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The GB4SBS JOTA Page

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GB4SBS ran for seven years following an unfortunate accident between the friend of an Assistant Scout Leader, who was interested in Amateur radio (me!) and a copy of "Scouting" magazine which contained an article about JOTA.

From simple beginnings at the 6th Shoreham Headquarters running a JOTA station for one troop of about 20 Scouts, we moved on to a District-wide event for hundreds of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Ventures from seven Groups. We operated from Hillside, our District campsite which provided us with a warm (compared to outside!) training room to operate from, and a large field in which to erect our aerial(s). Operating from a campsite also meant that the Scouts could stay at the station all weekend, so we stayed on air (almost!) all through the night.


How far have you got?

Although JOTA is not about "chasing DX", this must be top of our FAQ list at the station! So here for the curious is a list of the furthest (roughly) contacts for each of the past 7 years:

1992
KP2AD - US Virgin Islands
HS0/G0UAV - Thailand
ZS6MOD - South Africa
W9NB - Illinois, USA
1993
9J2FB - Zaire
VE2AMT - Canada
CU0NSM - Azores
ZS1ADM - South Africa
1994
VY2JAM - Canada
VP8CQG - Falkland Islands
ZP6XR - Paraguay
1995
9K2RA - Kuwait
HH9S - Haiti
This was the first year that we did not contact any US stations!
GB4SBS on the air
1996
HB9S - The World Scout Bureau, Switzerland. Not exactly DX but still a huge pile-up to fight through!
CU3APV - Azores
RW9USA - Novokuznetsk, CIS
1997
VE3CBE - Canada.
This was our only contact outside Europe, made using CW (Morse code) on 80m at 05:55 UTC
GB/HB9S - The World Scout Bureau station, operating from the first ever JOTA site to celebrate the 40th anniversary of JOTA. This was a very special callsign!
We contacted JOTA stations in 14 countries, including 5 of the 7 "DXCC countries" of the UK

In 1996 and 1997 over 90% of our contacts were on 80m, we were actively seeking European JOTA stations that our Scouts could pass messages to. (It was also the bottom of the sunspot cycle!)

1998
ZS6WRS - White River Scouts, South Africa, followed immediately by ...
ZS5PMB - South Africa (another JOTA station)
BV4RH - Taiwan, our last contact of the weekend and a new country for GB4SBS
Over the weekend we contacted 125 stations in 28 countries, of which 72 were JOTA stations in 20 countries. For the UK counties game, we managed 25 counties, 13 of which we could connect together. Unfortunately we forgot to log all the required information, so we couldn't enter the competition!

Operating Conditions

Most years we used:

For two years we erected a Butternut HF5V 5-band vertical on top of our 40-foot pole with fourteen elevated radials, but this was a lot of effort for one weekend!


Other Activities

In addition to the JOTA amateur radio station, we successfully ran the following activities. You are very welcome to borrow (or even steal!) any or all of these ideas for your JOTA event, but please at least let me know how you get on. Why not send me some of your ideas and I will post them here for others to try.

J.O.T.I.
1997 was the first year that we participated in JOTI. It was very popular with our visitors, and we chatted to Scouts in at least 15 different countries. We were often carrying on several conversations at once with people in different parts of the world! In 1998 we had a digital camera available to send "almost-live" pictures to our IRC partners. You can see some of the Scouts that were on IRC on our photos page.
For more information about JOTI and IRC, look at our links page.
Radio Wide-Game
Radio wide-game This is a treasure-hunt around the campsite using CB radio. A base station operated by a leader gives directions to a team of Scouts. The directions lead to a "clue " consisting of a letter and an amateur radio station callsign.
One member of the team has to tell the base station the letter and callsign using the phonetic alphabet, then another clue is given. This continues around the site with a different team member passing the information each time.
When all the clues have been collected, the letters have to be rearranged to spell a word connected with JOTA, and the countries of origin of the callsigns have to be obtained, either from knowledge picked up over the weekend or from the display of QSL cards around the training room. All the callsigns are from stations that we have previously contacted and their QSL cards are on display.
Morse Code
Practising the Morse Code We use a computer program that both sends and receives Morse Code. Many of the Scouts spend hours at the keyboard gradually learning the letters, then try their hand at sending Morse to the computer. It is very unforgiving! Despite the "old-fashioned" image of Morse Code, there is something about it that fascinates the Scouts and some seem to enjoy practising it more than anything else on offer.

Last updated: 06 January 2002
Email me at gary.aylward@ntlworld.com

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