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Jamboree On The Air . . . And Now The Internet

On October 16 and 17, up to half a million Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world will join together by radio and the internet in what has become known as JOTA - the Jamboree on the Air - and now JOTI, the Jamboree on the Internet.

By Ross Tester

In Scouting parlance, the word “Jamboree”, first coined by Lord Baden Powell, means a large gathering of Scouts, engaged in a range of activities which can be as diverse as pottery to caving to abseiling to . . . amateur radio!

JOTA/JOTI brings together, electronically, up to half a million Scouts (and of course Girl Guides) from theoretically just about every country on the planet.

Click for larger image
Under the watchful eyes of Scout and Girl Guide leaders, campers put together a project - in this case, an Electronic Dice from Jaycar's "Short Circuits II" book. The majority managed a working project at the end of the session – not too bad considering that many of the youngsters had never touched a soldering iron before JOTA! (This was the 2009 camp). Photo opposite: Flynn Jagoe VK6FFFF, from Perth, searches for contacts on the JOTA amateur radio network.

The 2010 event is of special significance – it’s the 100th anniversary of the Guiding movement (the Scouts had their centenary back in 2007) and at the same time, the 20th anniversary of the International Convention of the Rights of the Child. In fact, this year’s theme, “The Right to Be Heard” is directly related to article 12 of that Convention.

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is fully supporting the Scouts to participate in JOTA. And even further, IARU encourages members to educate them in radio techniques so that they may operate their own station.

The IARU Region 1 Conference 2008 in Cavtat, Croatia passed the following resolution CT08_C3_Rec 24: (Paper CT08_C3_39): In recognizing the importance of the JOTA (Jamboree-On-the-Air) for radio amateur recruiting, it is recommended that Member Societies encourage radio amateurs to assist boy Scouts and girl Guides to participate in the annual JOTA the third full weekend of October each year, organized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and to use this opportunity to present amateur radio recruiting possibilities to the Scouts/Guides.

The Wireless Institute of Australia, the peak body representing amateur radio operators in Australia (and a member of the IARU) supports and encourages its members to in turn support JOTA.

Participation in JOTA can be as simple as Scouts and Girl Guides asking a local amateur operator to come to the local scout or guide hall and set up a “portable” station, supervising Scouts and Girl Guides while they use the equipment in an attempt to contact their peers. Other amateurs really get behind their local Scout and Guides and set up radio equipment on a much larger scale.

Depending on the equipment being used, contacts may range from someone in a nearby suburb or town, right through to someone on the other side of the globe.

The World Scouting organization has recommended frequencies, covering a range of bands, for JOTA participants to use. All they have to do is get on air and call “CQ Jamboree” and anxiously wait for another Scout or Girl Guide to answer the call. (See overleaf)

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