Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

JOTA Activity Notes

Expand Messages
  • Jeff Burns
    I am planning a JOTA event for this year, and have been making some notes of my ideas. They are still preliminary, and I do not expect to be able to implement
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 12, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      I am planning a JOTA event for this year, and have been making some
      notes of my ideas. They are still preliminary, and I do not expect to
      be able to implement all the ideas. I am presenting them here in the
      hope that I will receive some more good suggestions. Perhaps these
      notes can develop into a document on how to run a JOTA event. Pleas
      give me your comments.

      JOTA Activity Notes

      Family Radio Service for Logistics
      Ask each patrol to bring at least one FRS radio. Patrols will receive
      all their instructions over the air. A sheet of printed instructions
      will be sent to each patrol before they arrive at camp. These
      instructions will include a description of how each channel is to be
      used and basic radio etiquette.

      Set up a Net Control at camp headquarters. Channel one will be used
      for net activities. This is different from the normal practice of using
      channel one for the calling frequency. This is to insure that patrols
      with one channel radios will be able to communicate with net control.
      If possible, use a GMRS station with a high antenna for Net Control.
      Remember that all users of this station must have a GMRS license.

      Channel two will be the designated calling channel.

      Channels 3-14 will be open for a free-for-all. This should demonstrate
      the advantages of having a net control.

      On Air Activities
      Common to all Modes

      Each station should have at least two operators at all times. One can
      operate the radio while the other answers questions. Maps should be
      located at each station to plot contacts.

      HF SSB
      This should be the centerpiece of a JOTA event. Enough stations should
      be set up to allow patrol size groups to have at least a half-hour of
      operating time - one hour is preferred. If possible, patrols should
      have a second chance at the station at a different time of day.

      Every effort should be made to make the experience at the station
      exciting. It is important that the participants actually make contacts
      rather than just listen to static. To facilitate this the best
      possible station should be assembled. Amplifiers and good antennas
      should be used.

      CW (Morse Code)
      CW presents two big difficulties. One, most participants do not know
      code. (It is not much fun to listen to a conversation in a language you
      do not understand.) Two, youth that have cell phones and pager are
      unlikely to see any use for CW.

      To address the first problem a translator is needed. One operator can
      actually run the station. A second operator can sit at a computer and
      transcribe the conversation. A second screen can be set up so the
      participants can see the transcription in real time.

      To show the usefulness of CW a very small QRP transceiver should be
      used. The QRP rig is like a cell-phone that works in the backcountry.

      FM Phone
      If other Scout groups are within the range of the equipment available,
      operations similar to those conducted on HF SSB are a good idea.

      If JOTA activities are planned at both a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout
      camp that are near each other communications between the two camps
      could be particularly popular. Schedule the groups at each site so
      that boys and girls of similar ages are trying to contact each other.

      Show how HTs and Family Radios Service can be used in normal scouting
      activities. Explain the difference between an amateur HT, FRS, and
      GRMS radios. Explain when to use a radio instead of a cell phone.

      Demonstrate the difference in effective range for the different types
      of radios. HOW CAN THIS BE DONE?

      Set up a station at a shopping mall. Friends, family, and the general
      public can contact the scouts out at the camp. If someone at the mall
      wants to contact a scout that is not at the station designated to keep
      in contact with the mall a message can be relayed on the camps FRS net.


      Digital Modes

      SSTV
      A link between local Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps should be extremely
      popular. Send pictures to the station in the Shopping Mall.

      RTTY, PSK31, etc.
      Make it obvious that these modes are not part of the Internet. Use a
      battery-powered station located well away from any wiring.

      APRS
      ?????????????

      Radio Direction Finding
      If the resources are available a full fox hunt would be a great event.
      A less demanding approach is to have two or three direction finding
      stations spread out around the site. Scouts can visit the stations as
      they move between the various venues. Bearings are taken at each
      Direction Finding Station and plotted on a map. After visiting two
      stations they can locate the transmitter.

      Care must be taken when selecting the frequency to use for this
      activity considering all the other radio activity taking place in the
      area.

      Satellite
      Since the satellites are only available for a predictable but short
      time it is difficult to have a venue were scouts go to work the
      satellites. Instead it may be best to have amateurs prepared to listen
      to the satellites with HTs. Just before a satellite pass an
      announcement can be made on the camp net. Anyone near a satellite ready
      amateur can listen for the satellite as it passes.

      Merit Badge Instruction
      ??

      Jeff
      AD9T


      __________________________________________________
      Do You Yahoo!?
      Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
      http://personal.mail.yahoo.com/
    • Gary Thorburn
      Jeff Burns wrote... ... Wow Jeff, you ve got lots of good ideas. But even a small set of activities will be a challenge because most boys have absolutely no
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 12, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        Jeff Burns wrote...

