VTARA Participates in Jamboree On the Air

On Saturday, October 18, 2014, members of the Virginia Tech ARA and the Floyd Amateur Radio Socitety introduced about twenty scouts and parents to amateur radio at the Chantilly Festival Farm in Floyd, Virginia during the annual Jamboree On the Air (JOTA).  JOTA is an internation event that takes place the third full weekend of every October with the aim of connecting boy and girl scouts around the world through amateur radio.  The scouts came from Blacksburg Troop 704 and various cub scout packs in the New River Valley Area.  All operations were conducted under the N4USA call sign of the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service (FAIRS).

Scouts had the opportunity communicate on the radio using both phone (Single Side Band/SSB) and digital (PSK31) using excellent facilities provided by David Larsen, KK4WW.  Equipment included a 500 W amplifier, a tri-band yagi antenna, and G5RV.  VTARA member Ben Williams, KK4EWT, supplied an IC-7200 for the PSK station.  Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, provided a CW (Morse code) demonstation station which provided computerized decoding of  Morse code sent by a straight key, iambic paddles, and a bug.  VTARA member Matthew Sherburne showed scouts his mobile HF installation, which included an Icom IC-706MKIIG and a self-adjusting screwdriver-type antenna.

The scouts enjoyed making QSOs on all stations and learning about ham radio in general and look forward to next year's JOTA!