Carole Perry Educator of the Year Award Presentation

2020 HamCation Carole Perry Educator of the Year Award presentation

Neil Rapp (WB9VPG, formerly WN9VPG), the World's Youngest Amateur Radio Operator in 1976

About Neil


  • Name: D. Neil Rapp, MS, CPAA
  • Birth: September 22, 1970; Good Samaritan Hospital, Vincennes (Knox Co.) Indiana
  • Occupation: Visiting Professor of Chemistry at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • High School: Vincennes Lincoln H.S., Vincennes, IN, 1988; with honors; recipient of Academic Honors Diploma
  • Associate of Arts degree (Pre-medicine) Vincennes University, Vincennes, IN, 1990; with honors
  • Bachelor of Science degree (Majors: Chemistry; Secondary Education - Chemistry Minors: Biology, Biophysics) University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN, 1993.
  • Master of Science degree (Secondary Education, emphasis in Chemistry) University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN, 2000. (Some hours are from Butler University & Purdue University)
  • Pursued a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Kentucky in Instructional Systems Design (2001-2004)
  • Hobbies: Amateur Radio (WB9VPG), Computers, Electronics, and DJing.

Neil Rapp was born in Vincennes, Indiana on September 22, 1970. He is the son of Delbert Ray Rapp and Margaret Louise (Osmon) Rapp. Neil was born 17 years into the marriage. At the age of 5 years old, Neil became the youngest person in the world to pass the Federal Communications Commission Amateur Radio examination and obtain a ham radio license. He drew international attention from the media, including every ham radio magazine in the United States and Japan, local TV and radio, the National Enquirer, and the CBS morning news.

His records didn't stop there. At age 6, he was the youngest to pass the FCC technician class license. At age 7, Neil was the youngest to pass the FCC general class license. And at age 9, he was the youngest to pass the FCC advanced class license. (At this time, these records have been beat, but only by mere months!) At age 18, he returned to the testing and received the Amateur Extra license, the highest class that can be obtained.

Neil attended LaSalle Elementary School in Vincennes, where he was one of the most well known students. He then attended Clark Junior High School, and Lincoln High School. Neil excelled academically in all areas, but seemed to be stronger in math and science. From the 4th grade on, Neil was determined to be a doctor. After graduating with honors from high school, Neil enrolled at Vincennes University as a pre-med student. After graduating with honors from VU, while also coaching several basketball teams at once and was a part-time DJ for WFML-FM, Neil transferred to the University of Southern Indiana, where he majored in chemistry with the intent of pursing medical school. He was also a student assistant men's basketball coach for the then-NCAA Division II Screaming Eagles (1995 National Champions). He then decided to pursue his second career option: coaching basketball. Neil stayed at USI an additional year to pursue a teaching license in addition to his chemistry degree. After a successful student teaching experience, Neil was hired to teach in the Evansville-Vanderburgh Schools at Bosse High school for a year, and then seven years at Harrison High School. He coached basketball the first seven years in Evansville, announced various sports events, sponsored the Amateur Radio Club, and was the school webmaster.

Senior photo

After eight years of teaching in Evansville, Neil moved to Bloomington, Indiana to teach AP Chemistry, Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry at Bloomington High School South. Neil was at Bloomington South for 20 years teaching chemistry until 2021. While at South, he became a Certified Public Address Announcer (CPAA), contributor to the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers (NASPAA) newsletters and training materials, and served as the football, boys' basketball, and student recognitions announcer for Bloomington South. Neil also worked on various projects integrating technology into education including one of the most successful high school amateur radio clubs in the US.

He also serves voluntarily as: Camp Director for Youth on the Air (YOTA) Americas; President of E.A.R.S., a member of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station US Education Committee, a contributing editor of the National Contest Journal, a reporter and anchor for Amateur Radio Newsline, and a docent for the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting. He is also a volunteer amateur radio examiner for Laurel VEC and ARRL VEC, a trained SKYWARN weather spotter, and a graduate of the ARRL Teacher Institute. He is a past chairman and coordinator for the Indiana Repeater Council, and Evansville Hamfest Chairman.  In February 2016, he started the internet based ham radio call-in talk show Ham Talk Live!, which ended production in 2023.

Neil has received several awards, including the Indiana Radio Club Council Technical Excellence Award in 2003, the American Radio Relay League "Professional Educator of the Year" award for 2004, and the Indiana Radio Club Council Amateur of the Year Award in 2013, and the Carole Perry Educator of the Year award in 2021.

In the teaching realm, Mr. Rapp was a 1999-2000 Evansville Courier & Press/University of Evansville Outstanding Teacher of the Year Nominee, recipient of a University of Kentucky College of Education "Teacher Who Made a Difference" award (2011), and a recipient of the Leading Light award from the Franklin Initiative in 2014. His amateur radio club has received numerous recognitions and awards, including a world championship in School Club Roundup in 2013. His students have received numerous scholarships including the ARRL Goldfarb Scholarship, and awards including Newsline Young Ham of the Year and the Hiram Percy Maxim award. Mr. Rapp's students have been very successful in a variety of areas.

More information about his ham radio activities is at:

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