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Ham Radio “a Special Hobby,” Young ARRL Member Tells College Publication


A rising star in the Amateur Radio world 19-year old Ruth Willet, KM4LAO, of Lawrenceville, Georgia — has caught the eye of her school, Kettering University in Michigan, where she is majoring in mechanical engineering and engineering physics. Willet already has attracted attention through her ham radio activities. Last spring, she was the keynote speaker at the 32nd annual DX Dinner® held in conjunction with Hamvention®, where her topic was “Experiencing the Hobby of a Lifetime.” The previous summer she was a member of the 2016 Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX Adventure (YDXA), which operated from the island of Saba that year. Last year, she won the QST Cover Plaque Award for the article she wrote about her YDXA experience. At the 30th Hamvention Youth Forum in 2017, Willet spoke on “Plugging into Your Valuable Club Resources.” She is the recipient of the ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Scholarship.

Kettering University News took notice of Willet in a February 12 article, “Kettering University Student Brings Ham Radio Hobby, Expertise to Campus,” by Sarah Schuch. The article explains how an early fascination with Morse code led Willet into ham radio and inspired her to obtain her license in 2015. She now holds an Amateur Extra-class license.

“I would encourage people to consider exploring Amateur Radio, because it’s a hobby that allows you to explore anything from technical electronics to international friendships,” Willet is quoted in the article. “It’s such a special hobby because there’s so many people that want to get to know you and want to help you learn and grow. It really has enabled me to mature into who I am today.”

Set to graduate in 2021, Willet said her ham radio experiences have taught her a lot, some of which she is able to apply to her studies, and vice versa. She hopes to start an Amateur Radio club on campus this spring to get more students interested. In the article, Willet also pointed to Amateur Radio’s public service role, citing the devastating 2017 hurricanes, where ham radio sometimes was the only available communication resource.

Ruth Willet and her mom Sharon, KM4TVU, participated in ARRL’s highly successful National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event in 2016, which also was mentioned in the Kettering article.

“It’s a stress relief for me,” Willet said in the article. “I really enjoy sharing this hobby with other students.”



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