        > I am planning a JOTA event for this year, and have been making some
        > notes of my ideas. They are still preliminary, and I do not expect to
        > be able to implement all the ideas. . .

        Wow Jeff, you've got lots of good ideas. But even
        a small set of activities will be a challenge
        because most boys have absolutely no idea of
        what ham radio really is. You will need to spend
        LOTS of time bringing them up to speed about what's
        going on with any single activity.

        Here's a way to introduce CW: First, forget about really
        getting the boys on the air with CW. But you certainly
        can get boys excited about the code. This will be
        brand new to almost all of them. The code is not
        even mentioned in current editions of the scout
        handbook.

        I have learned that boys are so jaded by technology
        advanced communications that something that is dead
        simple and low-tech can have a dramatic appeal.

        Last fall, at the Knox Trail Council Camporee, which
        had an "Old Time Scouting Skills" theme, I set up a
        station where boys could come by and learn about
        Morse Code. I had lots of WORKING, HANDS-ON stuff:
        keys, antique telegraph sounders, simple code practice
        oscillators, a scout "telegraph set" from the 1950's,
        and a pair of Aldus WW2 vintage signal lamps.
        For radio, I had a VERY-qrp one-transistor transmitter,
        and a HF transceiver (used as a receiver).

        The point I wanted to deliver was that you can communicate
        over a wide variety of simple media when the
        communications protocol is extremely simple, like
        Morse Code.

        I can't tell you what a look of amazement came over the
        boys faces when they keyed up a breadboard transmitter
        consisting of about 5 parts and a couple AA cells, and
        heard it at a distance.

        At another Scouting event, I set up a $20 Ten-Tec regen
        SW receiver that my son and I built, with a wire antenna
        thrown over a tree. Again, there was a sense of wonder
        at what a tiny pile of parts can do; a sense of wonder
        that a FM HT cannot deliver. I'll never forget one
        Mom who asked me, after hearing the BBC on my little
        radio, "Wow! you can get all those internet radio
        stations without being on the internet!"

        Finally, to provide a competitive activity, I set up
        a box on a picnic table in the woods, containing
        a CD player repeating a SHORT, SLOW CW message
        indefinitely. I think the message was,
        "a scout is courteous ... a scout is reverent ...
        a scout likes pizza". The boys took a sheet with the
        code on it (copied from a 1944 handbook) worked to
        decode the message, and handed the paper in. Apart from
        one 13-yr old Ham, only a few boys worked it out.
        But there was tremendous interest in this.

        Anyway, good luck, I'm looking forward to reading other
        responses to your ideas.

        -- Gary KD1TE

        gary@...
      • Brian P. Mileshosky
        Jeff et. al., My comments are below...I ve snipped away some of the message, too. It s kinda long, but worthwhile. ... This would be an excellent idea,
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 12, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          Jeff et. al.,

          My comments are below...I've snipped away some of the message, too. It's
          kinda long, but worthwhile.


          > JOTA Activity Notes
          >
          > Family Radio Service for Logistics
          > Ask each patrol to bring at least one FRS radio. Patrols will receive
          > all their instructions over the air. A sheet of printed instructions
          > will be sent to each patrol before they arrive at camp. These
          > instructions will include a description of how each channel is to be
          > used and basic radio etiquette.

          This would be an excellent idea, however, some units may not have FRS
          radios. But this is a great idea to "train" the guys and gals how to
          operate not be mike-shy when the time comes to operate the REAL radios
          (Amateur)!

          >
          > HF SSB
          > This should be the centerpiece of a JOTA event. Enough stations should
          > be set up to allow patrol size groups to have at least a half-hour of
          > operating time - one hour is preferred. If possible, patrols should
          > have a second chance at the station at a different time of day.
          >
          > Every effort should be made to make the experience at the station
          > exciting. It is important that the participants actually make contacts
          > rather than just listen to static. To facilitate this the best
          > possible station should be assembled. Amplifiers and good antennas
          > should be used.

          I agree. This is the mode in which everyone will relate to the easiest
          and know whats going on. Hearing someone even a state away is enough to
          capture the interest of the youth.

          >
          > CW (Morse Code)
          > CW presents two big difficulties. One, most participants do not know
          > code. (It is not much fun to listen to a conversation in a language you
          > do not understand.) Two, youth that have cell phones and pager are
          > unlikely to see any use for CW.

          However, in my experience, while the youth are listening to SSB action,
          they will become fascinated with the sound of all those dits and dahs,
          regardless if they don't know CW. Hae some practice keys, and let them try
          to operate each other via them at their own speed. Also, back when the
          Signaling merit badge was around (I wish I would have gotten it before it
          went away!), have them send Morse code messages back and forth using a
          neckerchief tied to a pole (instructions are in an older Handbook). It's
          not really radio-related, but it is something to keep them occupied.

