JOTA - Jamboree On The Air

Camp Carpenter: Oct. 18 from 9-4:30

The Jamboree On the Air is sponsored by the World Organization of the Scout Movement.   Participation occurs on a world wide basis, with the number of participants at last years jota event topping the 500,000 mark.   This years event at Camp Carpenter will host the traditional jota activities, but will have additional activities for the scouts. 

We have planned 10 unique positions (activities) to be available for participation.   We are putting a focus on both casual amateur radio operation, but also demonstration of community service and emergency preparedness.    Much of this may be applicable to various awards and badges that your scouts wish to earn.  

We have worked hard to put on a very exciting and educational program, I hope you find it fun and useful.    If you would like more information on a particular activity, please do not hesitate to email or call me. 

*position 1 & 2 Radio operation (jota) -- Talk with other scouts throughout the world using amateur radio.   Last year over 500,000 scouts worldwide participated in talking over the radio.  Use radio to gain a better understanding and mutual respect between people in different countries.   Communications can be in voice, text, Morse code, or picture.   Various radio channels will be used to provide the best opportunity for communications both locally and internationally.

*position 3:  Radio merit badge -- Helping Boy Scouts to earn the BSA radio merit badge.  We will cover all the requirements to earn the merit badge.   This position may take a good part of the day and starts promptly at 9:45.   The scout is expected to have read the radio merit badge booklet prior to arriving to the merit badge class.

*position 4:  Morse code -- Learning and using Morse code, and a Morse code demonstration.  Scouts will have the opportunity to learn their name in  Morse code.   Several Morse code practice setups will be available, and experienced Morse code operators will be on hand to help.
==>Trivia:  Did you know that every satellite in space, even the most sophisticated modern ones identifies itself using Morse code?

*position 5a:  ARES -- This is a demonstration of the Amateur Radio Emergency Services.   ARES groups are organized and active in almost every community.   They work closely with emergency and first responders such as your local fire and police.   ARES also provides communications support and services to things you normally wouldn't think of, for
example, marathons, bicycle races, and other community wide events which require communications services.   ARES also works closely with area disaster services such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and local hospitals.   ARES was very actively used during the recent hurricanes in Texas and Georgia.   At Camp Carpenter, a "mock" emergency will be created.   Scouts will use amateur radio to coordinate the emergency efforts via radio.   This particular emergency will be a downed aircraft.  

*position 5b:  Skywarn -- Skywarn is a program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to train people in weather spotting.   Participants will be trained by a NOAA meteorologist in weather observation and the proper reporting techniques.   Participants age 16 and older can earn a special spotters card from NOAA which will allow them to actually report localized weather to the National Weather Service field offices.   It should be noted that MOST of the local forecasts are produced by local weather observers and skywarn volunteers.

*position 6:  echolink/IRLP -- Echolink/irlp is the amateur radio version of skype.   Actually, echolink/irlp was written by the original authors of voip/skype.   Use a computer to talk to other scouts throughout the world using echolink.   It should be noted that only licensed amateur radio operators have access to echolink/irlp.   Also, it is a highly configurable and redundant system, and was recently used during hurricane ike to pass weather information to NWS.   NOTE:   This position is being run by a fellow Venture Crew member from Crew 42, Hudson.

*position 7:  Fox hunt  --
The "fox hunt" is similar to geocaching.   A transmitter, called the fox is hidden somewhere within the camp grounds.   Scouts (and proper 2 deep leadership), use receivers to hunt the fox.   This is similar to your favorite action movie where the good guys track the bad guys car using a locator  or  bug device.  Scout teams can check out tracking equipment and compete for the best time finding the fox.   Multiple fox devices provide for different levels of difficulty.

*position 8:  Search and rescue using APRS 
 APRS stands for Automatic Packet Reporting System.   This is a system invented by amateur radio operators that can automatically broadcast your GPS position.   Special
APRS receivers receive the broadcast and can display where the station/person is.    Search and rescue teams are using APRS equipped teams so that the incident command center can know exactly were each team is, equally important, where each team has already searched.   They can display this information on a topographic map (or a street map if conditions dictated).   The incident commander can then direct search teams to move to other locations to continue the search.     For this event, a mock "lost scout" will be searched for.   Scout search teams and scout incident commanders will observe and direct search efforts using APRS and amateur radio.

*position 9:  satcom/ARISS -- This is a satellite communications and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station.   I bet you didn't know that almost every astronaut and cosmonaut is an amateur radio operator, and that there is a ham radio station on the international space station.   During jota weekend, the space station will be sending live pictures of the earth down, we plan on receiving those pictures on amateur radio.   Additionally, on some rare occasions, we may have the ability to actually talk to some of the space station crew members via the radio (this is very rare and likely won't happen, but we can hope.)
*position 10:   MARS operations  --MARS.   Nope, we are not talking about the mars rover.   Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS) is another amateur radio activity which has deep community service and emergency preparedness ties.    MARS operators work closely with the Department of Defense and homeland security.   They provide emergency communications in areas of widespread disaster and also help support non mission critical communications for events such as the national conventions.