Get Ready for the 51st Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) This Weekend
When Scouts want to meet young people from another country, they usually think of attending a quadrennial World Jamboree. But each year, more than 400,000 Scouts and Guides "get together" over the airwaves for the annual Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA). This year, JOTA celebrates its 51st anniversary. JOTA follows a 48 hour schedule beginning at 0000 local time on Saturday, October 18, continuing through 2400 local time on Sunday, October 19.
JOTA is an annual event where Boy and Girl Scouts and Guides from all over the world speak to each other by means of Amateur Radio. Since the first Jamboree-on-the-Air was held in 1958, millions of Scouts have met each other through this event. Many contacts made during JOTA have resulted in pen pals and links between Scout troops that have lasted many years. With no restrictions on age or on the number of participants, JOTA allows Scouts to contact each other via ham radio. Many Scouts and leaders hold licenses and have their own stations, but the most participate in JOTA through stations operated by local radio clubs and individual radio amateurs.
There are many resources available on the ARRL's JOTA Web site for Scouts to use as they prepare for JOTA. Scout leaders can also access the ARRL's Scouting Web pages that list resources to help teach the Radio Merit Badge, conduct a foxhunt, build an antenna or provide other activities to explore the excitement of Amateur Radio.
Last year, the ARRL introduced a JOTA feature that proved to be such a success that the League is bringing it back for this year's event. The JOTA Storyboard is a place where Scouts from all over the world can post stories and pictures on how they participated in their JOTA activities. Let other Scouts read your stories and catch the excitement of Amateur Radio and Scouting.
Stations that participate in JOTA should call "CQ Jamboree," or answer stations doing so. Any authorized frequency may be used. The World Scout Bureau recommends that stations use the agreed World Scout Frequencies:
- 80 meters -- 3.690 and 3.940 MHz (SSB), 3.570 MHz (CW)
- 40 meters -- 7.090 and 7.190 MHz (SSB), 7.030 MHz (CW)
- 20 meters -- 14.290 MHz (SSB), 14.060 MHz (CW)
- 17 meters -- 18.140 MHz (SSB), 18.080 MHz (CW)
- 15 meters -- 21.360 MHz (SSB), 21.140 MHz (CW)
- 12 meters -- 24.960 MHz (SSB), 24.910 MHz (CW)
- 10 meters -- 28.390 MHz (SSB), 28.180 MHz (CW)
- 6 meters -- 50.160 MHz (SSB), 50.160 MHz (CW)
In addition to local Scouts getting on the air for JOTA, national Scouting associations around the world fire up their rigs for the event, too. National organizations that have participated in JOTA in recent years include:
- HB9S -- World Scout Bureau, Geneva Switzerland
- K2BSA -- Boy Scouts of America National Office, Dallas, Texas
- JA1YSS -- Boy Scouts of Nippon National Office, Tokyo, Japan
- PA6JAM -- Scouting Nederland National Station, Sassenheim, Netherlands
- 5Z4KSA -- The Kenya Scouts Association, Paxtu Station, Nyeri, Kenya
- VK1BP -- The Scout Association of Australia National Station, Canberra, Australia
- GB2GP -- The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, London, United Kingdom
- XE1ASM -- Boy Scouts of Mexico
- DX1BSP -- Boy Scouts of the Philippines
- TF3JAM -- Scouts of Iceland
JOTA is not a contest; the idea is not to contact as many stations as possible during the weekend. Radio operators run their stations in accordance with their national licensing regulations. Check the ARRL Web site for a review of control operator rules.
All groups participating in JOTA are asked to send a report of their activities to their National JOTA Organizer (NJO) and to the ARRL JOTA Desk after the event (find the name and e-mail address of your NJO here). NJOs then forward their national JOTA reports to the World Scout Bureau for the World JOTA Report, published by the World Scout Bureau.
Although the worldwide JOTA is organized in October, Scouts can meet on the air at other times during the year. Regular Scout nets (a pre-arranged time and frequency when operators meet) are organized nationally or regionally. An updated list of these nets can always be found in the latest World JOTA Report.
AO-51 to be Used for JOTA
AMSAT-NA has announced that they are again supporting JOTA by dedicating AO-51 operation to the event. According to AMSAT Vice President for Operations Drew Glassbrenner, KO4MA, the satellite will be configured as a single channel V/U repeater. He asks that users limit QSOs to those between or involving at least one JOTA station during this weekend. The frequencies used for this weekend will be 145.880 FM uplink, and 435.300 FM downlink, no PL tone required. The mode change should occur at around 0000 UTC on the 18th (Friday evening in the US) and run for approximately 48 hours.
JOTA DX Stations On the Air
Bernie McClenny, W3UR, of The Daily DX, reports that the following DX stations will be on the air for JOTA:
- The Tunisian Scout Amateur Association (CAST) will be on the air with the following stations on October17-19: 3V8SM (Djerba Island AF-083); 3V8CB; 3V8SQ, Monastir, and 3V8ST, Tunis. QSL via the bureau. Do not send dollars or other money.
- David Hutchinson, GI4FUM/EI4DJ, is expected to begin in Swaziland as 3DA0DJ on October 17, with activity until the October 27. He will use 3DA0SS (Swazi Scouts) during JOTA. He will be operating from a station in Hawane.
- The Yongsan US Military Garrison, HL9BSA, in South Korea, will be on from Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea during JOTA. McClenny said they will be on 10-40 meters on CW, SSB and limited satellite operations (and possibly RTTY). Both American and Korean hams plan to operate. Send QSLs via Harry Rudolph, WX8C, or direct.
- In Egypt, hams will be using special call SU8JOTA at the Cairo International Scout Centre. Activity will be on the HF bands on CW and SSB, including 160 meters and their VHF network to EchoLink. Send QSLs via Said Kamel, SU1SK.
US Boy and Girl Scouts who participate in JOTA may purchase a JOTA patch to wear on their uniforms. These patches are available from the respective Scouting organizations, not the ARRL. Information on purchasing the patches can, however, be found on the ARRL's JOTA Web page.