          > Show how HTs and Family Radios Service can be used in normal scouting
          > activities. Explain the difference between an amateur HT, FRS, and
          > GRMS radios. Explain when to use a radio instead of a cell phone.

          This is a plus for not only the youth, but for any adult leaders. Tell
          them just why they should be interested in Amateur Radio. For starters, it
          is fun. But also, what if they need to airlift someone out of the woods
          while on a backpacker and their slick trendy-looking Nokia cell phone
          doesn't have service out there? They can use Amateur Radio to plan things
          at the last minute between cars on the way to campouts. They can get the
          Radio merit badge. They can help their community in times of need, such as
          what the hams are doing to assist the floods in the Dakotas right now.

          > Demonstrate the difference in effective range for the different types
          > of radios. HOW CAN THIS BE DONE?

          Easy. Get a CB (handheld) or a FRS radio on an active channel and spend
          some time contacting someone as far away as possible. Then turn around and
          spend NO TIME getting ahold of someone just as far away (if not, further) on
          a local repeater or linked repeater system. Try a mobile CB and try
          contacting someone far again, then use a rig on 10 meters (only 3 MHz above
          the CB band) and work the world! If conditions are favorable...

          > APRS
          > ?????????????

          Why not? APRS is a neat tool, and we had it running at the last JOTA.
          We showed some saved maps from when I helped put trackers on 6 hot air
          balloons and 15 gas-balloons at the last International Balloon Fiesta. The
          tracks of them leading all the way from New Mexico to the Atlantic ocean
          impressed them.


          > Radio Direction Finding
          > If the resources are available a full fox hunt would be a great event.
          > A less demanding approach is to have two or three direction finding
          > stations spread out around the site. Scouts can visit the stations as
          > they move between the various venues. Bearings are taken at each
          > Direction Finding Station and plotted on a map. After visiting two
          > stations they can locate the transmitter.
          >
          > Care must be taken when selecting the frequency to use for this
          > activity considering all the other radio activity taking place in the
          > area.
          >

          T-Hunting is one heck of an activity to have at JOTA. I'm staffing at
          K2BSA during the upcomig National Jamboree, and you can bet I'll be bringing
          my DFing gear to show off. The Scouts just eat it up and love it. Just
          hide 2 or 3 transmitters (very low power...plus some attenuation inline with
          the transmitter if they are nearby) and walk them through it! Be sure to
          have the correct gear, too. Go to http://home.att.net/~wb8wfk/ which is my
          local T-Hunting group, and you will find a page with T-Hunting projects.
          The active attenuator is easy to build and is the best one I've used. Also,
          there is a link to build a 2 meter T-Hunting beam made out of PVC and
          tape-measure material! Cheap, and just as good as any beam you can buy.
          Build some of these, and off you go! Map and compass is also involved, and
          it is something the Scouts should know, or outta know. It compliments
          T-Hunting well. As for the frequency, use 146.565 MHz for at least one of
          the transmitters. This is the nationally recognized T-hunting frequency.
          Hide another on 145.565 and perhaps another on 147.565 (if they don't fall
          on any repeater inputs or outputs). Email me if you have any other
          questions.

          > Satellite
          > Since the satellites are only available for a predictable but short
          > time it is difficult to have a venue were scouts go to work the
          > satellites. Instead it may be best to have amateurs prepared to listen
          > to the satellites with HTs. Just before a satellite pass an
          > announcement can be made on the camp net. Anyone near a satellite ready
          > amateur can listen for the satellite as it passes.

          UO-14 and AO-27 take around 15-20 minutes per good pass, and can easily
          be worked with a hand-held dual-band beam, and a dual-band HT running only 2
          watts. Not bad! And it impresses the heck out of the youth. Get some
          prediction software, and you are ready to rumble.

          > Merit Badge Instruction
          > ??

          Again, why not? I think that almost 4/5 of the requirements can be
          taken care of at an event like JOTA. But, as all adult scout leaders should
          do, make sure the youth KNOW the material (being able to memorize it in 15
          minutes and regurgitating it back to get the blue card signed should not be
          allowed in my opinion). But be sure each of the presentations (as well as
          the rest of JOTA) is exciting and woth-while to the youth. Program is key
          to everything. Be Prepared!

          To all the members of this list: Start planning your JOTA 2001
          activities NOW. Nothing is worst than a JOTA event that is not organized or
          exciting. The idea is to impress the youth and their adults, and hope that
          they will join our ranks as Amateurs. Why? How many youth do you hear on
          the air when you tune across 2-meters or HF? Not many. Perhaps none. Is
          this alarming? You bet it is, especially since the average age of hams is
          up in the 50s and 60s -- and is rising. The youth are the future of our
          hobby. And our hobby depends on Hams like you to insure its survival by
          promoting it to the young ones. JOTA is one of the tools used in doing this
          promotion, which is why we should make it one of the best youth-oriented
          activities.

          73,
          Brian, N5ZGT
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.