Amateur Radio Newsline has announced that 17-year-old Skyler Fennell, KD0WHB, an ARRL member from Denver, Colorado, is the 2016 Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, Memorial Young Ham of the Year (YHOTY). The recent Denver School of the Arts honors graduate and Amateur Extra licensee was introduced to Amateur Radio when he was a high school freshman, but his interest in electronics began in 4th grade. He credits a high school friend, Jordan Walters, KD0MLV, with introducing him to Amateur Radio.
“After starting an Amateur Radio club at my high school, we all wanted to be part of a high-altitude balloon launch,” he explained on his QRZ.com profile. “After fundraising, and a number of designs, we finally launched with the Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS).” He worked with the EOSS Amateur Radio-equipped balloon launches of the AB0BX STEM School Amateur Radio Club in nearby Littleton.
Skyler was the recipient of the 2016 ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Young Ham of the Year Award as well as the Rocky Mountain Division Technical Achievement Award. This past May, he spoke at the Youth Forum at the Dayton Hamvention on “Homebrewing on a Budget.” He also addressed the Quarter Century Wireless Association forum in Dayton about how his technical interests will help him further his educational and career goals.
Skyler’s interest in satellite communication resulted in a revival of the Colorado Amateur Satellite Net; he became a net control operator and created a website for the net. He has gained extensive experience designing and working on repeater systems, and introduced the AllStar Link system for one of the Rocky Mountain Radio League’s repeaters. AllStar Link is a new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system similar to the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP), he explained on his QRZ.com profile.
He became project manager for its 440 MHz repeater and helped put together an AllStar and EchoLink repeater for students, serving as a mentor for construction of the project. He was also involved in proposing and assisting in the construction of a VHF/UHF repeater at a remote base site on Blue Mountain in the Denver area and added an AllStar link to the system.
An Eagle Scout at 13, Skyler has combined his interests in cycling and Amateur Radio, assembling a bicycle mobile setup with VHF and UHF radios. He’s also an accomplished pianist, earning first place at the recent US International Duo Piano competition in Colorado Springs earlier this year with his performance of a Poulenc sonata for piano, four hands.
He will be formally recognized as YHOTY during the Huntsville Hamfest on August 20. The Young Ham of the Year award was inaugurated by William Pasternak, WA6ITF (SK), in 1986, and after Pasternak’s death in 2015, his name was added to the award as a memorial to his commitment to recognizing the accomplishments of young radio amateurs.
Amateur Radio Newsline, CQ Magazine, and Yaesu USA are primary sponsors, along with Heil Sound Ltd, and RadioWavz Antenna Company. He will receive a gift of Yaesu Amateur Radio gear and a week at Space Camp in Huntsville, provided by CQ. — Thanks to CQ Communications