Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) 2017 was held at Mount Cotton on the Scout Association’s property Karingal, at Campsite ‘JOTA Ridge’ on October 21. Our scribe, Glenn VK4PK was one of our team of volunteers and sent this report…..
Our JOTA 2017 started in the rain and finished in the rain. Everything was damp except our spirits.
Stephen VK4CJ arrived first and by the time the workers arrived at 8.00 am, had started setting up the temporary shack in his inimitable, professional style.
Tables were laid out, transceivers unpacked and positioned, antenna positions selected with precision and the mandatory earth stake driven into the ground and connected to anything with an earth lug. Stephen articulated with joy “hear that, the noise level has risen now we are earthed”.
Now, we workers were set to our tasks – Peter VK4YPB, and I untangled the antennas, and laid them out on the ground, while Victor VK4WST assembled his antenna-launching equipment.
Victor’s prowess with the bow and arrow has been perfected over years and is a delight to watch. He made it look so easy that Peter and I decided to have a go. After several failed attempts and the arrow and cord tangled in the branches, we handed over to Victor to complete the task of getting the fine bricklayer’s cord over the selected branch. We then hauled up the thicker and stronger ropes and tightened the antenna into a near horizontal position.
Around 10 am the scouts and guides started to appear. Steven called “CQ JOTA” on 40 meters and after making a contact moved to a working frequency. Our job was to coax the children to complete a successful QSO.
Bob VK4DXX arrived to help out and manned the 20 meter set. We could not stop the youngsters talking when they waited in excitement for their turn. But in front of the radio it was often down to one word at a time(!) We would suggest “Ask them how old they are”?
“How old are you?”, pause, “Over” and back would come “Ten”, an even longer pause and then “Over”. That was how the day went.
It was enjoyable watching how each of them handled the experience. Even in the five minutes each child had in front of the mic, their proficiency increased. They began to relax a little as the minutes ticked by. I am sure we all forget how we felt the first day we picked up the microphone. They however, will remember the day they talked on the radio for years to come.
There were the club chats in the kitchen area over tea and biscuits. Everyone had a story and I learnt more about my peers and the hobby.
At a final presentation we all received the traditional “B-R-A-V-O” and a JOTA 60th / JOTI 21st 2017 badge, which was all the reward we needed after seeing about one hundred young people have their first experience with amateur radio.
The day ended about 4:30pm, after many successful QSO’s on 40 meters and a couple on 20 meters. The day finished as it started only this time we were packing up antennas in the rain. We also managed to retrieve one of Victor’s arrows, which had got caught in a tree, with the pole from the disassembled dual band antenna.
Thank you Brad VK4FBJT, scout leader and club member, for co-ordinating the event and supplying generous morning and afternoon teas and for making us all feel welcome on a rain-soaked ‘JOTA Ridge’.