Young Hams Make QSOs Around the Globe at K3LR Super Station

The 2023 Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX Adventure (YDXA) is in the books—and by all accounts it was a huge success. Hosted by DX Engineering CEO Tim Duffy, K3LR, at the K3LR super station in western Pennsylvania, this year’s adventure—the first held in the U.S. since the program’s inception—included four skilled operators working the world as W3Y during the RSGB IOTA Contest on July 29.

Katie Campbell, KE8LQR; Grace Papay, KE8RJU; Agnes Wagner, AD8IR; and Ben Wagner, AD8FQ, took full advantage of the opportunity to operate from this powerful station, making 2,283 SSB QSOs on five bands during the event. They made contacts with amateurs in all 50 states, six continents, and 60 DXCC entities, while bonding as a team and impressing DX chasers with their on-air abilities. The four amateur radio operators rotated from station to station so each had a chance to work all bands.

As one chaser commented, “I had contact with all four young hams. Kudos to the youth and all those who organized the event. I was especially pleased to see our two Y.A.C.H.T. (Young Amateurs Communications Ham Team) members, Grace and Katie, on the team. Kudos to Tim Duffy for believing in our youth and giving them this golden opportunity to show their ham operational skills.” Y.A.C.H.T. is an international organization committed to helping hams experience the ways “we can enjoy the many aspects of ham radio,” per its website.

Every year since its founding, the YDXA program has sent licensed hams ages 12-17 on DXpeditions with the goal of honing their abilities and creating unforgettable experiences that will foster a lifelong passion for amateur radio. The program, which is supported by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, was named for founding YDXA member Dave Kalter, KB8OCP, who became a silent key in November 2013.

Amy Leggiero, N8AMY and Teri Grizer, K8MNJ, also served as hosts of this year’s operation, which was led by Michael Kalter, W8CI, and Jim Storms, AB8YK.

young lady sitting at controls of an amateur ham radio station
“I learned a lot about serious contesting at a serious contest station!” said Agnes, AD8IR. “I’ll definitely be applying everything I learned to future events with my family and with my club.” (Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)
young lady typing on keyboard at a large ham radio station
Katie, KE8LQR, earned her Technician and General licenses at age 10 and her Extra at 11. “In the future, I’m hoping to continue the legacy of Amateur Radio,” she said during her presentation at DX Engineering. “We have a very active school club, K8LPS, and right now we’re actually working on getting a station established at the school. Thanks to many generous donations from DX Engineering and lots of local individuals and businesses, we’re really trying to get kids interested and keep it going because it has been super influential and amazing for me.” (Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)
young man sitting at desk of a large amateur ham radio station
 “While operating on 20 meters, I learned strategies that helped me handle the big pileups,” said Ben, AD8FQ. “The experience was awesome, and it gave me a new perspective on next level contesting!” (Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)
a pair of ham radio operators using an amateur radio station
“Being a part of the Youth DX Adventure taught me the value of operating as a team, which requires working together even though we were operating on different bands,” Grace, KE8RJU, said. “I also learned that operating for over nine hours requires stamina and being mentally engaged to be successful. As a young amateur it was exciting to be around veteran operators who were there to encourage and help us become better operators. The Youth DX Adventure experience has strengthened my ability to effectively communicate with stations and make contacts around the globe. One takeaway from this experience is that contesting takes strategy and is a lot of fun! Thank you for an awesome experience!” (Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)
a ham radio elmer teaching a young amateur radio operator
Tim Duffy, K3LR, and Agnes, AD8IR. (Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)
a group of young ham radio operators standing under umbrellas outside in the rain
A little rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of Team W3Y! (Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)

“It was a pleasure to have such bright and accomplished youngsters operating again at K3LR,” said Duffy, who offered his encouragement and advice during the event. “We are all immensely proud of Team W3Y and thankful for the support of their parents and all the operators who sought them out on the air. We will certainly be planning more of these opportunities for young hams in the future.”

On July 28, the group of four hams and parents attended a lunch at DX Engineering in Tallmadge, Ohio, along with DX Engineering staff.

a group of young and old ham radio operators
From left to right at DX Engineering headquarters: Nick Wagner, AC8QG; Agnes Wagner, AD8IR; Ben Wagner, AD8FQ; Robert Campbell, KE8LYZ; Katie Campbell, KE8LQR; Grace Papay, KE8RJU; and Doug Papay, K8DP. Not pictured is Katie’s mother Colleen Campbell, KB8VAQ, who attended the July 29 event at K3LR. (Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)
cake made for a ham radio youth experience
(Image/OnAllBands – Katie Rockman)

After the meal they were treated to a surprise Zoom greeting from former YDXA participant Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO. Later, each young ham gave a ten-minute presentation on “What Being a Ham Means to Me.”

Watch the video of their presentations below, as well as a video of the team operating at K3LR. We think you’ll agree that the future of amateur radio is in good hands.


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