Scouting Forums

Ham radio

I am about to start planning for Jamboree on the Air for my troop. We have a few leaders that are licensed and formed a “ham radio club” within the troop. Has anyone held a troop level JOTA or ham radio event?

1 Like

Hi Jeremy

I am in the Great Trail Council and I am part of the Cuyahoga Fall Amateur Radio Club. Our club is more that willing to help make JOTA happen for you. I can but you in touch with the club if we are in the same area.

Keith Melvin
Troop 77


Hi Jeremy,

Several years ago I led the effort to expand JOTA with kit building, partial Radio MB completion, and local repeater net (in addition to HF) at the ARRL Pacificon. (Long before that when WOSM was still in Europe I helped with updating WOSM online information and tools.)

Here are some sites to get started.

The primary JOTA (and JOTI) information and resource sites for Scouts, Scouters and amateur radio operators and clubs in the US are:



P.S. Previous discussion and information:
Note: How JOTA is done and what is available can change from year to year.

Post created: 2019-07-24
Post updated: 2019-07-24 07:21 am PDT


We usually team up with a local radio club and use their gear. JOTA operators do not need to be licensed as long as there is a licensed control operator present, and that person needs to be a General or Extra class license holder. We almost always do our event out of doors, but we have also used the radio room of our local radio club. Good luck! It’s a lot of fun. No better way to get the boys interested in amateur radio than by getting them on the air.


@BrianMurrey I am a licensed ham and familiar with JOTA and have participated on and off for many years. I was just curious what others have done. I haven’t heard that a General or Extra need to be the control operator unless you’re talking about most HF frequencies.

If you want to use phone on HF you’ll need a General or Extra class control operator…unless 10m SSB is open… If you’re just running VHF/UHF you’re good to go with a Technician class licensee. We’ve tried to show CW on HF but it was not of much interest to the kids. One year we had PSK-31 setup and they really enjoyed using it.

1 Like

Our troop did JOTA one year holding a lock in at my house. Unfortunately the bands weren’t very open and the scouts were too young to spend much time with it. They did all get a chance at talking to one contact that was working a LOT of troops. And we had other activities as well.

I think it is a good idea. I would have other activities available for the scouts and be ready to call them over. While some scouts will spend hours hunting down contacts, others are not going to if you don’t find an opening pretty quick. I liken HF to fishing in that regard.

1 Like

@KirkWood that’s why I always have 2m and echolink readily available. On camping trips i usually bring a dual band ht and my phone with echolink enabled. We are in the process of installing a FTDX5000 in our scout room to participate in year round contacts. We are just waiting for our chartered organization to allow us to install antennas. Hopefully HF propogation will be better once I get some scouts to their General ticket.

Wow! A FTDX5000 is a great radio with all kinds of features. Very nice. We have a radio station setup at one of our Council Camps, WD9BSA is the call we use. We have a new Venture Crew that is sort of centered around amateur radio that uses the gear most of the time, but they have frequent “open” houses for Cubs and Scouts to come and check it out.

1 Like

A couple years ago we setup JOTA in the church parking lot, worked HF, VHF, and UHF from there. We also had the county Emergency Management folks there and they brought a real cool vehicle that was decked out with radios and video and gave all the scouts and visitors a tour of the facilities on wheels. Then everyone got a free weather radio from EMS. Our priest walked by and was checking us out, we got him to sit down and try a QSO on HF and he worked a station in South America on 20m…he was impressed. So were the boys!


You might also contact your local ham radio club. The milage will vary. I have heard of clubs that tend to take the look. don’t touch approach until you have your own license. My only concern with my local club would be that they would plan too much and overwhelm the scouts.

1 Like

We had a leader from our local CERT team come in and talk to the scouts about radio comms. That might be another avenue if you have an active CERT group in your community.

1 Like

@KirkWood I dont really want to go to a local club. Id rather have a troop run event. Like my OP asked was if anyone has done it at the unit level. Im all for scouts visiting ham radio clubs and other events but Im thinking doing it at the troop level might encourage the scouts to get more involved.

In my case, the local club might meet the troop somewhere. But now I am thinking that I should check into using the ham shack at one of our council camps for a campout/JOTA outing.


World Jamboree NA1WJ / International Space Station ON4ISS QSO watch?v=0pWxzrfKjcE video is the ISS side of he conversation (QSO), 8:56 minutes. (Copy link and remove space before “watch” to view. Caution: following video at YouTube may be strange.)

Drew Morgan, KI5AAA, an assistant scoutmaster is aboard the International Space Station with his scout uniform. The callsign for the ISS amateur radio station is ON4ISS.

The contact was accomplished on Saturday, 27 June 2019, via a “telebridge” between NA1SS and ON4ISS at AMSAT-Belgium, and the event was also streamed live via the WSJ Facebook page, if all went as planned.

According to ARRL:

In its proposal for the ARISS contact, Jamboree officials said they wanted the ARISS contact to serve as “the pinnacle experience during the World Jamboree,” demonstrating to the more than 50,000 Scouts attending that “technology is a fascinating vocation as well as avocation and is a suitable area of pursuit within their Scouting program as well as at home when selecting an educational path for their lives and careers.”

1 Like

Astronaut talks from orbit to Scouts at the World Scout Jamboree, July 27, 2019, Michael Freeman, Scouting magazine


@Bill_W I would have loved to have been there to be apart of that.

So I was just asked by my District Committee to help do a JOTA event this year so I might have to change my plans and partner up with a club or two to help out. I hope this will spark a bigger interest within the district and council

Check with your council International Committee as well. JOTA/JOTI is an world Scouting event.

1 Like

@Bill_W I was asked last year in February to help run it with someone then the international committee went radio silent (no pun intended). we kept trying to make contact to get stuff set up and apparently they got someone shortly beforehand to run it so i’m not going to bother trying to do it at the council level again.