GB1BEL JOTA 2018

JOTA JOTI LogoEssex Ham was once again proud to be asked to support the JOTA event at the Belchamps Scout Activity Centre, Hockley, Essex. JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) is the annual event to encourage scouts to get on the air and communicate.

We believe that this was the largest JOTA event in Essex, with over 200 beavers, cubs and scouts in attendance from Essex and beyond.

This year’s two-day event included a range of radio activities including:

  • A 2m station for greetings messages (Dorothy M0LMR and Pete M0PSX)
  • 40m and 20m HF stations (Derek M0SCE, Richard G7OED, Peter G0DZB, Pete M0PSX)
  • DMR contacts (Jakub 2E0FTX)
  • SSTV – sending QSL cards designed by the youngsters (Andrew 2EoONH)
  • “Your Name in Morse” (thanks for the loan by Nick M0NFE)
  • A “numbers-station” demo and code-breaking activity (Gareth M6MZC and Jenson M6OIU)
  • A demonstration of a Clansman military setup (Gareth M6MZC and Jenson M6OIU)
  • ADSB aircraft tracking on a Raspberry Pi
  • Live ISS Digipeater
  • A Raspberry Pi SDR
  • RSGB videos and leaflets.
Belchamps - Home of GB1BEL for JOTA 2018
Belchamps – Home of GB1BEL for JOTA 2018

As with previous years, the event was on-air with the callsign GB1BEL (Belchamps) and was organised by Derek M0SCE – no easy task as there is an awful lot to do to make the event a success. The event was attended by youngsters and scout leaders from several groups in the area – some for a day visit, and some camping at the site since Friday to get the maximum enjoyment from the event.

Dorothy M0LMR helping with greetings messages on GB1BEL on JOTA 2018
Dorothy M0LMR helping with greetings messages on GB1BEL on JOTA 2018

The four stations were busy – a stream of youngsters keen to try 2m, and a lot of interest this year in both HF and DMR. Thanks to all the stations who helped with greetings messages. Great to also make contact with PH6YOTA (Sasha in the Netherlands), EI0YOTA (Brian in Dublin), Geoff GM8OFQ (Orkney Islands) and other JOTA stations including GB0CBS, GB0WHT, GB0TCS, GB1CDS, GB1UUS, GB2NS and GB2FSR.

Jakub 2E0FTX helping with greetings messages as part of JOTA 2018
Jakub 2E0FTX helping with greetings messages as part of JOTA 2018

As well as radio, there were lots of other activities on offer to keep the kids engaged – Other related activities on-site included a QSL design table, a sending-and-receiving Morse setup across the hall, an electronics kit, and a PMR radio foxhunt around the site.

Gareth M6MZC with his Clansman at JOTA 2018
Gareth M6MZC with his Clansman at JOTA 2018

Belchamps is a great location for scouting activities, and the non-radio activities on-offer at the weekend included JOTI (laptops loaded with IRC chat software for Jamboree on the Internet), JOTI TV (Live webcam contacts with other JOTI stations around the world) and classic video games. The rest of the site’s facilities were available, including archery, go-karting, cave exploring and wall climbing.

Listening in for the ISS at Belchamps for JOTA 2018
Listening in for the ISS at Belchamps for JOTA 2018

The finale to the event was a live data contact with the ISS – sending a greetings message to the ISS digipeater. A greetings message was successfully sent on 144.825MHz during a midday pass on Sunday, which was successfully digipeated by the ISS, being heard by ON7EQ in Belgium.

Packet digipeated by ISS 21 October 2018
Packet digipeated by ISS 21 October 2018

Thanks to Belchamps for hosting an excellent event, to Derek M0SCE for pulling the annual event together, and to all of the members of Essex Ham who gave up their time to give over 200 youngsters their first taste of amateur radio.

Event Photos

Handy Links

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