Successful Jamboree-on-the-Air stations need three key ingredients:
- They need licensed radio amateurs who understand what Jamboree-on-the-Air is trying to achieve and who can work with youth in radio operations and in demonstrating/explaining the technology in use.
- They need Scout leaders who want to offer their Scouts an opportunity to take an active part in international Scouting and technology activities.
- They need a sound partnership between the radio amateurs and the Scout leaders.
The partnership is important because although the radio amateurs have the technical resources and skills, they may well need help in working with young people. Likewise, the Scout leaders can rely on the expertise and experience of the radio amateurs to present all aspects of amateur radio accurately and with enthusiasm. They will also ensure that the station is operated in accordance with all regulations and standard operating practices.
The Scout leader’s role is to help prepare the participants for JOTA, getting them there on the day(s), and possibly looking after other arrangements. Finding a licensed radio amateur shouldn’t be too difficult. 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.
Early preparation and planning are important to make sure all aspects of the JOTA event come off smoothly. You wouldn’t want to disappoint the Scouts or damage the relationship between amateur radio operators and Scouting. A sample planning calendar is included on this website at the link to the right on this page.