Nearly 8,000 Scouts got on the air for the 60th Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) over the third weekend in October, National JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND said. Wilson this week released the 2017 JOTA report, which declared, “Radio Scouting and Jamboree on the Air are alive and doing well.” Facilitating the October JOTA activity were more than 900 radio amateurs at 525 stations.
“Propagation wasn’t our friend, but, even so, [radio amateurs in] almost 90 countries and all 50 states engaged in conversations with Scouts during the weekend,” Wilson said. “In addition to HF, VHF, and UHF many Amateur Radio digital modes were in use, as well as online Jamboree on the Internet channels.”
The tally for JOTA 2017 was 7,872 Scouts on the air, which, Wilson pointed out, was down from the 10,761 who took part in JOTA 2016, but more in line with 2015’s participation. Reports were filed by 226 JOTA locations.
“The Boy Scouts of America National Radio Scouting Committee will be exploring several improvement projects for 2018,” Wilson said. These would include establishing a JOTA Frequency Task Force to explore updated frequency listing and operating recommendations, looking into new ways to alert participants in real time about other JOTA stations that are on the air.
The Radio Scouting Committee’s work in 2017 resulted in the introduction of new Radio Merit Badge requirements, which included a new option for Amateur Direction Finding (ARDF) — or “foxhunting.” The panel also developed documents to help Scout leaders incorporate radio and JOTA in their unit activities — “Cub Scout Program Helps for JOTA” and “Boy Scout Troop Meeting Plan for Radio.”
Wilson pointed out that the “very successful” K2BSA operation at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in July introduced Amateur Radio to nearly 2,500 Scouts, with 305 earning the Radio merit badge.
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