 people to the greater Dayton area. Dayton Hamvention this year takes place Friday through Sunday, May 16-18 at Hara Arena near Dayton, Ohio. The theme of the 57th Hamvention is Amateur Radio + People = Fellowship.



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