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QSRE: [ScoutRadio] Re: JOTA 2006

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  • Frank Krizan
    Howdy Lee, et al, Here s what we do at K2BSA at Camp Wisdom in Dallas: Because of propagation, camp activities, staffing, etc. we allow groups (Patrol size 6
    Message 1 of 29 , Aug 12 3:02 PM

      Howdy Lee, et al,


      Here’s what we do at K2BSA at Camp Wisdom in Dallas :


      Because of propagation, camp activities, staffing, etc. we allow groups (Patrol size 6 to 10) of scouts (Cub Scouts, Webelos, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Explorers) to sign up for a one-hour increment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat. and 8 a.m. to Noon on Sun.  The sign up is handled by the local Council (Circle Ten in Dallas ).  When they sign up, the Council sends them an info sheet with the “rules.”


      Groups are required to attend with at least two adults for supervision.  Similar to what Allen mentioned, we greet the group when they arrive, give one of the adults an attendance/information form to fill out with the Unit ID, address and names of people there.  A “greeter” asks who’s familiar with Ham Radio or has talked on Ham Radio.  CB and Family Radio Service (FRS) are mentioned.  The greeter gives them an idea of what to expect and acquaints the scouts with use of a microphone.  We have found from experience that having a printed list of questions or things to find out from other scouts/scouters/troops/Packs/etc and asking scouts to select three questions to get the answers to really helps.


      The visiting group is kept outside the K2BSA shack and entertained in various ways – one way is to provide the audio from the XCVR’s monitor port to an amplified speaker. We also use a closed circuit or low power ATV system so the scouts outside can see what their buddies are doing inside.  The first 10 to 15 minutes of their visit is getting briefed.  During that time, an operator tries to arrange for a contact either by calling CQ JOTA or listening for someone calling CQ.  We don’t usually hang around the Scout Calling Frequencies, but, tune 15 to 30 kHz away.  Sometimes, we go down to the Extra portion of the band and find someone calling CQ, brief them on our scouts needing to talk with a Ham and have a very pleasant QSO.  The 17m band is a great band for JOTA, BTW.


      Then, we bring in scouts in groups of 3 with one on the mike and the other two watching what’s happening.  When the first scout is finished, he goes back outside and is given a participation card and whatever other souvenirs we have.  That scout is now “experienced” and can appreciate what he sees on the TV monitor outside.  Keeping scouts outside the shack cuts down on the noise.


      For Radio MB , each scout is to carry on a real or simulated QSO of at least 10 minutes.  So, for Boy Scout groups, we usually limit their size to 3 or 4 per hour.  We’ve also found that Webelos are the most interested in Ham Radio communications.  They are better communicators and haven’t been exposed to the internet and cell phones to a great extent.


      K2BSA in the Greater Dallas area promotes clubs setting up stations for communities or promoting their members opening up their stations for Patrols, Dens or small groups. 


      Operating needs to be scheduled or else, as you’ve pointed out, the scouts get bored standing around.  Sometimes, propagation is horrible.  We use HT to HT to give scouts a chance to talk.  We have even used FRS radios to allow scouts to talk with each other to 1) get the 10 min QSO in and 2) to practice talking on the radio.  It is a way to entertain scouts while they wait for their turn to talk.  We often use local IRLP nodes to connect to other states, countries, etc.   BUT – don’t forget the Third Party Agreement limitations.  Local repeaters are also handy.


      A laptop or other computer running a CW decoder program is a great way to entertain and challenge scouts.  We use a Morse audio oscillator and a hand key with a mike feeding the laptop and something like HamScope.  The Ham shows sending his/her name and how the computer displays the letters.  Then, the scout is challenged to send their name or something.  We’ve found it’s really entertaining and curious how fascinated they are with Morse Code.  In some years, when we have a lot of scouts coming in, we give them a Morse Code character sheet and show them how to send the Morse characters with a Wig Wag flag or flashlight.  Then, the scouts are separated by some distance and asked to send a message back and forth.  It’s a challenge and very rewarding for them.


