JOTA gets scouts on the air

At the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum Saturday, we participated in the 54th Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). As the website says, “The Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, is an annual Scouting event that uses amateur radio to link Scouts around the world, around the nation, and in your own community.”

We didn’t have a big turnout, but we had a lot of fun. The hams that turned out included Pat, W8LNO; Quentin, KD8IPF; and Mark, W8MP. Pat and Quentin are both involved in the Scout leadersip; Mark’s 14-year-old son, Brian, KD8EEH, is an Eagle Scout. In addition to Brian, we had four Cub Scouts, whose names I didn’t write down (sorry!), and via 2m FM, Stuart, KD8LWR.

They all were able to talk to other Scouts, all on 20m phone.

The highlight of our operation was our QSO with XE1L in Mexico City. XE1L is the station of Luis, a friend of W8MP. This was not a scheduled contact at all. We just happened to run across them.

Brian, KD8EEH, made the contact, and spoke in Spanish with the two Mexican Scouts, Stephanie and Alex, for more than 45 minutes. I was certainly impressed with Brian’s Spanish skills. I don’t think that I could have kept up the conversation so long.

In addition to the HF station, I set up our 2m radio and connected to several EchoLink nodes at which hams were participating in the JOTA. One of them was in California, the other in Ontario. Stuart talked to several of the Scouts in Canada.

Next year, we might think about being a bit more organized. That might make the experience a little more educational for the Scouts, but just getting them on the air was a lot of fun.

JOTA 2011

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