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Ron K6CPR

  1. Graphics are a big plus.  The tri-fold board with basic information helped give the group a good initial understanding of radio.  For instance, I referred back to the antenna pattern image (donut shape) a few times, and everyone knew what I was talking about.
  2. The special callsign K6J was a fantastic idea. Hopefully the address tied to the qrz page will generate some QSL cards. I wonder if we should consider a LOTW registration next time, or is that even worth it? Or e-QSL which I know very little about. Would the scouts benefit from that?
  3.  Internet access is critical to finding the other JOTA operations.  There was very poor cell (data) service on Pacifico, so other JOTA spots were unobtainable.  A fix would be to have an home based operator or two that could relay the spots via radio and/or ARPS. While the focus of JOTA is supposed to be connecting to other scouts, I found the scouts were excited to make any contact. They really seemed to enjoy the thrill of radio.
  4. All of the Scouts that tried FT8 seemed to really like digital.  They were excited to receive and contact other countries.  One scout realized that everyone speaks the same language on FT8 and another expressed the desire to send more information by digital messaging. PSK31 and/or JS8Call could accomplish that. One scout was mic shy, but he jumped at the offer to try digital.  PSK-Reporter was explained and the scouts wished we had that working.  A home based supporting operator could take screenshots of PSK-Reporter and those screenshots could be shared after the event. Or if we could get a decent cell data signal, we could display PSK-Reporter Live on a second screen (ipad). (I have always wanted a cell signal booster in the Jeep.  Maybe this is my excuse to buy one;-)
  5. A DXCC list was needed, in callsign prefix order, with countries highlighted that have 3rd party agreements with the United States. Several callsigns were seen on FT8 and the country list we had was in alphabetical Country order and not in Prefix order, so we had trouble finding the 3rd party information.
  6. The scouts liked the beam (log periodic) antenna for 2 meters, pointing different directions and zeroing in on their contacts. Having a map that they could orient the beam to, would help them understand what they are pointing at.  One scout wanted to know how I knew so well what major cities we were pointing at. I tried to show him on my phone map how I knew the lay of the land. A printed state map with our marked location placed in the proper orientation (use a compass or a landmark), would help them understand how well the directional antenna is working. There were a lot of questions from the scouts and parents about antennas.  Adding a Yagi antenna pattern to the tri-fold display would be beneficial, or an additional display board just on antennas.
  7. Take advantage of repeaters.  We could have the scouts call CQ on local repeaters if they are running out of contacts on the calling frequencies. 
  8. Having a 2 meter station at the very top of the hill, away from the other stations was a hit.  I think it gave the scouts a little more sense of adventure going up to the very top of the peak, where the view was the best. It also demonstrated clear line of sight, and another unique antenna (j-pole).
  9. Ideally, each scout needs a clipboard to carry their log from station to station. The phonetic alphabet printouts came in handy, and each scout could have one along with their log sheet on their clipboard.
  10. I saw a few scouts trying the CW Practice Station. Excellent idea!
  11. DMR and D-Star have talkgroups or reflectors dedicated to JOTA. We could try to add that capability, as those would all be JOTA contacts.
  12. We could help newly licensed scouts (and parents/leaders) do their first SOTA activation.
  13. We could seek out some hams that do Fox Hunts and let the scouts track down the hidden transmitters. I think the scouts would enjoy this "not a sit down" ham radio activity.
  14. Bring out a rock climbing operator (like Adam) with ropes and gear, and he/she could assist the scouts rock climb up to a station to operate, set up at the top of the climb. Another ham activity that keeps the scouts moving and involved.

Lorene W6LOR

  1. I think operating JOTA, SOTA-style was an excellent way to introduce the scouts to amateur radio.
  2. We definite had a hard time making HF contacts with the 2nd HF rig.  In hindsight, doing a test calling the local/regional chasers (maybe lining this up in advance) would have been a good idea to test the equipment and also lineup some SOTA chasers for the scouts to talk to.  I didn't think to do this because we thought there would be other scouts on the air to talk to. In fact, we heard other scouts on the JOTA calling frequency (7.190), but when we tried to contact them - it seemed they could not hear us at all.  It wasn't until Mike was able to get a SOTA spot out with his cell phone - that the girls I was working with made any HF contacts.  They were very patient but I'm so glad they got to talk to other states! In retrospect, I guess we could have brought up the nanoVNA to check/troubleshoot (plus test equipment is fun). You can take a look at the logs for Pacifico to see the chasers. Mike activated the peak on 2m in part to test the Jpole & power amp were working before the scouts showed up. If you search the SOTA database for K6STR, and then click on "Show who chased Me" it will come up with the log for Pacifico for the day.  https://www.sotadata.org.uk/en/log/activator/show/575582
  3. There were quite a number of logs for K6J, and we got a few more on HF that weren't logged. 
  4. Being on a peak is what SOTA is about.  Maybe in the future doing JOTA, SOTA-style, will become a regular tradition in Socal SOTA .

 

Mike K6STR

  1. We generated a few mini-pileups for a couple of the scouts on 2m and I think they were nervous at first but ultimately got a real kick out of it. (We heard from a chaser on Sunday how impressed they were with the kids operating).
  2. Being up on the hill also gave us a chance to look over at Mount Wilson, with all of its antennas and masts and have a short discussion of why many of us like to operate from peaks and why commercial and public service infrastructure chooses it as well.
  3. I think we struggled making contacts on the 2nd HF station more than I expected. Not sure why.
  4. Glad to hear that the directional VHF stuff was fun.  Transmitter fox hunting sounds like a fun and educational activity for next time, too!