      BTW, a couple of reasons for the sign in form mentioned earlier.  It helps you with your end of JOTA report to the ARRL and National JOTA coordinator, plus, many Hams you’ll talk with will send photos, QSL cards, etc and without the unit info, you won’t know who to send it to.


      To handle the drop ins or to just have fun or give the licensed scouts who want to help out, we often set up a PSK-31 station as well as an APRS station to make contacts.  Bob Bruninga usually announces and requests that digipeater managers allow the aliases of SCOUT or SCOUTS to be open so you can CQ to SCOUT and get digi’d all over the US .  Then, you call the respective station.  Lots of fun.  We also try to get licensed scouts to make or help with LEO satellite contacts or contacts with the ISS.


      We usually have an adult greeter who works with the adults there to brief them on Ham Radio, licensing, local Venturing Crews dedicated to Ham Radio, etc.  We often find adults who are licensed and would like to help during the year and next JOTA.


      Hope this helps.


      73, Frank KR1ZAN

      President, K2BSA Amateur Radio Association



      From: ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com [mailto: ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Lee
      Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2006 11:08 AM
      To: ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [ScoutRadio] Re: JOTA 2006


      Howdy Frank,

      Well, my plan. I intend to have my 706 on HF energizing my 20 and 40
      meter dipoles. I plan to have others helping with VHF voice and
      packet. I figure the competition for HF frequencies may make VHF
      easier to insure the scouts get some voice time. That is it for my
      radio station.

      I really do not know yet how many scouts I will have. I know one
      troop of 20 but the scout master has mentioned it at round table and
      will be getting a number from there.

      I intend to have (make) posters that "answer" the question for Radio
      merit badge. I do not believe in merit badge classes but I can have
      the information for the scouts to read and ask questions for clarity.
      I hope in this way they will gather the answers for themselves and
      then during JOTA we do the "do" parts so they have it done if they
      take the hint.

      So I guess when I ask for hints I am asking what I should expect.
      Should I call CQ or try to find a station calling. How much time does
      it take to go over what should be told about HAM radio and what are
      the high lights I should tell. I want it to be interesting and
      informative but not long and boring :-) I know to do to cover
      requirement 8 of the merit badge but beyond that. I know to keep the
      transmissions professional. I have read the list on the JOTA web
      as to conversation points and will have them there for review but....
      with so little time (if I have lots of scouts) I would ideas to keeps
      them from becoming bored, Anti-climatic.

      Well have I helped you understand my concerns?


      --- In ScoutRadio@yahoogro ups.com, "Frank Krizan" <frank.krizan@ ...>

      > Howdy Lee,
      > Welcome to the Group. You'll find a lot of pointers by doing some
      searches in the ScoutRadio archives. As to specifics, I would
      suggest you give us an idea of what you have in mind (i.e., how many
      scouts, one or multiple locations, number and type of stations, Radio
      Merit Badge workshop/class, etc.).
      > A good starting point is the ARRL scout pages:
      > http://www.arrl. org/ead/# scout
      > The National BSA JOTA pages are at:
      > http://www.scouting .org/internation al/22-218. html
      > 73, Frank KR1ZAN

    • Ken Skinner
      Hey all. I will be operating from George W. Pirtle Scout Reservation in Northeast Texas for JOTA. I have about 50 scouts coming out and hope to teach the
      Message 2 of 29 , Oct 13, 2006
        Hey all.  I will be operating from George W. Pirtle Scout Reservation in Northeast Texas for JOTA.  I have about 50 scouts coming out and hope to teach the Radio merit badge in full to about 1/2 of them.  Will probably call on 14.290 and then move off to another frequency.  Look forward to talking to some of you.  Probably get started around 10am on Saturday. 
        By the way, if anyway is interested, the Panola County ARC will be operating a special event station at the Jim Reeves' Memorial just east of Carthage TX on Saturday, October 28, starting at 9am and working most of the day.  We will be sending out numbered certificates to commerate the event (in exchange for a SASE).  Not sure which frequencies we will be using, but will let you all know asap.
        Yours in Scouting,
        Ken Skinner N5OW
        Ranger, Camp Pirtle
        President, Panola County ARC
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