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JOTA - This Weekend!


    Don't forget about Jamboree On the Air (JOTA), which takes place this
weekend.  Everyone should be involved in this great activity!

    Jamboree On the Air (JOTA) is an on-air event that occurs worldwide
every third weekend of each October.  Its purpose is to introduce ham radio
to Scouts of all kinds (Boy, Girl, Cub, Brownies, etc.) - as well as any
youth who might not be involved in scouting.  Activities include learning
about ham radio, making contacts on all bands and modes that the control
operator is privileged to be on, and - ultimately - lighting a fire of
interest underneath these youth so that they will want to study up and get
their own Amateur Radio license.

    There is no doubt that Amateur Radio needs young blood within its ranks.
JOTA is an excellent opportunity for you and your club to do its part in
ensuring the future of ham radio through interesting youth.  I strongly
encourage you and your club to offer JOTA to the youth in your area this
year, and even go as far as making it annual club event (it's easy to plan
for, because JOTA
is always the 3rd weekend of October).

    Start by getting together some hams who would be willing to serve as
control operators for the JOTA station you or your club picks (whether it is
at someone's shack, or at a club station).  Plan an excellent program to
introduce our hobby to the young participants in a way that is fun and
educational - not boring or bland.  Remember, first impressions are what
counts!  Teach them about the hobby, and what it exists for.  Show them what
can be done with ham radio, both in fun and serious/emergency situations.
Mention what easy steps can be followed to get a ham radio license
(remember, these are youth...don't scare them with too much technical
stuff!)  Then offer certain activities to hit it all home.  Put them on the
air on HF and VHF (key word...put THEM on the air).  Offer fun activities
like transmitter hunting, satellite demonstration, building antennas, etc.
If you have a Scout leader in the group, ask him/her to help the
participants with the Radio merit badge (most of the requirements can be
taken care of during JOTA).

    Then PROMOTE this activity - even if only a few days remain until this
event! It takes place starting Saturday October 20 at 0001 hours local time
to Sunday October 21, 2359 hours local time, though you may make your own
hours of operation within that time-frame. Participants DO NOT need to stay
for the whole event.  Emphasize this fact when you promote this activity!
They may come and go as they would like, or stay for the whole event - it is
up to them.  Extend an invitation to any young person you or your club
members may know (Fact: everybody on this list knows at least one young
person...hint-hint).  Visit Boy Scout and Girl
Scout troops and packs and promote the event, too! Go to a local school and
invite the young ones there to participate. Get as many youth to your JOTA
event as possible, because I'm willing to bet they have never participated
in an activity like this. Over 400,000 youth participated worldwide in JOTA
last year...think of the fun they will have this year!

    I know that JOTA is only a few days away, but please consider organizing
this event this year, and then plan on it for next October.  The key to
making it successful is to have good planning, good promotion and a
willingness within your club to extend an invitation to young people, who
are the ultimate future of our hobby (sadly, there aren't enough of them
right now).

    For more information about JOTA, head over to the ARRL website
(www.arrl.org) and do a word search on "JOTA".  They have a JOTA packet that
is available for mailing, which includes lots of great ideas and information
(more of a FYI for next year since it is too late to mail them now).  If you
have any questions, please email me and I will be happy to answer when I
check my mail.

    Thank you, and I hope to work you and your club on the air helping ham
radio's future during JOTA !

Brian, N5ZGT
   Amateur Radio Station N5ZGT - N5ZGT PBBS, 145.01 MHz
   ARRL Life Member, NorCal #1700 QRP-L #580 AK/QRP #125

   Boy Scouts of America - Eagle Scout 12/6/96 - ASM, Troop 85
   Vigil Honor Member, O.A. Lodge 66 Yah-Tah-Hey-Si-Kess

   Please visit my site at http://www.unm.edu/~brianm

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