A team from Essex Ham ran a busy two-day Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) event at the Belchamps Scout Activity Centre
A team from Essex Ham ran a busy two-day Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) event at the Belchamps Scout Activity Centre, Hockley in Essex, with over 200 beavers, cubs and scouts in attendance. Activities included four stations for greetings messages (2m, 20m, 40m and DMR), sending the scouts hand-drawn QSL cards via SSTV, a ‘numbers-station’ code-breaking activity, demonstration of a Clansman military radio, a ‘Your Name in Morse’ demo and ADSB aircraft tracking on a Raspberry Pi. The event was organised by scout leader Derek M0SCE and operated under the callsign GB1BEL. The finale to the event was a live packet contact with the ISS, with a greetings message successfully digipeated by the ISS across Europe. Thanks to everyone who supported this event, which Essex Ham believe was the largest JOTA event in Essex.
PADARC (see elsewhere for a report on their other recent activities) also took part in JOTA with Market Deeping Scouts. Before the JOTA weekend, three members of the Peterborough club spent two evenings preparing the Market Deeping Scouts for the event. This proved to pay dividends over the Event weekend.
The Scouts arrived on Saturday morning and were soon on the radios passing their pre-prepared messages to other JOTA groups and amateurs. Some even used PSK31 on the 40m band. In their down time, the Scouts got involved in other aspects of the hobby, including a coding/decoding game using two laptops with virtual Enigma machines, plus a Morse Code challenge game. They made 115 contacts over the weekend in 18 countries. 36 contacts were with other JOTA stations. PADARC would like to thank the Scout leaders for looking after the food and drink needs, and thanks to the Market Deeping Scouts for their good manners and excellent radio procedure.
The Torbay Amateur Radio Society (TARS) ran special event station GB0FBS in conjunction with the 1st Bradninch Scout Group. The day was scheduled to have the beavers visit first for an hour or so, followed by the cubs for an hour and a half or so, then lunch. Scouts and Explorers were invited to join for lunch if they so wished and then stay for the whole afternoon and into the evening. The theme for this year was Spies and Spying, which allowed TARS to make use of pre-prepared equipment and lead activities that they hoped would be of interest to all ages. To their surprise and pleasure, two suggestions went off really well. One was to ask each ‘age group section’ to create their own banner for broadcasting via SSTV. This really caught the imagination and some very dedicated artistic talents were demonstrated! The other was a simple ‘Code Wheel’ − one complete alphabet, set inside another, which could be rotated and used for a substitution code. Later, they were able to introduce the Scouts and Explorers to an Enigma Machine Emulator based on a Pringles crisp tube. TARS also got a group of the Scouts making antennas from ‘weird’ stuff –copper ‘Slug’ tape and an acrylic board. Remarkably, the resulting Yagi worked extremely well at both VHF and UHF. Thanks are offered to all the team who turned out to help run GB1FBS so successfully.
This article was featured in the January 2019 issue of Practical Wireless