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Dayton Amateur Radio Association Announces 2009 Award Winners


The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), host of the Dayton Hamvention®, has announced the winners of their three 2009 annual receive awards -- 2009 Amateur of the Year, the Technical Excellence Award and the Special Achievement Award -- at the annual event in May. Each year, DARA invites the amateur community to submit nominations of hams who have made significant contributions to the Amateur Radio Service.

Hamvention Chairman Carl Rose, K8CPR, praised the winners: "On behalf of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association and Hamvention 2009, it is my pleasure to congratulate this year's Award Winners. Their outstanding contributions and the many years of service exemplify what the Amateur Radio Service is."

Amateur of the Year

Wade "Danny" Hampton Jr, K4ITL, of Raleigh, North Carolina, was named the 2009 Amateur of the Year. Hampton, whose efforts helped create an extensive emergency radio network for North Carolina, is the architect of the Piedmont Coastal Repeater Network. This system, established in the early 1970s, today sports more than 40 machines in North Carolina. The system is heavily used for public service work. He has enhanced the network's utility with custom audio processing boards and RF components. The North Carolina Office of Emergency Management and SKYWARN have recognized the network's vital role in emergency communication. Recently, Hampton helped coordinate the development of a local hospital-based Amateur Radio emergency repeater system that ties 10 facilities together.

A ham since 1958, Hampton is Southeastern Repeater Association (SERA) technical committee chairman as well as ARRL North Carolina Section Technical Coordinator. "Danny's extensive knowledge of the two-way and broadcast radio industries in this state has enabled him to assist many repeater owners," said former ARRL North Carolina Section Manager John Covington, W4CC. "His advice in resolving RFI problems between repeater and commercial services, as well as other technical matters, has been extremely valuable to the Section."

Technical Excellence Award

Copthorne "Cop" Macdonald, VY2CM, of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, was named the recipient of the Technical Excellence Award. Macdonald, an SSTV pioneer, ham radio author, and renewable energy advocate, received his first ham license when he was 15. As an engineering student at the University of Kentucky, he designed and built the first ham radio SSTV system; the paper he wrote describing the system won national first prize in the 1958 AIEE student paper competition. He worked with other SSTV pioneers to get the FCC to authorize SSTV operation in the HF ham bands -- an effort that succeeded in 1968.

Macdonald wrote many articles on SSTV for QST and CQ, and in 1973 started New Directions Radio -- a network of hams concerned with using ham radio and SSTV "to help create a more aware, more caring and more responsible human society." He also wrote columns for two magazines about this issue: "Cop's Column" in CQ and "New Directions Radio" in The Mother Earth News.

In 1975, Macdonald moved to Prince Edward Island, Canada. In the early 1980s, he ran an energy conservation program there; in the 1980s and '90s, he wrote for the PEI and Canadian governments on energy conservation and renewable energy. At some point, Macdonald said he realized that what we needed as individuals -- and a world society -- is a more insightful, more caring, more prudent way of being called wisdom. He has since written three books on that subject: Toward Wisdom, Getting a Life and Matters of Consequence. In 1995, Macdonald started The Wisdom Page, a Web presence devoted to wisdom.

Special Achievement Award

Richard Garriott, W5KWQ -- legendary video game programmer/designer and ham radio operator who was the sixth private citizen to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) -- was named Hamvention 2009 Special Achievement Award winner. Garriott introduced ham radio to thousands of students from the ISS.

Like his father, Owen Garriott, W5LFL, who made history as the first ham to communicate from space with radio amateurs during the STS-9 space shuttle mission in 1983, the Hamvention Awards Committee called Richard "a ham radio pathfinder in his own right." Through on-orbit experimentation, implementation of new capabilities, extensive operations using many diverse operations modes and phenomenal educational outreach initiatives, he inspired and transformed the lives many students.

Richard Garriott's 10 day stay on the ISS represented an unsurpassed opportunity for hams and students worldwide. More than 500 two-way voice QSOs were conducted, with more than 1000 SSTV images downlinked. He communicated with tens of thousands of students in seven different Challenger Learning Centers in the US, the Austin Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy in Texas, the Pinehurst School in Ashland, Oregon, the Budbrooke School in the UK and the National Space Challenge in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Garriott also had numerous random chats with scouts worldwide as part of the Amateur Radio Jamboree on the Air (JOTA).

In an effort to kick-start the SSTV operations mode on ISS, Garriott received a specially modified Kenwood VC-H1 from the ARISS team that was left onboard the ISS, significantly enhancing ARISS educational outreach. He performed numerous SSTV experiments, and helped the ARISS team test and debug several ham radio systems on ISS, including the software-based SSTV systems, SpaceCam and MMSSTV. In his short stay on ISS, he performed 10 times more SSTV downlinks than any other crew member on the shuttle, Mir or the ISS.

Hamvention Awards Chairman Frank Beafore, WS8B, said the committee had a tough task selecting the winners from the number of worthy nominees. "We believe each winner has made a significant contribution to the ham radio community," he said. "We were again impressed with the quality of the nominations."

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 58th Hamvention is DREAM -- Digital Radio Enabling Amateurs to do More.



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