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RAC Amateur of the Year for 2014: Alex Shovkoplyas, VE3NEA
Submitted by Stan Leschinsky, VE3TW

The RAC Board of Directors takes great pleasure in announcing the selection of Alex Shovkoplyas, VE3NEA, as the Canadian Radio Amateur of the Year for 2014. Through the Radio Amateur of the Year Award, Radio Amateurs of Canada recognizes the outstanding contributions made by Canadian Amateurs.

Alex Shovkoplyas, VE3NEA, is renowned through his unique and innovative software. Available at http://www.dxatlas.com/ his programs are in wide use by many operators around the globe. A diverse menu of tools is available to the Amateur. CWskimmer, as a notable example, allows the simultaneous decoding of all CW signals within the receiver passband. It is now well established, has changed Amateur Radio forever and is closely connected to the Reverse Beacon network. Many will credit his MorseRunner program as their main method of improving CW skills. Recently, DXAtlas has been supplemented with Gritty, an RTTY decoder. In addition, Alex also provides several other innovative tools for download as aids to the DXer.

I was born in Ukraine, got my Masters degree from Dnipropetrovsk State University, and worked for several years as electrical engineer. I learned programming by self-education and have been a software developer for the last 25 years. Currently, I have a day-time job with a software company and I spend all nights and weekends writing my own Ham Radio software.

I got my first call sign, UB5EMI, in 1981. At that time I used only homebrew equipment. I still like homebrewing, but these days I prefer to homebrew software rather than hardware. In fact, all of my programs for Ham Radio were written for my own use. I just developed what I needed for DXing and, if I thought the program might be useful to other Hams, I published it as either freeware or shareware.

I like DXing more than any other kind of Ham activity. I started chasing DX from Canada in 2004, and now I am at 325 DXCC CW. I use a homebrew Hex-Beam and a dipole with my TS-570, but my most important tool is software – especially CW Skimmer. Ironically, I do not use its decoding capabilities, all I use is its waterfall display that helps me both find DX before it is spotted on the cluster, and crack the pileups once they develop. – 73 Alex VE3NEA

In recognition of Alex’s numerous and significant contributions to Amateur Radio, he is the recipient of the 2014 RAC Amateur of the Year Award.

The plaque honouring VE3NEA’s achievements was presented by RAC Ontario South Director, Phil McBride, VA3QR/VA3KPJ, at the York Region Hamfest which was held at the Markham Fairgrounds on November 3. Congratulations Alex!