JOTA and JOTI at Narrabeen 2005
The Region camp was held at Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park at Narrabeen, in conjunction with the Northern Sydney Girl Guides. 180 Scouts and Guides came together from about 20 groups to camp at Narrabeen for the weekend. We camp at Narrabeen as the location provides excellent radio communications.
On Friday afternoon a cool southerly change came through, although by lunchtime on Saturday the sky had cleared and it was quite warm. We were blessed, and the rain stayed away until Sunday afternoon, just after all the tents had been packed away.
The main activities for the weekend are, of course, participating in the Jamboree of the Air (JOTA) and the Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI). For JOTA we use radios provided by the Manly Warringah Radio Society, and for JOTI there is a network of computers connected to the Internet.
Other activities held on the weekend are assembling an electronic kit, water activities and land based activites.
All the groups are rostered to attend each activity at a given time, with 90 minutes for each (3 hours for water activities).
We also had a programme for Cub Scouts and Junior Guides who visited for the day. This allowed them to make a simple flashing electronic badge, and participate in the radio and computer activities.
We had at least three radio transmitters in operation for the whole weekend. The region has its own call sign, VK2SNR.
The frequencies we were using included:
- HF 14MHz, and 7MHz - standard Scout frequencies
- VHF 146.875 Repeater - VK2RMB
- VHF 147.425 VK2SNR-L via Echolink
There were two tents with radios and this system worked well - all the same bands/modes were operated, and gave a higher chance of making a decent contact. All groups experienced a contact with another Scout/Guide station.
Contacts were had on 20 metres (14Mhz band) into Queensland, Victoria, and New Zealand.
Contacts were had on 40 metres (7Mhz band) into Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.
International (excepting NZ) contacts were few and far between during the weekend, due to conditions and the fact that we are the second timezone (NZ is first) to start JOTA. Most international activity happens Saturday night or Sunday Afternoon - which does not fit our schedule very well, unfortunately.
There was one brief contact on the Echolink node to Saudi Arabia on Saturday afternoon.
Echolink uses the Internet to connect radio transmitters. The radio operator uses a small handheld radio to connect to the base station. The base station is connected to a computer. The computer makes a connection, via the Internet, to other computers, which have similarly attached radios. This allows low powered UHF radios to make high quality connections to almost anywhere on the planet. It is also far less susceptible to atmospheric conditions and interference.
For more information on Echolink see the Echolink Website,
This year we had a network with 17 computers, all used for IRC and web browsing. IRC, using the Scoutlink chat servers, was the main activity with many conversations taking place across a variety of channels. Some Scouts and Guides experimented with other languages that they were studying at school, which caused plenty of amusement translating the jargon and slang.
Our Internet connection was upgraded from a 56k dialup to 512k broadband wireless. The performance improvement was very noticeable and we'd like to thank Peter May for loaning us his wireless unit.
The Scoutlink chat servers are online all year round, and there is always someone online to chat to. See the Scoutlink web site.
The kit this year was an electronic siren - hopefully the batteries will all be well and truly flat by the time you read this.
180 kits were built. 22 Venturers, 6 parents and leaders also assisted the Scouts and Guides with the assembly of the kits.
More than 60% of the kits worked first time and were completed within an hour.
The day visitors assembled 30 flashing light kits with badges and some of the Venturers assisted in the assembly and worked the infernal badge making machine.
Instructors from the North Harbour Scout Water Base team were on hand to run the water activity, and to inspect and register canoes.
We had around 25 canoes, although not all were used.
The caravan park is located on the shores of Narrabeen Lakes. Due to the cold weather conditions there was no rafting this year, instead it was decided to take everyone on a canoe jouney past the big island in the western basin, past the Elanora scout hall and return. There was an overwhelming conclusion that this was great, so we will do it again next year.
The land activities this year consisted of the famous slippery pole, volleyball, relay races and a few other favourites.
Groups warmed up with 15 a side volleyball and then headed to the slippery pole for one-on-one pillow fights to take their revenge on each other.
Some sat on the pole and fought each other and many hung upside down but still managed to have a great time.