Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, is the largest Scouting event in the world. It is held annually the third full weekend in October. JOTA uses amateur radio to link Scouts and hams around the world, around the nation, and in your own community. This jamboree requires no travel, other than to a nearby amateur radio operator’s ham shack. Many times you can find the hams will come to you by setting up a station at your Scout camporee, at the park down the block, or perhaps at a ham shack already set up at your council’s camp.
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Scouts of any age can participate, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and Venturers, including girls. Once at the ham radio station, the communication typically involves talking on a microphone and listening on the station speakers. However, many forms of specialized communication may also be taking place, such as video communication, digital communication (much like sending a message on your smartphone but transmitted by radio), or communication through a satellite relay or an earth-based relay (called a repeater). The exchanges include such information as name, location (called QTH in ham speak), Scout rank, age, and hobbies. The stations you’ll be communicating with can be across town, across the country, or even around the world! The World Scout Bureau reported that the 2017 JOTA-JOTI had over 1.5 million Scout participants from more than 160 countries.
When Is It?
Jamboree-on-the-Air is held the third weekend in October. There are no official hours, so you have the whole weekend to make JOTA contacts. The event officially starts Friday evening during the JOTA Jump Start and runs through Sunday evening.
How Can I Participate as a Scout?
The Greater Alabama Council will host two locations: The Hunstville Scout Office and the Troop 93 Scout Hut in Hoover behind Oakmont Presbyterian Church; or you can contact a local ham radio operator or a local amateur radio club. You can find a searchable database of clubs at www.arrl.org/find-a-club . This website is operated by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio, which is cooperating closely with the BSA on JOTA and many other activities.
Your local club may be able to direct you to its planned JOTA activities. These can include ham stations set up at camporees or other events. Or, if there are no planned activities, you can either work with them to get something set up or arrange to visit a local radio operator’s ham shack at a scheduled time to participate in JOTA.
How Can I Participate as an Amateur Radio Operator?
Contact your local Scout council and see what may already be planned in your area and how you can help. You can find your council using the Council locator.
If nothing is currently planned, or if current plans aren’t reaching your area, you can work with the council or a local unit (pack, troop, crew) to set up a JOTA station or arrange for visits to your ham shack. You can also participate just by making QSOs with the many JOTA stations that will be on the air. A good resource to find a local Scout unit is the Be-A-Scout website.
What Is Jamboree-on-the-Internet?
Jamboree-on-the-Internet, or JOTI, is an annual international Scouting event sponsored by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Each year, during the third weekend in October, Scouts from around the world gather online to learn about other cultures and the activities in which other Scouts participate. They communicate with each other using Internet-enabled devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Last year, JOTA-JOTI had over 1.5 million Scouts and leaders participate in more than 160 countries!
Who Can Participate?
Scouts of any age can take part, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and Venturers. Scouts can participate at home with the help of an adult, or they can participate in a Scout group at a council event. JOTI is an economical way to participate in an international jamboree. The event allows Scouts to “meet” other Scouts from around the world through the Internet and share more information than just “Hi.” The exchanges can include such information as name, location of event, Scout rank, age, and hobbies. Some exchanges lead to long-lasting friendships. JOTI participation fulfills requirements for Tiger and Arrow of Light adventures, the Citizenship in the World merit badge, and the International Spirit Award.
When Is It?
JOTI begins on Friday, October 19, 2018, at 00:00 hours local time, and will end on Sunday, October 21, 2018, at 24:00 hours local time.