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Hamvention® Announces 2019 Award Winners


The Hamvention® Awards committee has announced the recipients the four Hamvention 2019 awards — Amateur of the Year, Club of the Year, Technical Achievement, and Special Achievement.

Amateur of the Year

Named Amateur of the Year was Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, who founded and spearheads Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI), which joins professional researchers and the Amateur Radio community for mutual benefit. Frissel may best be known for his involvement in the 2017 Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) to study eclipse ionospheric effects. Peer-reviewed results were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

A ham since 1998, Frissell got acquainted with ham radio while in middle school at a Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) event. Scouting has played an important role over his years as a radio amateur, and Frissel, an Eagle Scout, established W2FSR at Forestburg Scout Reservation, where he served as Technology Center Director and taught radio merit badge and ham licensing for six summers. He also served three times on the K2BSA National Scout Jamboree staff.

Meeting members of the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Club (K4KDJ) at Hamvention while wrapping up his undergraduate work in New Jersey prompted Frissell to attend Virginia Tech to pursue his doctorate. His PhD research determined that medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances are primarily associated with polar vortex activity rather than auroral activity as previously thought.

Frissell is currently a research professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research, where he works with undergraduates and coordinates the annual HamSCI workshop. He is a member of ARRL, the Radio Club of America, and the American Geophysical Union.

Club of the Year

The Nashua Area Radio Society (NARS) is Hamvention 2019’s Club of the Year. The ARRL Special Service club in southern New Hampshire focuses on mentoring and youth outreach to bring newcomers into the hobby and help them to get on the air. The club has raised more than $8,000 to enable its Amateur Radio mentoring and outreach activities.

The club offers Technician, General, and Amateur Extra-class licensing classes twice yearly and has helped more 210 individuals earn a license or to upgrade with a success rate exceeding 90 percent. Field Day provides members with ample opportunity to develop practical emergency communication skills, station-building expertise, and on-air operating skills. The club holds a monthly “Tech Night,” in which members provide hands-on training to help new and experienced amateurs build stations, develop technical skills, and try new activities. NARS holds Amateur Radio Youth Expos at local events including the New England Division Convention, NEAR-Fest, and local schools and libraries.

The club has partnered with four local high schools and middle schools to develop and deliver STEM learning programs based upon Amateur Radio. One such project provides 14 hours of classroom presentations about Amateur Radio and high-altitude balloons. Through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, NARS partnered with Hudson Memorial School to help students speak via ham radio with astronaut Serena Auñón- Chancellor, KG5TMT.

Technical Achievement Award

Pietro Begali, I2RTF, is the 2019 recipient of Hamvention’s Technical Achievement Award. Begali is best known for designing and producing high-quality Morse keys and paddles. He authored History and Stories of Radio in 2005. The book includes not only radio history descriptions of radio technology, but also reflects on his personal experiences. When the market crashed for the precision knitting machines he produced, Begali dedicated his manufacturing efforts to the field of mechanics, and began designing and producing Morse keys.

Passionate about electricity, he built a crystal radio as a youngster and then graduated to regenerative receivers. Setbacks have never dimmed his passion. Workshop lessons by Professor Renato Luisa, then I1RD, and electromechanical engineer Giuseppe Masserdotti, then I1GME, helped him cultivate his strong interest in radio communication.

Licensed since 1964, Begali dedicated himself in the early years to DXing. He gravitated into experimental work with equipment, antennas, and propagation phenomena, documenting his activities in publications.

Special Achievement Award

Chris Janssen, DL1MGB/KO2WW, is the winner of Hamvention’s 2019 Special Achievement Award. Janssen served as president of World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) 2018, guiding more than 300 volunteers who put on the successful competition in Germany.

Licensed in 1990 at age 14, Janssen began contesting on VHF but shifted to HF when he took part in his first CQ World Wide DX Contest in 1993, joining the Bavarian Contest Club a year later. He went on to become a world-class contester and is part of the DA0HQ team.

His first DXpedition was to the Faroe Islands, and more than 20 other trips have followed. When time permits, he enjoys contesting or chasing DX, still trying to snag the 10 DXCC entities he’s missing.

Janssen was a referee for WRTC 2010 in Russia. Immediately after WRTC 2014 in New England, he headed a team of German radio amateurs who agreed to take on mounting WRTC 2018 in Germany. 



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