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Young Radio Amateurs from around the World Gather for YOTA Summer Camp

08/12/2019

The 9th annual Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) Summer Camp opened over the weekend with pomp, circumstance, and celebratory dancing. This year’s Summer Camp is taking place in Bankya, Bulgaria, under the sponsorship of the Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs (BFRA), Bulgaria’s International Amateur Radio Union member-society. After welcoming words from BFRA and IARU Region 1 representatives, the YOTA participants joined local residents and a performing troupe in dancing to traditional Bulgarian folk music. Approximately 80 young radio amateurs from 28 countries arrived in Bankya — near Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia — on August 11. They’ll be engaging in a range of activities, from operating the camp station LZ19YOTA, to building kits and antennas, sightseeing, and getting acquainted.

“There is unfortunately no team from Region 2 (the Americas) taking part this year,” IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group Chair Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, told ARRL. “Most [participants] are from Europe, but also South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, and New Zealand.” Participants all are under the age of 26.

Given the international nature of Amateur Radio, cultural exchange won’t be in short supply. The typical YOTA intercultural evening, group work, and the Train The Trainer program — instituted at last year’s Summer Camp — will also take place.

Youth teams are attending from Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

The YOTA Summer Camp in Bulgaria continues through August 17. Last year’s YOTA camp was held in South Africa.



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