GB6HS - JOTA special event station 20th October 2012

Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) is an annual event bringing Scouts from all over the world together by using amateur radio. Once again Worthing Radio Events Group put GB6HS on the air on behalf of 6th Hove Scouts.

Early on Saturday morning, Gary, G0XAN, Peter, G4HNU, and Peter, M0PCR, arrived at the Scouts' district campsite. It had been raining all week and the field was decidedly soggy underfoot. The Scout leaders were just putting the finishing touches to our accomodation for the day - a large mess tent in the corner of the field.

We soon had the 10m mast erected, then came the fun of arranging a nest of dipoles for 80m, 40m and 20m. Since there were only three of us to get everything set up we decided to leave the multiband vertical until later, if we needed it.

JOTA antennas

After a brief interlude where Gary returned home to pick up the earth stake (oops!) we were soon on the air. As soon as we turned the radio on we heard several loud signals on 20m so it seemed the antenna was working and the propagation gods were smiling upon us. After a quick test with a station in Tenerife we found a quiet frequency and began to call "CQ Jamboree".

Within a few minutes we got our first reply. This was from a bemused Italian wondering what all these "Jamboree" stations were about. We spent a pleasant few minutes with him explaining the purpose of JOTA. No sooner had we finished and called "QRZ?" than we were faced with our first mini pile-up!

One callsign stood out from the rest, a nice clear "Charlie Five Sierra" - obviously a Scouting special event callsign, but we didn't recognise the country prefix. Now, it's not every day that a UK station gets called by a station from The Gambia in a mini pile-up! This was indeed a good start to the day!

And so it continued, almost three hours sped by with barely a break between QSOs. We spoke to Scout stations from Finland in the north to Portugal in the south, often spending 10-20 minutes with several Scouts passing greetings messages each way. Several of our young Scouts were giggling nervously when it transpired that they were speaking to 16-year-old Finnish girl Scouts!

Scouts enjoying JOTA

After lunch we tuned around the bands a little, but 20m seemed to be working best for us. Eventually we ended up back where we started, on exactly the same frequency as in the morning. It was clearly a good Scouting frequency as we steadily filled the log with JOTA stations from around Europe and even as far afield as the Azores.

In all, we contacted 38 stations, about 24 of which were Scout stations in at least 14 different countries. We had over 50 Scouts, Cubs and leaders visit the station and all of those that wished to send a greetings message were able to do so. By any measure this year's JOTA effort was a great success!

Our JOTA 2012 station


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