NEW YORK – Christopher Brault, KD8YVJ, of suburban Cincinnati, has been selected as the 2020 Bill Pasternak WA6ITF Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year.
Chris, 18, is the son of Jocelyn Brault, KD8VRX, and Kimberly Brault, of Liberty Township, Ohio. Chris earned his Technician class license in 2014 and passed his General ticket about a year later.
He said his father was his guide into amateur radio. Chris recalled car trips, watching and listening to his father operating mobile. “We would be on a road trip somewhere,” Chris said. “We’d be talking to people along the way, it seemed like fun.” Chris is a member of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, the West Chester Amateur Radio Association, and the Ohio Valley Experimenters Club.
An honor student entering his senior year at St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati, Chris helped restart the school’s amateur radio club (W8GYH). He has earned recognition for his many achievements in promoting amateur radio including the Hiram Percy Maxim Award (2015); the Ohio Section Special Recognition Award (2016); and the Great Lakes Division Young Amateur of the Year (2017). In 2017, Chris was invited to join the Dave Kalter Youth DX Adventure to Costa Rica where he worked the stations with Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO, the 2018 YHOTY award winner, and Austin Harris, WA8CCS, in making more than 3,100 contacts.
Chris also helped in the planning of an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact in 2016 and spoke with Astronaut Kate Rubins KG5FYJ while she flew overhead. Chris is social media director for the Youth on the Air organization and is a contesting mentor for youth who are involved in its programs. He is also a tour guide for the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester, Ohio, and actively assists in mentoring young operators at its amateur radio station, WC8VOA. Chris also works annually with his father on putting youth on the air in the annual Jamboree on the Air in October. He has also been a presenter at the Dayton Youth Forum (2017) and Orlando Hamcation (2017). Chris recently started working a part-time job at the Butler County Regional Airport near his home and was invited to take flying lessons. He is pursuing his private pilot’s license and is exploring a career in aviation as a commercial pilot.
The YHOTY award is traditionally presented during the Huntsville Hamfest in August in the Von Braun Center, Huntsville AL. However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the hamfest was cancelled. Chris recently received a certificate of recognition presented in West Chester, Ohio by Amateur Radio Newsline’s Don Wilbanks, AE5DW. The Young Ham of the Year Award was inaugurated by William Pasternak, WA6ITF, in 1986. Upon his passing in 2015, Bill’s name was added to the award as a memorial to his commitment to recognizing the accomplishments of young people to the amateur radio service.
Amateur Radio Newsline, CQ Magazine, and Yaesu USA are primary sponsors of the award, along with Heil Sound Ltd. and Radiowavz Antenna Company.