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Scouting Jota/Joti 2007


This weekend was not a getaway weekend in the age old tradition of taking the caravan off to a camp site somewhere. This weekend was the 2007 Jota/Joti for the scouts. Jota/Joti = "Jamboree on the air / Jamboree on the internet". This is when the radio waves and chat rooms open up for the scouts from around the world to contact each other and literally have fun. Ironically, it was two previous events that spurred both John (my son) and I to get out Amateur Radio licences.

The weekend was action packed and loads of fun for the kids of which there were about 60, mainly from the Eastern side of Johannesburg getting together at "Arrowe Park" in Benoni. There were bases from the radios to the internet, shooting, 4X4 and more.

Time to the photos below and all the action: -

Opening and Closing Ceremony

Opening ceremony at 09h00 on Saturday morning.

Closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon
On the left is the 9th Benoni Calisto "Girl" troop and on the Right is the 9th Benoni "Greyspear" boy troop at the closing ceremony.


Preparing the Antennas

The radio base took a bit of organisation this year. The mast detailed below is based in Arrowe Park, however, the antenna that was at the top had definitely seen better days and were totally inoperative.

A very big thank you goes out to Chris Gryffenberg ZS6COG (Vice Chairman of the East Rand Radio Club) as well as some partners in crime of the same club, Marcel (and family), and Andre. Also in full attendance was Mark ZS6MDH, both a Scout Rover and a Radio Ham. And lastly but not least, my son John ZR6JWC.

Chris and team spared no horses. On Friday afternoon after a rain storm, we all descended on the tower and cranked it down with a block and tackle and much manual effort. Both a J pole and another antenna (Not sure what it is called) were taken off. It was after 18h00 before everything was ready for the new antennas which would go on the next day.

Saturday morning arrived and the work began. Chris (an incredible guy) had sourced an old 3 beam Yagi of his for the main antenna. All together, there was 3 aerials giving us coverage of every band needed for the weekend.

O.K. this is "the one and only" capered at the radio by Chris. Seriously, it is not often that I will be caught at this side of the camera. Furthermore, for me to put it on the web site is also ludicrous, however, I am sure there are many people visiting this site wondering who I am. This is me, and in all likelihood the last time you will see a photo like this ;-)

Here is the mast on Saturday morning ready for new antennas to be mounted.


The main beam antenna being affixed to the top. Already mounted on the top of the mast was a rotator which was still in operation and worked flawlessly the whole weekend


Some of the plentiful hands on tap to help pull the monster back into the sky. Also Mark (with harness) up the mast doing some final "tiding up".
It was humorous to keep on looking around once the mast had gone up to see everyone always looking up into the sky ;-)


Time to talk


This was the set up. 4 radios with twice as many Hams.

Top two photos are Chris (ZS6COG) giving the 9th Benoni boys a lesson on Hamming as well as letting them talk on the radio. If I remember correctly, Chris is an X lecturer or teacher and his knowledge, patience and dedication were all to evident.



On the left is Marcel (ZS6OTB) assisting some of the girl scouts with a contact as well. The right photo was the crack of sparrows on Sunday morning with John leaving the base for more action elsewhere

What about contacts? Well we heard many stations around the world at different times of the day. Japan, Ukraine, Europe and north America. In particular, on the Saturday evening, Mark had Toronto coming through as if it was a local radio station. Main problem was getting through ourselves. Something I like to do on 2m is pause for a few seconds after the contact has stopped talking. This gives any person wanting to join a chance to send his call sign for a break. All stations we hear though were one on top of the other and obviously never heard.

I was giving a CQ CQ and received a call from a local Ham in Boksburg. I do not remember the call sign, however, his name was Koos. We chatted for a few minuets before handing them over to a couple of the scouters. However, once he signed off, there were contacts north of us lining up to talk and the remainder of the Saturday afternoon was spent giving the scouters a chance to talk.

Lastly, Chris brought around about 5 hand held radios and handed them to the scouters to walk around and chat. Boy, what fun did they have.


Life around the camp




Top left, the boys having breakfast on Sunday morning.





Some other photos of the camp around Arrowe Park


The shooting Bases


This was one of the shooting bases. The kids got to shoot targets using pellet guns safely enclosed by containers.
  Now this is awesome. This was a shooting base with a difference. Bow and arrows. And not a toy one at that.


The rugby 2007 World cup final

On the Saturday night was the 2007 Rugby world cup final. Everyone was quite worried that due to the camp, we would not be able to watch it.

I brought from home my DSTV decoder and stereo, from work the overhead projector and borrowed a satellite dish from Jurgen of Comet Caravans. The scene was set. Things got a bit worrying when I started getting the set up going. I simply could not get the decoder to detect the satellite. There were many trees in our way and eventually decided to move it to an open area which was basically where the opening and closing ceremony was held. Shane (9th Benoni's Group Scouter) strung up a pioneering screen, and hey presto, here we go.


On the left is a view from in front of the screen.

On the right, a view of all the scouters watching the big screen.


This photo courtesy of Peter Le Roux.

A view of the big screen from behind. As you can see, we have just won with everyone's hands in the air.



Electronics base

Mark de Hottman ran the electronics base. Participants had to build one of those gadgets where you hold a loop and pass it down a wire which has been bent. If the two wires touch, a little buzzer goes off.

Top left is Veronique (Calisto troop scouter), as well as Roz (Shane's wife) and my wife, putting a spin on the proceedings by decorating the device!!!

Bottom right photo courtesy of Peter Le Roux.


4X4 base

The 4X4 base was exceptional. Hayleigh and John both talked about it. They got to drive a Land Rover around the bush and river in the "Outback" part of Arrowe park. Hayleigh said she got to drive over logs, rocks etc and all without stalling the Landie.

Furthermore, there were a couple of quads for them to drive around with as well

If you are wondering, they were closely supervised during this event.

Unfortunately, I did not get to this base to take any photo's. Furthermore, no one else I know of took any photos either. I will see what I can do though. You never know who may have been there.


Games and JOTI Base

This was also incredible. A number of people that made this come together was inspiring.

Shane received the computers as a donation from Dell computers. There were 4 lap tops and 12 towers. All with incredible specs. 8 were put in 9th's hall where a connection was made to the internet via I-burst for the IRC chat.

The other 8 computers were put into the 1st Benoni hall, literally attached to 9th's hall where gaming was done. All games played were "Freeware". No pirate copies were entertained.

As for the computers after the event. They are being distributed to the various scout groups in the area. As Shane said, it is sacrilege to have them boxed up for 364 days or the year and only used for one day!!!

Both photos courtesy of Peter Le Roux


Lastly the aerial darts

This is also quite a crowd puller and has been used on a number of occasions.

Two steel wires sloping down to the ground, carry a make-shift aeroplane. In the body of the plane is a solenoid that is controlled by a switch and battery at the end of the wire on the ground.

When one of the participants on the ground presses the button, current flows to the plane via the cables that activates the solenoid. This opens a door which allows an object (Dart, toy human etc) to fall out onto a target below.

Loads of fun.

Photo courtesy of Peter Le Roux


Till next time keep well, travel safe and enjoy.