Amateur Radio News

Young People Prepare for a Different Kind of Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) in 2020 


Even in the middle of a pandemic, Scouts and Guides from around the world are preparing to extend a hand of friendship—further evidence of the power of Ham Radio to build bridges during difficult times.

Jamboree-on-the-Air is the world’s largest radio event for Scouts and Guides. The 2020 edition of the event, celebrating its 63rd year, is scheduled to take place over the air waves on October 16-18.

In past years, as many as 1.5 million young people from 160-plus countries have participated in JOTA by getting on the air and contacting fellow Scouts and Guides across town and around the world. From existing or temporary stations, many first-time operators will be exchanging information such as name, location, rank, age, and hobbies. Boys and girls of any age can participate.

Over its long history, JOTA has helped to forge longstanding relationships between distant troops, as well as sparked the imagination of young people about the fun and usefulness of Ham radio. JOTA abounds with stories of participants, under the guidance of a licensed amateur, who made their first QSOs, went on to get their licenses, and pursued careers in Ham-related technical fields. Through the event, Scouts and Guides also learn the value of Ham Radio as an emergency communications tool.

For some of the international flavor of JOTA, check out the Radio Society of Great Britain’s JOTA web page.

Not Your Typical JOTA Event this Year

As with many 2020 Ham activities, this year’s JOTA will be handled differently because of COVID 19. Some amateur radio clubs that planned to host youngsters for JOTA 2020 have cancelled plans due to health concerns. Troops are gauging the situation as the event approaches, while others are planning outdoor operations, which can provide more space for social distancing.

Some troops are encouraging stay-at-home participation for Scouts and Guides fortunate enough to have a parent or a friend with a station. Even without Ham radio, children can still participate in JOTI (Jamboree on the Internet), which runs simultaneously to JOTA and can be done anywhere there is a computer and internet access.

The JOTA website askes participants to “check your local regulations effective at the time of the event, particularly in regard to the maximum number of people that are allowed to gather in one space.”

Click here for JOTA program information and advice on social distancing, hygiene, and activities such as fox hunting and Morse code games.

What Can You Do?

If you’re a parent who has an amateur license but has let your station go into disrepair, now is an excellent opportunity to bring it back to life so your son or daughter can safely participate in JOTA 2020. For troops considering temporary stations this year, you’ll want to make sure you have the equipment and accessories necessary to make this possible. DX Engineering, a longtime supporter of JOTA, has everything you need for base or temporary stations, including transceivers, antennas, CW equipment, amplifiers, antenna tuners, coaxial cables and connectors, and more. You’ll find it all—along with expert advice—at DXEngineering.com.

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