by Steve M0NMA

SKARS were approached to see if we could help out a couple of Jamborees on the Air, which were being organised at short notice. We were delighted to be able to help out the 9th Grantham Scouts at their hut as well as the 1st Foston Scouts at their hut.

Stewart M0SDM, Sean 2E0ENN and Steve M0NMA set up HF, VHF and UHF stations using GB2GDS as well as providing a Morse training key and an Openspot to access the JOTI channels. Richard G0OJF took his mobile shack and operated under the club callsign MX0SKR.

There were not a lot of contacts on the day, but that didn’t matter as the key aim was to give the scouts experience of getting on air and to exchange a few greeting messages, along with some questions. As well as QSOs with some patient amateurs there were a few contacts with other scout groups, mainly on VHF. The HF station operated on 80m and 40m, with the best DX being a station in Ireland. There were enough contacts so that everyone who wanted to was able to get on air.

Not everything went to plan. Despite Steve testing out the Openspot the previous day, it refused to connect to the internet. An attempt was made to get it going helped by Paul, one of the Scout leaders, who was able to make up an ethernet patch cable (‘Be Prepared’ taken to the extreme) but all attempts failed. We resorted to Zello, where we were able to connect to the Southern Ireland repeater network and managed a few QSOs – many thanks to John EI7JG who patiently spoke to three of the cubs and Bryan ZL3BHS who stayed up past midnight, as well as all the users listening to a QSO between Grantham and South Island, being transmitted by the 7 Southern Ireland repeaters!

The morse trainer proved to be surprisingly popular, with a few of the cubs able to send their names in a way that could be decoded, although there was liberal use of 8 dits before we got there. The PMR radios also got a lot of use to the point that the battery died, but subsequent checks showed plenty of life so the Kenwoods used must have just overheated. Not surprising after over an hour’s continuous use.

We received lots of positive feedback from the scout leaders and a request to help both the 9th Grantham and Barrowby Scouts with their communications badge. Plans are already underway for next year.

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