Faith Hannah Lea, KD3Z, of Palm Coast, Florida, has been selected as the 2021 Bill Pasternak WA6ITF Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year. Faith Hannah comes from an all-ham family. She is the daughter of James Lea, WX4TV, and Michelle Lea, N8ZQZ. Her brother and two sisters are also hams. She credited her parents with being the biggest influences in her entry into amateur radio at the age of 10 in 2014. Just 18 months after being licensed, Faith Hannah was invited to join the 2016 Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX team, which operated from the Saba station of Jeff Jolie, as PJ6/NM1Y.
“And that’s when I realized especially that DXing is amazing, because I absolutely love those huge pileups and getting to talk to all of those different people,” she explained.
Among her PJ6 achievements was a satellite contact that broke the SO-50 distance world record. Her account of the event appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of The AMSAT Journal.
In August 2018, Faith Hannah took part in the week-long Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) camp in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she participated in kit building, antenna projects, satellite operation, and a high-altitude balloon launch. An article about her experiences in South Africa appeared in CQ Magazine.
On the way to South Africa, Faith Hannah and her father had a 22-hour layover in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. While there, they were invited by the Emirates Amateur Radio Society to visit and operate A62A and A60YOZ.
In December 2018, Faith Hannah, her younger sister, Hope, ND2L, and their father organized a 36-hour mini DXpedition to the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico, off the southwest coast of Florida, where they operated as N4T. The family team put 1,970 HF contacts and 100 satellite contacts into the log. CQ published Faith Hannah’s account of the N4T operation, and she and Hope shared the April 2019 cover of the magazine.
Faith Hannah earned an associate degree from Daytona State College at age 15 and currently attends Stetson University in Deland, Florida, where she is recognized as a member of the junior class. She maintains a 4.0 grade point average while working toward two separate bachelor’s degrees — in molecular and cellular biology and business administration. She is considering two possible career tracks — medicine or law, or possibly both.
In 2020, she received a $25,000 scholarship from the Foundation for Amateur Radio, and in 2021, she won a $16,000 scholarship in the Voice of Democracy essay contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
She said she still finds time for amateur radio even while attending school. Amateur Radio Newsline will present the award during a virtual event in August.