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Youth on the Air Campers Activating W8Y, ARISS Contact Set for July 14

07/13/2021

The first Youth on the Air (YOTA) camp for young radio amateurs in North, Central, and South America is now under way in West Chester, Ohio. Among other activities, campers are operating special event station W8Y from both the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township and from the camp hotel. The camp will run until Friday, July 16.

The approximately two dozen campers will enjoy an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with ISS crew member Akihiko Hoshide, KE5DNI, on Wednesday.

“This ARISS contact is intended to inspire these young hams to learn more about communication using amateur satellites and making ARISS radio contacts,” ARISS said this week in announcing the contact date.

ARISS team member John Sygo, ZS6JON, in Paardekraal, South Africa, will serve as the telebridge relay station. The ARISS contact is set for July 14 at 11:03 AM EDT (1503 UTC). The contact will be livestreamed.

“We are very excited to finally bring this program to the Americas,” Camp Director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, told ARRL. “Our young people are bringing an incredible lineup of hands-on sessions for their peers. We hope this pilot gives us the information we need to replicate this camp over multiple locations for years to come. We also hope this brings a more robust community of young hams into amateur radio.”

The long-awaited summer camp for up to 30 hams aged 15 through 25 was set for last June but had to be rescheduled until this summer because of COVID-19 pandemic concerns. The camp for young hams in the Americas took its cue from the summer Youngsters on the Air camps held for the past few years in various IARU Region 1 countries.

The Region 2 camp is aimed at helping participants to take their ham radio experience to the next level by exposing them to a variety of activities and providing the opportunity to meet other young hams. Activities include kit building, antenna building, transmitter hunting and direction finding, digital modes, and a high-altitude balloon launch. Amateur satellite operation is one of the workshops provided. Others include effective radio communication, local ham radio history, and using amateur radio during emergencies.

W8Y will be on the air as campers complete projects, between sessions, and during free time. Dedicated operating times on HF will include Tuesday, July 13, 1800 – 2130 UTC. Dedicated satellite station operating times will be Thursday, July 15, 1400 – 1700 UTC, and Friday, July 16, 1500 – 1700 UTC.

The camp’s opening observance on Sunday featured keynote speaker Tim Duffy, K3LR, who told the campers, “Amateur radio is the best hobby in the world!”

An hour-long closing ceremony on Friday, July 16, will get under way at 1700 UTC. The YouTube channel will also feature a daily video highlighting the activities of the previous day.

ARRL and The Yasme Foundation donated project kits for the campers. XTronics provided temperature-controlled soldering stations. The brochure on the Youth on the Air website includes more details about the camp. — Thanks to ARISS for some information 



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