(Santa Clarita, California) -- At age 11, Kaitlyn Cole, KS3P, of Harvest, Alabama, becomes the youngest person* ever to receive the Amateur Radio Newsline™ "Young Ham of the Year Award." But her lack of chronologic age is more than made up for by her selfless dedication to her community and the youth of Alabama through her chosen hobby/service of amateur radio.

On April 27, 2011, the Huntsville, Alabama area, including the small community of Harvest, was hit by a series of destructive tornadoes. The severe weather took a heavy toll in lives lost and property damaged. Electrical service was out for over a week. Kaitlyn and her father immediately volunteered to help with amateur radio relief activities. Kaitlyn began by logging contacts and running errands, but in short order took on the role of Net Control Station, working for many days from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With cellular and wireline telephone coverage being spotty to non-existent, Kaitlyn’s duties as Net Control involved dispatching amateur radio operators with chainsaws (and other rubble clearance machinery) and debris pickup teams. For her efforts, Kaitlyn received many compliments from veteran operators on the professionalism that she displayed during this crisis situation.

Kaitlyn is also Assistant Section Manager for Youth Activities in the ARRL Alabama section. In this role, she visits many hamfests where she speaks to other young hams. Kaitlyn has also volunteered her services the past three years at the ARRL Expo Youth Lounge at the Dayton Hamvention© and ran a special event operation to honor the local Volunteer Fire Department in her hometown.

A straight-A student entering sixth grade this fall, the 11-year old also enjoys home-brewing and construction, and has posted on YouTube a video of herself building a QRP transceiver (seehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SK55sbxOj4 and related videos). Kaitlyn hopes her videos will encourage others to pick up a soldering iron and enjoy one of the finest traditions of ham radio.

The daughter of Stanley (NX3P) and Amy Cole, Kaitlyn joined the amateur radio fraternity at the tender age of 8. She passed her Technician exam in September 2009, her General in October 2009, and her Extra Class on January 3, 2011. Since then, Kaitlyn has participated in many amateur radio activities, with a special emphasis on the public service and youth activity aspects of the hobby.

Award Ceremony

The 2011 Amateur Radio Newsline™ "Young Ham of the Year Award" will be presented on Saturday, August 20th at the Huntsville Hamfest in Huntsville, Alabama. As the 2011 "Young Ham of the Year," Kaitlyn will receive -- courtesy of Vertex-Standard -- an expense-paid trip to the Huntsville Hamfest, along with a gift of Yaesu brand ham radio equipment. CQ magazine will treat her to an expense-paid week at Spacecamp Huntsville, and will present Kaitlyn with a variety of CQ products. Amateur Radio Newsline™ will provide Kaitlyn with a commemorative plaque at the award ceremony. Once again, the cost of year's plaque has been underwritten by Dave Bell (W6AQ), President of DBA Entertainment Inc., Hollywood, California. Heil Sound Ltd. will also be presenting Kaitlyn with a ham radio related gift.

The presentation of the award as a regular feature of the Huntsville Hamfest has been made possible through the generosity and kindness of the event's Planning Committee and the good offices of Huntsville Hamfest Association Vice President Charlie Emerson, N4OKL. (See http://www.hamfest.org)

This year's award ceremony will be hosted by Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, of Amateur Radio Newsline™, Rich Moseson, W2VU, and Chip Margelli, K7JA, of CQ Communications, along with representatives of corporate underwriters Vertex-Standard and Heil Sound.

Award Program Background

The Amateur Radio Newsline™ "Young Ham of the Year" award (formerly the Westlink Report Young Ham of the Year Award ) has been presented annually for the past 26 years to a licensed radio amateur (ham) who is 18 years of age or younger and who has provided outstanding service to the nation, his/her community or the betterment of the state of the art in communications through the amateur radio hobby/service. A website with full information on the award program and background material is located at http://www.arnewsline.org.

Award Sponsors

The award program is sponsored by the Los Angeles, California-based Amateur Radio Newsline™ with corporate support from Vertex-Standard Corporation of Cypress, California, CQ Magazine of Hicksville, New York, and Heil Sound of Fairview Heights, Illinois.

Since 1976, the Southern California-based Amateur Radio Newsline™ and its predecessor, the Westlink Radio Network, have been providing radio amateurs around the world with up-to-the-minute news at no cost to them. Amateur Radio Newsline™ also co-sponsors with the Quarter Century Wireless Association the "Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project" that serves as a clearinghouse to match radio amateurs in need of educational assistance on the hobby with those able to aid them. (See http://www.arnewsline.org)

The award's three major corporate underwriters are world leaders in their respective areas of Amateur Radio product support.

Vertex-Standard Corporation, which has been a corporate underwriter since the inception of the award program in 1986, is considered the trailblazer in the design, manufacture and distribution of high quality Vertex-Standard commercial two-way radio, monitoring and air-band communications equipment along with its Standard Horizon marine electronics line and Yaesu brand amateur radio equipment. The Yaesu name is known world-wide among ham radio aficionados and is synonymous with premium quality ham radio gear. (See http://www.vertexstandard.com)

CQ magazine and its sister publications, CQ VHF, Popular Communications and WorldRadio Online, are published by CQ Communications, Inc., and are considered the trend-setting publications serving today’s modern radio amateur. (See http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com)

Heil Sound Ltd. Is considered as a world leader in the development and manufacture of new technology microphones and related audio products for professional sound reinforcement and Amateur Radio communications. (See http://www.heilsound.com)

Past Recipients

Past recipients of the "ARNewsline Young Ham of the Year Award" include Shawn Alan Wakefield, WK5P, of Bartlesville, OK (1986); David Rosenman, KA9PMK, of Muncie, IN (1987); Jonathan Binstock, NK3D, of Potomac, MD (1988); Erin McGinnis, KAOWTE, of Topeka, KS (1989); Mary Alestra, KB2IGG, of Staten Island, NY (1990); Richard S. "Sammy" Garrett, AAOCR, of St. Louis, MO (1991); Angela (Angie) Fischer, KBOHXY, also of St. Louis (1992); Kevin Boudreaux, N5XMH, of New Orleans, LA (1993); Allison Daneen Zettwoch, KD4CKP, of Louisville KY (1994); Adam Weyhaupt, N9MEZ, of Alton IL (1995); Toby Metz, KB7UIM, of Boise ID (1996); Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, of Albuquerque NM (1997); Richard Paczkowski, Jr., KF4BIA, of Edgewater, FL (1998); Michelle Swann, KE4EZI, of Warner-Robins, GA (1999); Christopher Arthur, KT4XA, of Russelville, AL (2000); Patrick Clark, KC8BFD, of Elkwood, WV (2001); Josh Abramowicz, KB3GWY, of Reading, PA (2002); Jay Thompson, W6JAY, of Santa Ana, CA (2003); Andrea Hartlage, KB4IUM, of Grayson, GA (2004), Rebekah Dorff, WG4Y, of Hoover, AL (2005), Catherine Ferry, NC8F, of Streetville, OH. (2006), Grant Morine, W4GHM, of Wilmington, NC (2007), Emily Stewart, KC0PTL, of Leavenworth, KS. (2008), Andrew Koenig, KE5GDB of Houston, TX. (2009), Cody Anderson, KI4FUV, from Harriman, TN (2010).

(* Note: The previous youngest recipient of the award was Mary Alestra, KB2IGG, in 1990 at age 12.)