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Balkans On The Air 2020 – A YOTA Sub-Regional Ham Camp – Open for All Youngsters

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After 4 successful Serbian national YOTA camps, Amateur Radio Union of Serbia (SRS) decided to host first Balkan sub-regional YOTA event. It will be held from 3rd to 6th of April 2020. near Belgrade, capital city of Serbia. We invite all the Balkans youngsters to participate in this event and have fun weekend full of activities related to radio hobby and meet new people that share same interest. Balkans region is big so youngsters from Balkans will have priority, we will try to save some seats for youngsters from countries outside the Balkans.

Who?

Are you 15–25 years old and interested in amateur radio? You are welcome to this event. Newcomers to radio hobby are welcome. We only ask you to be a member of one of the IARU member societies.

Where?

The event will take place in the Deliblato Sands nearby Pančevo and Belgrade, Serbia. There is a youth camp complex with all required facilities (sleeping rooms, space for activities etc.).

Activities

At the moment, we are completing the full program. We can say that it’s going to be very interesting. It will be packed full with workshops and other activities, we want to introduce newcomers to hobby and also teach experienced radio amateurs some advanced stuff. Also there will be all famous Intercultural Evening – one of the most known activities form Youngsters On The Air events.

There will be at least 2 radio stations available at any time during your stay, covering HF, VHF and UHF.

You will definitely have fun and meet new people.

Costs?

Biggest part of the event is funded by IARU R1 and the SRS funds. We ask all participants to contribute a fee of €20. We recommend participating members’ societies to cover their participants’ travel costs.

Accommodation, 3 meals a day and activities are covered.

How to apply?

We have limited amount of spots available so we recommend applying as soon as possible. You can apply via this link. Applications are accepted from January 10th to February 10th.

We will send more detailed information to participants after the application deadline. Do you have any questions, feel free to contact Ljuba YU5EEA at yu5eea@sbb.rs.

See you soon!

73, Balkans On The Air Organizing Team

Upcoming Winter YOTA – PA 2019

By | Publication, Winter YOTA PA 2019 | No Comments

With only a few days left till Winter YOTA, we want to thank our sponsors to make this event possible! Young amateur radio enthusiasts coming from Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Serbia and The Netherlands will be travelling to Oosterhout, in the Southern part of The Netherlands. Listen for PA6YOTA 12-15 December and make a QSO with one of the youngsters. Follow the YOTA pages for updates on the event!

Youth on the Air Camp Coming to IARU Region 2

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The first camp for young amateur radio operators in North, Central, and South America is coming to West Chester, Ohio in June, 2020.

A summer camp for licensed amateur radio operators ages 15 through 25 will take place June 21 through June 26, 2020 at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township (North Cincinnati), Ohio, according to an announcement today by the Youth on the Air (YOTA) committee in IARU Region 2. The camp is being hosted by the museum and the West Chester Amateur Radio Association (WC8VOA). The camp, a modified version of the popular Youngsters on the Air camps in IARU Region 1 covering Europe and Africa, is operated by Electronic Applications Radio Service, Inc. (EARS). EARS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to wireless technologies and activities. IARU Region 2 covers North, Central and South America. The camp will focus on building peer & mentor relationships and learning how to take amateur radio to the next level. Campers will attend workshops and activities in multiple STEM-related subjects, such as Radio Contesting, Electronic Kit Building, D-STAR, APRS, Satellite Communications, Building Antennas, and Radio Direction Finding and Orienteering. Campers will also build teams and contesting skills by using amateur radio at nearby Kings Island Amusement Park. A high altitude balloon launch is also being planned. Social and team building activities include a pizza and pool party, a trip to Dave & Buster’s and operation of a special event station using the call sign W8Y. The event is a pilot for what hopefully will become a future series at other locations. This is the first camp specifically for youngsters 15 to 25 living in the Americas who already have their amateur licenses.

This camp could not take place without financial and equipment support. Campers will use the latest and greatest amateur radio equipment courtesy of ICOM America, Heil Sound, X-Tronic, and R&L Electronics. Major financial supporters at the time of this press release include: the Yasme Foundation, the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation, Orlando Hamcation and Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC), the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF), Dayton Hamvention and Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), the Huntsville Hamfest, the ARRL Foundation, Southwest Ohio DX Association (SWODXA), Radio Amateurs of Canada, and Gary West, K8DEV & Dee Dee West, KA8DXE. Their financial support makes it possible for these aspiring young amateur radio operators to attend the camp at a greatly reduced cost. Clubs and individuals who wish to donate to help further defray the costs of the camp can do so via PayPal by visiting YOTAregion2.org, and clicking on the donate button. Donations can also be made on GoFundMe. More information about YOTA in the Americas as well as the summer camp can be found at YOTAregion2.org, and on YOTAregion2 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. YOTAregion2.org is also sponsored by ICOM America.

