Jamboree on the Air -- Coming This Weekend to a Radio Near You!
With the BSA centennial celebration as a backdrop, the 53rd Annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) will provide an opportunity for Scouts to get on the air and get a taste of the fun and magic of radio that has captivated many a young person over the past 100 years.
JOTA is an international scouting event organized by the World Scouting Bureau. While JOTA officially starts at 12 midnight local time Friday night/Saturday morning and goes until midnight Sunday local time, there will be plenty of stations on the air Friday evening. The official Scouting frequencies will be the center of operations. A listing of those frequencies, information about third party traffic restrictions and other details can be found on the ARRL Web site or on the World Scouting site. Each JOTA event provides an opportunity for a local club or Scout troop to get something started that can result in the beginning of a tradition of fun-filled activities.
The FM repeater aboard the South African Sumbandila OSCAR 67 (SO-67) satellite will be active over North and South America this for JOTA. According to the announcement from AMSAT-NA Vice President of Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, the repeater will be available for 15 minutes beginning at the following dates and times (all times UTC):
- October 16: 10:39, 12:12, 13:37, 15:09, 16:42, 18:14, 19:47, 21:20, 22:38, 22:54, 23:55
- October 17: 00:14, 01:28, 01:44, 03:00, 03:19, 04:55, 06:35, 10:20, 11:53, 13:15, 13:32, 14:50, 16:23, 17:56, 19:29, 21:01, 22:35
The SO-67 repeater receives at 145.875 MHz FM (233.6 CTCSS) and re-transmits at 435.345 MHz FM. Local pass predictions are available from AMSAT-NA’s online calculator.
At the ARRL, we received reports from a number of groups who, in 2009, participated in JOTA for the first time. Here are a few of those stories:
- The National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas hosted JOTA for the first time in 2009. The Irving Amateur Radio Club, along with other hams from the Dallas/Fort Worth area with the Circle Ten and Longhorn Scout Council and support from BSA Headquarters, hosted 400 Scouts and guests. Ham radio activities included five operating positions: HF phone, HF PSK31, IRLP 1 and IRLP 2 and a VHF station. There were also several demonstrations of amateur satellite communication throughout the day. Visit the BSA Web site for a photo slide show and audio of the 2009 National Scouting Museum JOTA activities. -- Tom Schuessler, N5HYP
- This was the first time that the Gaston County (North Carolina) Amateur Radio Society and Gaston County ARES® had teamed up with the Two Rivers District of the Piedmont Council of the Boy Scouts of America to provide a JOTA experience for local scouts. We combined our JOTA with a “Webeloree” that was going on at a nearby park. We had more than 70 Cub and Boy Scouts take part in the event. For most of the scouts, this was their first time to ever hear, much less transmit over, an Amateur Radio station. We had scouts lining up to get on the radio, with many gathering around the HF rig to hear some DX stations and to see us demonstrate PSK31 and CW. In all, we talked to scouts and hams in five states and two countries! We combined the JOTA station with the Communicator pin for the Webelos and helped them to fulfill the requirements for that award. Those scouts who were not directly in front of the radio were learning about radio theory, signal propagation and trying out Morse code on a code key oscillator. -- Bill Stevenson, AJ4JZ
- Mount Vernon, Iowa’s Boy Scout Troop 40 participated in their first ever JOTA during their Fall Camporee at Camp Waubeek, north of Cedar Rapids. As the Scouts had just concluded a Radio Merit Badge class, they were very enthusiastic about the opportunity to try their hand at ham radio. As set-up concluded about 3 PM, the boys gathered around the picnic table that had become the improvised ham station and eagerly awaited their turn at the mic. One by one, they experienced QSOs with hams and scouts in New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Idaho, Tennessee and other locations; a few even got their first taste of contesting, making contacts in the Iowa QSO Party. In all, nine Boy Scouts and four Cub Scouts experienced the magic of ham radio! Many boys inquired about the telegraph key at the table and asked about learning Morse code. Early Sunday morning -- when 20 meters opened up -- the boys got to hear some DX from England, Germany and Russia. Even teardown didn’t diminish the excitement. As the gear was packed away for next year, nearly every boy expressed an interest in getting a license and asked about bringing a license class to Mount Vernon. You can be sure they are looking forward to Troop 40’s Second Annual JOTA operation!” -- Dave Cripe, NM0S