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JOTA and JOTI at Narrabeen 2001

The weekend of 20-21 October saw over 230 Scouts, Guides, Cubs, and Brownies descend on Lakeside Caravan Park at Narrabeen for the annual SNR JOTA Camp. Scouts and Guides can camp for the weekend, Cubs and Brownies are welcome as day visitors.

The amateur radios were operated by volunteers from the Manly Warringah Radio Society. We thank this group who give up their time every year and provide their own radio equipment for the weekend. Without these people the weekend would not be possible.

There were also computers for participating in the Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI). Many "chats" took place with other Scouts and Guides around the world.

An electronic kit is also included in the camp fee, and this year it was a flashing red light which could be fitted to the back of a pushbike. As this kit didn't make any noise it was a welcome relief to the leaders after last year's siren kit! Many Venturers were on hand to help with assembly and soldering.

As the caravan park is right on Narrabeen Lakes it is perfect for water activities. This year there was swimming, canoeing and raft making. The 40 or so canoes come from different groups around the region. Raft making is done with ropes, poles and large inner tubes.

The weather was a bit cloudy and windy on Saturday, but it was hot and sunny on Sunday, so the water activities were very popular then.

The region flying fox team built a huge flying fox as part of the land based activities. Other land activities were greasy pole pillow fights, and horizontal bungee. At night their was videos in a big marquee, and radio and computer sessions.

The radios operated on the following bands: 2m, 10m, 15m, 20m and 40m, making contacts on each. 2m is in the VHF (Very High Frequency) region while the others are in the HF (High Frequency) region. Depending on the propagation and time of day determines which band has best chance of skipping around the world to other places.

Contacts were made directly with the USA, one on 10m and one on 15m. One operator made a 10m contact into Thailand and a 10m contact into an Island off Spain (Camaroon Is I think. The contact was very very faint). Had good contacts with the UK, Ireland, USA (NewJersey), Canada on 2m with iLink. Australian contacts included Far North Queensland and Wodonga Victoria.

We had three radios operating in seperate tents. The one that was mostly used was switchable between two antennae. The wire antennae could operate on 20m and 40m, the vertical one on 10m. The other HF radio used a three element triband Yagi (looks like an overgrown tv antenae. Yagi was one of the 2 guys who invented it, the other was Udo). Three elements means its got three beams across it, triband means it can operate on three different bands, 10m, 15m and 20m. It was mostly used on 20m as that is the best allround band for contacts. Sunday morning was good early but propagation dropped off around 10.30. Saturday was pretty good all day and night. Pity we didn't see more people in the evening as some good contact were made at that time.

With the computers there was 15 PCs on a local area network connected to the Internet. We were using the Scoutink Chat servers to access the special JOTI chat rooms. These are operated by Scout leaders and are considered very safe for kids to use. Sometimes the Ops are very tough and kick you off the channel for using inappropriate language. The most common message from the Ops was "This is not a dating service."

Overall this was a very successful camp.