January 1 was the opening day for the ARRL International Grid Chase 2018 (IGC), and newly minted General-class operator Katie Thompsen, KI7HCX, of Mt Vernon, Washington, used the occasion to embark on the chase and to get on HF for the first time using her own call sign.
The 11-year-old comes from a ham radio family. Her dad, Todd, is W7TAO, while her older brothers are Mason, K7MWT, 15 — who upgraded to Amateur Extra at the examination session where his sister upgraded to General — and Tanner, K7TMT, 13.
“She called CQ Grid Square Chase on 20 meters and very quickly made 44 contacts,” her dad told ARRL. “She was very excited to work her first pileup and even had two Japanese stations QSO with her. She’s anxious to continue participating in the grid square chase.” Todd Thompsen said all three young radio amateurs are looking forward to participating in Rookie Roundup in April.