JOTA suggestions from a veteran
- Greetings to all on the list. Our district is running JOTA at a
camporee this year, and one of our members who has had much experience
with JOTA offered this suggestions to me, which I would like to share
with everyone. I hope this helps!
Twin State Radio Club, Inc. W1FN
SM, Troop 71 New London, NH
Suggestions for JOTA from AA1IK, Ernie Gregoire
I am a veteran of several JOTA events and I can tell you from experience
that 20 Scouts visiting the station at one time is about 15 too many.
Crowding around the rig and noise from background Scout chatter is the
unfortunate consequence of so large a group. I suggest a split in 10/10
range. Ten Scouts around the rig, and ten Scouts outside viewing and
learning about how radios and antennas work.
The outside boys then exchange place with the inside near the rig boys.
Processing a large group diminishes the individual experience and thrill
on actually chatting on the air with other Scouts at other sites.
Shyness is a big factor. This is how it works. One Scout will be brave
enough to attempt a chat. The others will hang back for a while. Mic
shyness will disappear as time and QSO's go by. They will sound like old
hams by the end of the session. This assumes that one group of 6 to 8
boys takes part.
The larger groups mean that most of the boys who would have gotten brave
enough later on in the day will not get a chance to participate on the
I suggest a string of remote participating sites where the boys can
monitor the main Scout camp activities on the air could be used. The
Scouts could be transported to the remote sites and back again. More
radio stations on the air mean more participation. This could be a
logistics nightmare too.
I suggest at least two hams for each station. The questions come fast
and furious from the Scouts and one ham can not keep up with the
questions and operate a rig at the same time. Trust me on this one!!!
I also suggest a snack of milk and cookies be supplied for the scouts at
each station. This goes a very long way to give the Scouts a good
positive ham radio experience. This is always a big hit at my station
and the boys not only appreciate it but they remember it for a long
I almost forgot! A world or regional map is a great tool for JOTA. The
Scouts who are not operating can find the places on the map that they
are talking to. It gives them a feeling of participation even though
they are not talking to the Scouts at the other end. Some are too shy
to talk anyway but the like to prod the braver Scouts with questions to
ask on the air.