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Scouts Attending World Scout Jamboree Set to Talk with Space Station via Ham Radio


Thousands of Scouts from some 160 countries who will attend the 24th World Scout Jamboree this summer in West Virginia will have the chance to witness an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact during their stay. The theme of the World Scout Jamboree, which opens on Monday, July 22, is "Unlock a new world." If all goes according to schedule, a selected group of Scouts at Jamboree station NA1WJ will pose questions to astronaut Drew Morgan, KI5AAA, at the helm of OR4ISS on the ISS on Saturday, July 27 at around 2:30 PM. Morgan is an assistant scoutmaster. The contact will be enabled via a “telebridge” between NA1SS and ON4ISS at AMSAT-Belgium. The event will be streamed live via Facebook. Work already is under way to assemble NA1WJ for the 11-day Jamboree.

“The station is coming together pretty well, we have most of our advance team here working on antennas, radios, rotators, and all that fun stuff,” NA1WJ Trustee Bill Stearns, NE4RD, told ARRL. He also said that the launch of the first of three APRS-carrying balloons likely would take place today (July 19), with beams for NA1WJ also scheduled for mounting to on-site utility poles, “which means we’ll be into full testing mode for HF starting then,” Stearns said. The balloons are expected to reach 40,000 feet altitude and continue across the Atlantic and perhaps around the world, with tracking via APRS and WSPR. 

In its proposal for the ARISS contact, Jamboree officials said they wanted the ARISS contact to serve as “the pinnacle experience during the World Jamboree,” demonstrating to the nearly some 38,000 Scouts anticipated that “technology is a fascinating vocation as well as avocation and is a suitable area of pursuit within their Scouting program as well as at home when selecting an educational path for their lives and careers.”

The Scouting program embraces a wide range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities leading to merit badges in specific fields, including radio.

Scouts will start arriving over the July 20 – 21 weekend. The Jamboree will offer demonstrations of Amateur Radio on HF, VHF, UHF as well as multiple satellite contacts. The Jamboree also will offer Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) — hidden-transmitter hunts (foxhunting) — on 80 meters and 2 meters. More than 3,000 Scouts are expected to take part in the Amateur Radio demonstrations over the 11 days of the Jamboree, Scout officials said.  



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