49th Jamboree on the Air

Troop 272, Fountain County, IN. will be on the AIR, ECHOLINK and

just plain having fun! WB9SA, K9BKW and KC9EVS stations should be up.

Saturday October 21th 10 am to 6 pm EST (3pm UTC to 11pm UTC).

Please Give us a call!




JOTA  sounds like Joe Ta (short “a” sound), is the annual scouting and amateur radio event sponsored by the World Scout Bureau of the World Organization….  Sound cool enough.


This is our troops second year to participate in JOTA, last year the 46th annual running, we divided the troop into three groups at three stations, Emergency Management in Crawfordsville, Red Cross based Ham Radio Club called TARA in Lafayette and the Purdue Ham Radio Club. We had licensed Amateur Radio Operators (HAM) at each location and we tried to call other troops around the world… We talked to each other most of the time, and except a couple of California contacts, the Pizza and Bowling made the night fun…


This year was totally different.  First, the troop now has four (three scouts, one adult) licensed Amateur operators, and we have our own club station and call WB9SA, in our own permanent room, complete with ten computers linked to high speed internet, and our own web site www.troop272.com   We also have access to a kitchen for the Pizza’s -- feed the stomach, and then the fun goes so much easier.


Saturday we started at 2 pm and went to 7:30 pm so we could work Asia, or West… Sunday we started at 10 AM and went to 1:30 PM so we could work East (UK) stations.


It’s 11 pm, Saturday in Geneva Switzerland, and the World Scout HQ has just finished a fine dinner, Richard is out taking an after dinner walk, working the world on his hand held radio, Troop 272 is finishing up a QSO (a friendly chat in Ham radio ease) with IT9SAK, Nunzio Sambataro in Belpasso Italy, when Richard using the call HB9S, off the HB9G repeater comes on and has a chat with us!  Who would believe the HQ of the World Scouting Movement would call us WB9SA???  Too Cool, but not the boys favorite call.


We talked with K1BSA at Camp Roosevelt, in Maine… They have an occasional Moose in camp and had a suspected rabbit coyote (it wasn’t), and Raccoons are always making a mess of the latrines.  VE6JAM was a bunch of fun loving scouts from Calgary Canada… They kept saying they had 3 feet of snow and the igloo had collapse etc. Not believing them we checked weather.com and sure enough it was 23 degrees and snowing.  The Girl and Boy Scouts in Subic Bay, Philippines where a bit hard to understand, but their leader had an Awesome setup, including a map of the world, with all the stations they had talked with (yes we are on it) http://www.subicbay.ph/


The Australian’s VK4WJ got on with our troop for over two hours!  Jeff was the adult control operator; they have their own Den (the word other countries use for a scout room, cabin etc.) with a radio and computers. http://pmscouts.tesc.com.au/index.htm      http://pmscouts.tesc.com.au/photos/JOTA2004/jota010.jpg

Troop 272 has a bit of an addiction to www.runescape.com and I now suspect the Australian’s leadership has a new problem on their hands… Scouts traded runescape ID’s and I suspect we will have new friendships with much longer bonds if the grand plan works out.  The Australian Scouts love go Abselling, what, Abselling, they do it down a rock face, and they have a great rock face in downtown Townsville (I went scuba diving out of Townsville once, and I can’t remember anyone Abselling downtown).  Turns out they use a rope and a figure eight to do it… Ah repelling, sounds a bit like Abselling doesn’t it.  We mentioned our web site, www.troop272.com and they saw our caving photos… Turns out they have some Lava Tubes to cave in, but prefer a mountain stream and the cool shade of a tree for a campout or a trip to Magnetic Island (sounds like a Captain Hook hangout).


We also worked KC9GBA, Kevin, the Sr. Patrol leader for a troop out of the Bloomington, IL area, turns out our Sr. Patrol leader KC9EVS, Austin is also a Licensed Ham Radio operator.


All in all the 47th JOTA was a success!  What will we be doing for an encore next year?  Well, we have just about got the 272 Web Cam up and running!  And we are building a Slow Scan TV system for our Tranceiver, so we can send picture over the Ether.  We hope to get a lot of local troops on the air, so we can make at least one Prairielands Council contact.  There is a 300 foot tower in Danville, IL that works as a repeater; with a hand held transceiver, we can work most of the Council (Champaign to Veedersburg), and wouldn’t it be fun to chat with the locals, as well as the world.  With our 100 watt transceiver we worked stations from Minnesota to Kansas.  But, here is the cool thing!  EchoLink.  With Echolink running on a computer, you can work the world.  Yes, you need a licensed Ham Radio operator to get and run it for you, and what a cool thing it is.  Over half our contacts were EchoLink contacts.  Frank Heritage M0AEU, a Brit that has worked many a World Jamboree and pioneered EchoLink last year for JOTA, turned me on to it… He helped set it up this year in Switzerland.  With EchoLink you can take your voice over the internet, around the world, and come out a repeater, just as easily as I can work a station in Danville IL from Fountain County!  Plus if the other group is on EchoLink too, you can send text and talk, have a conference with others all at the same time!  That’s how we started sharing Web sites -- they could see our troop in action and we could see them.


So for next year, get an Amateur Radio license or find someone that is licensed; set up a web page showing your 2005 activities in scouting, get a two foot stack of 98 cent WallyWorld pizza’s and start talking!  We had three stations (2 meter – but no one else was locally available to talk with, EchoLink, and an HF rig – our 100 watt station).  With 10 boys, one could talk, one could log, and anothers play Runescape… and everyone is happy!


Now are you excited about getting your Amateur Radio License?  http://www.troop272.com/Ham.htm will get you started.  I offered to put a Saturday Mornings class together, but the only reply was a scout saying it was too far to drive from Champaign to Veedersburg (right you are! And if you work in Indianapolis till 5 pm, the 7 pm Scouter’s meetings just don’t work on a work night!).  So, go to http://www.arrl.org/hamradio.html and find a club in your area, get yourself a local Elmer (a skilled person that will take you under their wings and help you!).  And after you read “Now You’re Talking, 5th edition” and take a whole bunch of practice tests at www.qrz.com  (scrowl down on left) passing with 90% consistently, you are ready to take the $12 exam, go to http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml to find a place and time convenient to you. Email me and let me know your progress bwalker@k-inc.com  Troop 272 plans to have ten licensed scouts over the next year, and with luck, send a few to the 2007 World Jamboree in the UK for the 100th Anniversary of Scouts – and work the Radio Station – of course!


It would be great to get a Scout Net (a group that meets on the air at a certain time and frequency) up on the air locally! Our troop took our base and hand held radios to summer camp and worked all the scouts working on the Radio merit badge (10 minute QSO) in our camp and a Western Mass summer camp’s scouts.  Plus a bunch of other stations, including Argentina!



Brian K Walker, K9BKW (73 means warm greetings, salutations, etc.), Scoutmaster, Webmaster and now Station Control Operator www.troop272.com


Whiskey Bravo 9 Sierra Alpha  or is it Whiskey Boy 9 Scouting America (parents have to love it),

Hope to hear you on the air soon!