December YOTA Month activity – DYM 2019

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The entire month of December several youngsters under the age of 26 will become active with YOTA as suffix in the callsign. The idea for this is to show the amateur radio hobby to youth and to encourage youngsters to be active on the ham radio waves.

You won’t hear YOTA stations often during the year. Thus, the only chances are the camp stations during YOTA summer and subregional camps. And of course, an extended presence during the December YOTA Month activity. Over 40 stations signing YOTA suffixes will be qrv in about 2 months of time.

Give a demonstration in a school or local club, gather together with your friends, grab a pizza and make some QSOs or enjoy a great pile-up. Let us all show this great hobby to the world. Because we know that there is youth in hamradio!

Feel free to make a QSO with the youngsters, they are happy to get some attention and exchange information. Licensed and unlicensed youth will be making QSOs, be aware this could be their first radio contact ever and give them a chance to experience a possible new hobby.

There will be an award program available as well. Work as many YOTA stations on as many bands as possible and be eligible for your Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum award for free. This program promotes the radio activity on the air waves and shows that there is and will be activity in the future. Visit our website events.ham-yota.com for more information about the awards rules.

If you are under the age of 26 get in contact with your countries youth coordinators and get on the air with these special calls during upcoming December. It will be a pleasure to work a lot of new youngsters on the bands!

We hope to crack 100.000 QSOs this December for the first time ever, so help us to achieve this goal set by the future of amateur radio – the Youngsters On The Air!

Feel free to follow the activities on our homepage as well as on our social media channels @hamyota.

73 de YOTA PR Team

OL19CAMP – Day 3

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OL19CAMP – Day 2

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OL19CAMP – Day 1

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YOTA ZS 2018 Farewell (Blog #4)

By | YOTA South Africa 2018 | No Comments

Even with the more “serious” parts of the program being over, the theme of lacking opportunities to catch sleep continued onto the last official day, with a bus leaving the hotel early again (though at least not 4:20 again).

However, it was for a program point that, in this way, has not been possible on any of the European YOTA Camps before—a safari through the South African bush. With how packed the schedule was, this also meant a first chance to get the “Africa Feeling” for the European teams, or at least get to see (South) Africa as we all imagined.

After arriving at the game lodge and splitting the participants among the available cars, we went off for a few hours, trying to see as many of the “Big Five”: Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino and Leopard. Success varied between the cars, but three of the five were seen by at least some—the ones that weren’t seen were the ones that could eat you for supper, so that maybe was for the best.

Coming back to the lodge, we were greeted by a small group (flock? herd?) of kudus (a type of antelope) and some zebras, with some participants experiencing that the latter do not like people coming up close. While most people were busy photographing and/or petting the kudus, lunch was being made, so that’s what everybody went for afterwards. With people well fed, it was time to take the 2-hour drive back to the hotel, which provided a way for people to exchange their photos of the wildlife they had seen earlier (as well as some others); in keeping with the spirit of the hobby, this was of course done using SSTV via 2m FM.

As most people used the opportunity to catch some sleep after coming back, the organisers found a great way of getting everybody awake again before dinner: a drumming activity, which consisted of everybody being supplied with a djembe drum, and then getting their hearts played out (and their hands played sore) together.

After dinner, it was time for the last official event of the camp: The Farewell Event. This included handing out the HAREC certificates to the 20 of the 25 RAE participants that passed, many “Thank you”s from participants towards the organisers and everyone else involved in the event, and of course celebration until long in the night. And, unfortunately, first hugs and tears for participants that were going to leave already very early in the day.

For everybody else, hugs and tears were reserved for the day following, with everyone getting back to the airport, after having found some way on how to get the reflector element for the satellite yagi back home.

Overall, we sincerely thank the organisers and sponsors for an outstanding event, once again setting the bar high for future YOTA Camps to come. Even with such a busy schedule (busy enough these blog posts got delayed as much as they did), we would not have wanted to miss a single one of the program points.

With all that said, all that is left is a heartfelt 73, and see everyone at one of the next YOTA events, whichever of the many it may be!

