Saturday, October 20, 2012

JOTA, Scouting, and the Sort

So this weekend marks an annual event internationally... Jamboree on the Air, or JOTA. I had been receiving a bunch of emails in recent weeks about this, and thought it was "kinda cool" but in reality had no clue what it was.

Enter today, Saturday the 20th, and I find myself in a flag ceremony taking pictures for the mayor, and then at breakfast, and then on the second highest point in Allegheny County. I was visiting the Steel City Amateur Radio Club  who hosted a station for scouts interested in participating in the international event. The idea? Scouts from all over the world could talk to each other on two specified days using HAM radios and at the same time learned about Amateur Radio-ing.

The members of the club that were there were EXTREMELY NICE. We arrived like ten minutes earlier than the beginning of the window (SCARC allotted us use from noon-5 eastern) and still the gentleman gave us a tour of the grounds, including the ham and low-frequency towers, and then took us into the clubhouse.

There, after a brief explanation of this gentleman's history of being in the scouts and hosting a JOTA at the then newly-built Heritage Reservation in 1983, they led us into the studio. Now, I've been in the studios of WYEP, KDKA, and practically live in the studio of WCHS (Morning Announcements), and I was about to add another callsign to that list.

I utilized a ham radio station using the club's callsign W3KWH, and connected to Kissimee Florida and talked to some scouts a few miles from Disney World. They said it was 'nice' being 73 degrees(F) we said it was nice, overcast, and 53 in Pittsburgh. We also connected to Birmingham, Alabama, as well as another station in Florida (Fort Meyers), and then finally contacted a guy on a county line in Iowa (Jefferson, I think) working out of his car in an Iowan contest to see who could contact the most people. This guy was from Minnesota.

I learned a few things today. I learned just how small the world was, and how friendly people are in amateur radio, and above all, I am falling in love with this Radio thing. I almost walked out with a membership application, but I want to get qualified by the FCC first. (Hear that FCC?)

If I met you (Alex Popichak, Life Scout with Troop 831, Right Outside Of Pittsburgh) it was awesome to do so =73=. I remember there was a guy named Isaac, and I think a Connor there too. So many others, and I plan on getting into this a tad further, and maybe meeting some other new people.

This coming Friday (10/26) marks the Fall Sports senior night, and the last time I'm lending my voice to the Cougar Marching band and Carlynton's football field this year. It's been fantastic, and I plan on doing it again soon. Come on out, game starts at 7pm, and senior night stuff starts at like 6:45...

With that means that I will attempt to get back to Friday Evening posts come this November... Fingers Crossed!

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