JOTA in Essex 2013

Jamboree On The Air 2013This weekend has been a busy weekend for scouting groups and amateur radio groups alike – The 56th JOTA, Jamboree On The Air took place on Saturday and Sunday the 19th and 20th of October 2013.

The event encourages scouting groups from around the world to make contact with other groups and amateur radio operators over the airwaves.

Several groups in the Essex area were active this weekend, helping to get beavers, cubs and scouts on-the-air and sending greetings messages. Essex Ham is aware of three groups active in Essex at the weekend, and there are bound to be more not on our list:

  • Canvey: The 1st Canvey Sea Scouts were on-air at Canvey Heights on Saturday. The stations were operated by SEARS (South Essex Amateur Radio Group) under the callsign GB2CIS.
  • Chelmsford: The Chelmsford and District Scouts were active on Saturday using the callsign GB4CDS. Chris G0IPU was active on the group’s HF station, and we heard Stuart booming out across Essex on the group’s 2m station
  • Gillwell Park: The main outdoor scouting base close to Epping Forest was operating their special event callsign of GB2GP at the weekend. There’s a full summary of their activities for JOTA 2013 here:
  • Southend-on-Sea: The Southend and District Scouts were operating from the district HQ on Eastern Avenue both days using the callsign GB0SES. The HF, VHF and Echolink stations were operated by the team from TARG
  • Thurrock: Thurrock Scouts were active with their Facebook page showing a map of contacts

Who’ve we missed? Add a comment below

What’s involved with JOTA?

If you’re not familiar with JOTA, here’s a quick summary of what happened at this year’s Jamboree On The Air in Southend. The Southend Estuary District HQ on Eastern Avenue Southend was active for both days between 10am and 4pm with beavers, cubs and scouts from the 18 groups in the district.

Southend Estuary Scouts HQ for JOTA 2013
Southend Estuary Scouts HQ for JOTA 2013

Coordinating the radio activities for the weekend was Derek Hagen M0SCE, and the group enlisted the help of the Thames ARG to provide support. The HQ offered the following radio activities:

  • Two stations: HF and VHF, allowing beavers, cubs and scouts to send greetings messages on the event’s special callsign GB0SES
  • QSL card design: Beavers, cubs and scouts were encouraged to design QSL cards to record their contacts
  • Morse: A wired pair of keys were connected to allow youngsters to send and receive their name in Morse, with the assistance of keen Morse operators David G3SVI and Myra M0MYR
  • Echolink: A dedicated JOTA node was active worldwide at the weekend, and several contacts were made, including a scout-to-scout exchange with a station in Brazil, thanks to the local GB7IDA Danbury Echolink gateway
  • ISS Tracking: A plot of the path of the International Space Station was projected, showing the orbit ahead of a planned ARISS schools contact with a school in Italy
The QSL card for GB0SES, the Southend 2013 JOTA station
The QSL card for GB0SES, the Southend 2013 JOTA station

The TARG team for the weekend included Tom 2E0TNC, Mark M0IEO, Belinda M6JNX, David G3SVI, Myra M0MYR, Pete M0PSX, Ann (callsign coming soon!), Andy G1GKN, Huw M6HTL, Sarah M6PSK and event organiser Derek M0SCE.

The TARG team: Belinda, Tom, Mark, Pete, Ann and Andy at Southend JOTA 2013
The TARG team: Belinda, Tom, Mark, Pete, Ann and Andy at Southend JOTA 2013
Pete M0PSX helping out with a JOTA QSO at the Southend 2m station
Pete M0PSX helping out with a JOTA QSO at the Southend 2m station

Despite the weather, there was a steady trickle of cubs, beavers and scouts visiting the HQ to take part in the Southend JOTA event, and multiple greetings messages were exchanged, including contacts with the scouts on Canvey Island and in Chelmsford. During a lull on Sunday, Echolink was called into play, with the best exchange of the day with with a young scout in Brazil. Contacts were made on HF with JOTA stations across the UK, as well as in the Netherlands and Gibralta. HF was very busy with a European contest, but some frequencies were left clear for JOTA use, and these were put to good use by stations trying to make connections with other scouting groups.

Well done to all amateur radio and scouting groups across Essex (and the world) for helping to make the 56th Jamboree On The Air a success, and to hopefully encourage some more youngsters into the hobby.

If you’re a scout, cub, or a parent, find our more on getting started in the hobby: Amateur Radio Training in Essex

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