This year I agreed to participate in Jamboree On The Air activities with the Scouting group Nootdorp. This group never had the change to join a JOTA before so it was their first time. I helped a few times with JOTA-activities but never as the lead amateur. So there was a connection as first timers.
Scouting Nootdorp is a big scouting group in the West of The Netherlands with app. 240 members. Their accommodation is (relatively) in the middle of nowhere surrounded by water. Thus typically ideal for radio. The scouts pioneered a tower of 19 meters high (!) where we could string up our wire antenne, a ZS6BKW.
My good friend Henk, PE1PEX has a lot of experience in organising JOTA’s with all kind of Scouting groups. He agreed to help me out. That was especially nice because Henk also has a great deal of excellent material such as antenna’s, VHF/UHF-radio’s, coax cable in great lengths etc.
Friday Henk and I started with building the site. The scouts already build their tower earlier, so string up the wire antenna was easy. I also set up the 40m FYM-deltaloop just for fun.
Friday night 22:00 there should be an official national opening of the JOTA. But I think something went wrong and the speech of Scounting Nederlands was short. We’ve made a few QSO’s locally and quickly determined propagation on HF was even worse then we expected.
The JOTA started Friday night and we played radio until 02:30AM. Henk and I could sleep on the Scouting terrain, which saved us a 1,5 hour drive home. Saturday morning I was up early (around 7, I’m a morning person) and tried to work some DX-stations. Not much luck on that. Around 9 the first group of kids visit us and Henk and I took turns on operating the VHF/UHF-station. HF was still quite dead unfortunately. Saturday evening we stayed up late again, having great fun with the older Scouts operating the radio’s. Around 2 AM I was too exhausted and went to bed. Sunday morning we pulled down the whole station and around noon we’re heading for home.
My first complete JOTA was a great experience. Scouting Nootdorp never participate in a JOTA, so this was their first time. It was incredible to see the enthusiasm of the Scouts and their staff. They incorporated all kind of communicating games in their gatherings.
One of the busiest rooms was the kit building room. The kids really enjoyed building their own kits and playing radio too!
We even made it to the local tv-news (Dutch)…
It was an extremely busy weekend but the great teamwork with this Scouting group made it all worth.