It was a good day for Radio Scouting — the combination of amateur radio and Scouting. We are currently in the final stages of preparation for Jamboree on the Air that runs this weekend. We’ve set up an online registration system for USA JOTA stations. Last week’s registrations brought the current total up to 255 stations. This is quite above last year’s registration which hit 162 stations. Plus, we have a full week to go. Friday, we’ll make the last update to the listing that you can see here.
This afternoon, the ARRL informed me that my article on Radio Scouting had been published here. It’s a great overview of all that has been happening with Radio Scouting over the last two years, but begins with the creation of the Wireless Merit Badge in 1918, that is now the Radio Merit Badge. Note that nearly 7,000 Radio Merit Badges are earned each year by Scouts. This is up sharply from the average of around 1,000 per year in the 70’s and 80’s. It began to climb beginning in the early 90’s when the Morse Code requirement was dropped. Lest you feel that Scouting has abandoned Morse Code, not so! We just introduced the Morse Code Interpreter Strip in May of this year to recognize proficiency in this communication language to assist in emergencies and other communication needs.
The promotion leading up to this year’s JOTA has been just superb. ICOM America, our sponsor for JOTA and the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, has been running ads in Ham Nation and promoting it through banner ads on the ARRL website. Plus, they ran an ad in last week’s ARRL Letter that generated over 300 visitors to our landing page just in the first day, with a total of nearly 1,000 visitors over the next several days. Further, there have been many articles, videos, Tweets, you name it — all promoting JOTA. It should prove to be a great event this year. ICOM also provided JOTA point of purchase displays for all their dealers this past summer. They were designed by the BSA Creative Team and manufactured/distributed by ICOM and Ray Novak, N9JA. Here’s the design for the banner.
Ham Nation Episode 68 ran a three minute advertisement by Leo Laporte of Twit.tv on Jamboree on the Air. My favorite though was the show opening “Ham Nation brought to you by ICOM and Jamboree on the Air!” Fantastic stuff!
I hope that you’ll be able to get on the air for JOTA! You can see a full list of frequencies, including dedicated IRLP and Echolink nodes as well as a D-Star reflector here. Get on the air and engage in conversations with our Scouts about the technology, fun, and magic of amateur radio.