YOTA ZS 2018 Blog #3

By | YOTA South Africa 2018 | No Comments

Even with everybody still sleep deprived from the BACAR day, there wasn’t any time to catch up with sleep as the ambitious schedule continued on Sunday.

In preparation for what was going to take most of the day, including the tea breaks, Hans Summer, G0UPL, presented the next kit from his company, QRP Labs, that was going to be built. We won’t spoil anything here until Hans’ official announcement, but all we can say is that it is an amazing product, definitely one-upping last year’s QCX kit. It might or might not be the case that some information about it has spread throughout other YOTA media channels, so it is definitely worthwhile to look through the posts there as well.

However, when you try to beat a kit like the QCX, some people might be intimidated by the complexity; or they just want to build something that unexperienced kit builders can finish over the course of the camp. For this reason, Hans also brought other kits, namely his clock kit as well as the Ultimate3S WSPR kit, which builds upon the clock kit. For WSPR enthusiasts, you can be sure that there will be some rare WSPR DXCC(s) coming up rather soon!

With the presentation out of the way, it was time to start actually building the kits. While there weren’t enough soldering irons to keep everyone soldering without interruption (anyone want to lend ca. 80 irons to the next YOTA event? 😃), this also meant that more experienced builders could help the inexperienced one, creating a great learning experience. Also, with all the soldering fumes in the air, it probably was for the better that we did not have more.

At the same time, the lessons for the RAE (South African license exam) continued, an opportunity used by many to either upgrade their home license or take the exam in the first place, an opportunity not even offered in some of the countries participating.

The afternoon of that day had two more presentations. One was about DMR, including a small, portable repeater; something you probably won’t see for analog modes. The other presentation was about contesting, presented by non other than three-times WRTC participant Chris Burger, ZS6EZ. Part of the presentation was also the YOTA tradition of an Off-Air contest, although with different rules than the participants were used to. Nevertheless, it was about as chaotic as the ones we knew from earlier years.

After dinner, there was another Train the Trainer session, dedicated to trying to find each country’s challenges in getting and keeping youngsters interested in the hobby. With plenty of good ideas being exchanged, the official program ended rather late. However, apparently it was not late enough for quite a number of people to not continue their kit building until very late in the night.


Monday was once again time for an excursion, this time visiting two local companies that supported this YOTA Summer Winter Camp in various ways.

The first company was Bosco, which is the biggest PCB manufacturer in South-Africa. We had a tour of the entire factory, starting at checking the design of the produced boards to be, continuing through all process steps. It is interesting to see how many steps are involved in creating PCBs.

The other was GEW, a defense company specialising in RF intelligence, surveillance, and RF spectrum monitoring, as well as direction finding—possibly all at once in a single device. Not only did we get to look at their production as well as testing facilities, but we could also marvel at the capabilities of their products, leaving us wondering why we are still stuck manually turning Yagis for VHF/UHF contests …

After lunch, our schedule continued, with a presentation of which we only knew the name: “The Magnificient Bell at the Villa Griffone”. Hidden behind the mysterious name is not some spooky ghost story, but the history of radio, starting at the very basics, and then going on all the way through Marconi’s life, including live demonstrations of historic equipment.

For everyone wondering about how Marconi was able to achieve a transatlantic transmission with the primitive means he had, the next talk showed why. With an increasing amount of electronic hardware and a race for cheaper devices, RF noise has increased by very sizeable amounts of Marconi’s time, to the point where his transmission would nowadays very likely be drowned out by noise. To quantify this increase of RF noise, an SARL project was presented to measure and quantify the RF noise surrounding all of us—not in perfectly scientific means, but still sufficient to actually measure the increase over time.

To finish the presentations, an overview of the YOTA program was given. As avid readers of our site of course know, it does not only consist of the annual YOTA Summer Camp (or Winter, for a bunch of countries), but also the YOTA December Month, where Youngsters all around Region 1 (and more!) become active with YOTA callsigns, accumulating tens of thousands of QSOs over the month total. The third activity is the Youth Contesting Program, where youngsters get invited to so-called Big Gun contest stations, to experience the team effort that goes into getting to the very top of the scoreboard in various contests.

With the presentations over and most people getting to relax (or rather mostly continuing on their kit), things got serious for some of the participants, as they were taking the RAE at this time.

After dinner, it was time for the last session of Train the Trainer; this time with presentations about concrete action points that the teams intend to take in their home countries.