Jamboree on the Air 2014
by Enrico Fala VA3ENF
2014 marks the 57th year of Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). This was 1st Winona’s second year involved with JOTA. We invited scouts and cubs from 1st North Grimsby and 2nd Dunnville to the event. For those not familiar with JOTA, Jamboree on the Air puts scouts on the air talking to other scouts around the world therefore getting a taste of our wonderful hobby, Ham Radio. JOTA is held every year, the third week in October and brings more than 500,000 scouts together.
Since I (VA3ENF) a scout leader with 1st Winona organized the 2013 JOTA, I wanted to have more success and get more people involved. So I had to recruit some help. I recently became a volunteer at Warplane Heritage Radio Room and I asked Rick Danby (VE3BK) a former scout and scout leader to help me out and he agreed. Mardy Eedson (VE3QEE) also a former scout lent me his homemade G5RV Jr and I was set.
Saturday morning came with some light rain. We were to meet at 1st Winona Scout Hut at Winona Park at 9am. Rick arrived on time and with the help of scout patrol leaders Thomas and Stephen we had the antenna up and radio tuned on by 9:35am.
Now this same weekend is also Apple Day and for those who are not familiar with this, scouts, cubs and beavers stand in front of convenience stores and Tim Horton’s to offer apples for a small donation to raise money for scouting events. My plan was to be on the air by 11:00am so that when the scouts and cubs returned with all the money they collected they could get on the air and learn about amateur radio. We found ourselves ahead of schedule so the two patrol leaders had to do the majority of the radio work.
JOTA radio contacts are a little different than your normal rag chew. A lot of patience is required, dealing with traffic, interference and operator shyness. Remember this is the first time many scouts are talking into a microphone so station contact can last awhile. By lunch time we had seven contacts in Canada and USA on 40 meters when it was decided to pack up and move up the escarpment to 1st North Grimsby Scout hut.
On arrival at 1st North Grimsby we were met by Peter VE3DOU and Scouter Vince with some of his scouts and cubs. We began to set up again. With fewer trees to choose from it took just a little bit longer to set up but everything worked well. Scouter Gary and Nancy from 2nd Dunnville arrived with their scouts. The patrol leaders started a fire and we cooked hotdogs and roasted marshmallows. More contacts were made this time on 20 meters. All the scouts including some leaders got to have a say on the radio.
Next year I hope JOTA 2015 will have even more success. I would like to plan to have 2 radios and internet service so we can also participate in JOTI Jamboree on the Internet. Some of the scouts will become Ventures so maybe they can make their own full size G5RV antenna for a project. Also I would like to invite HARC members to come down and help out or just roast a hotdog on an open fire and share some scouting and radio stories.
Check out our JOTA pictures