Jamboree On The Air

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Jamboree on the Air (JOTA)

Each year, on the third weekend of October, more than 400,000 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Guides gather on the airwaves for the annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), using Amateur Radio as their common "campground".  They exchange information about themselves, their hobbies, and their countries.  When they "break camp", they come away with a greater understanding of the world—and of ham radio.

Started in 1958 by Les Mitchell, G3BHK, Jamboree on the Air has grown to become the largest international Scouting event.  It involves as many as 10,000 Amateur Radio stations in over 100 countries.

Some scouts and leaders hold ham radio licenses and have their own stations, but most Scouts participate in JOTA by visiting stations operated by local amateur radio clubs and individual radio amateurs.  Ham radio operators usually suggest that the Scouts visit their station, but sometimes the operator will bring equipment to a "local" campsite.  Occasionally, JOTA stations are set up in unusual or remote locations, just like Field Day.

Radio operators run their stations in accordance with their national licensing regulations, which vary from country to country.  Third-party traffic rules must be strictly obeyed.

JOTA is held each year on the third weekend in October.  The event begins at 0000 hours local time (12:00 AM) Saturday and ends at 2400 hours local time (12:00 PM) Sunday, although some activity may begin on Friday or continue over into Monday to take advantage of DX (long distance) time differences.

JOTA is not a contest.  The idea is not to contact as many stations as possible during the weekend but to promote friendship around the world through Amateur Radio.

All participating groups are asked to send a report of their activities to their National JOTA Organizer (NJO) and to ARRL HQ after the event.

Stations should call "CQ Jamboree", or answer stations doing so.


Suggested Worldwide JOTA Frequencies
Band SSB (phone) CW (Morse code)
80 meters 3.690 / 3.940 MHz 3.570 MHz
40 meters 7.090 / 7.190 MHz 7.030 MHz
20 meters 14.290 MHz **14.060 MHz
17 meters 18.140 MHz 18.080 MHz
15 meters 21.360 MHz 21.140 MHz
12 meters 24.960 MHz 24.910 MHz
10 meters *28.390 MHz 28.180 MHz
  6 meters 50.160 MHz 50.160 MHz

* On 10 meters, try 28.350 MHz (phone), where US "Novice" class licensees may participate.

** On 20 meters, 14.070 MHz is generally used for PSK31.  Consider operating CW below this frequency.

For local contacts, the 2-meter band is extremely popular; 2-meter packet radio is also a very popular mode, both for local communications and for international contacts.

Note that the World Scout Frequencies changed July 1, 2007.  The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) changed its band plans to create space for more digital transmissions.  Some scout frequencies were affected by this.

Traditionally, scout frequencies were chosen in a segment where low-power (QRP) stations transmit.  This allowed Scouts to operate such stations from camp sites and still be able to communicate with others.  Some of these frequencies have changed over time.

The amateur radio bands are increasingly busy with competitions.  With the scout frequencies chosen outside of the contest segments as far as possible, Scout stations can operate undisturbed.

If you’d like to take part in JOTA, contact your local Scout leaders and offer your station for the event.  JOTA gives hams a chance to interest Scouts in amateur radio.  Perhaps they’ll want to become hams.  You may generate enough interest to conduct a licensing class.

For event rules, report forms, contact cards, patches, and many other resources, visit www.arrl.org/jamboree-on-the-air-jota.