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YOTA Summer Camp Bulgaria 2019 – Day 6

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The last full day of the 2019 YOTA summer camp began with the last session of teams presenting the youth activities they have done in the last year and their plans for the next year. For the morning workshop the teams were split into two groups again, whilst one group built a vhf antenna and learnt about the theory behind it, the other learnt about ropes and knots and practiced a number of useful knots, fore example for putting up antennas at field days . After lunch the hands on workshops were continued with building an HF antenna, as before the youngsters also learnt about the theory behind how this antenna works. The wire dipole for the 20 metre band is a great tool for field days, SOTA activations and more. Furthermore this antenna enables a lot of youngsters who do not have access to other antennas to get on the air from their home. Combining the theory with hands on building made it very interesting and more intuitive.

After the last workshop there was a grand ceremony including a magic show to mark the end of the YOTA camp. Followed by a small  farewell party where all participants enjoyed the last evening together.

The special callsign LZ19YOTA was on the air nearly 24 hours a day. Youngsters who had never before had a HF QSO were helped by those who have experience. It was also a great opportunity to exchange contest experience and learn from each other.

YOTA Summer Camp Bulgaria 2019 – Day 5

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Just like the last few days, the day began with a Train the Trainer presentation, this time the Finnish team gave an in depth view in to one of YOTA’s  most successful subregional camps, the NOTA – Nordics On The Air, which has already been organised twice. They gave many great ideas which can be used at other subregional camps and some great recommendations on organising such an event. Again this presentation was great motivation for the other youngsters to organise something once they get back from YOTA.

Amateur radio is different in different countries, for example in Austria Hamnet is popular, in other countries it’s VHF contesting. Today the Bulgarian organisers showed us what is popular in their country: ARDF and HST! The morning workshops featured some explanations of ARDF, especially interesting for those participants who have not done ARDF before, but also those who have some experience learnt a lot from the experienced Bulgarians. In the afternoon we had the chance to put what we learnt into practice. Some ARDF beacons were set up around the location of the camp and the participants had fun finding them with their ARDF receivers. Other participants chose to practice their high speed telegraphy skills with a variety of different morse keys.

The afternoon ended with another session of short presentations by the participating countries, they showed which youth activities they have done in the past year and what their plans are for the next year.  The purpose of these presentations is to exchange ideas for youth projects between countries. Furthermore the successful projects of some countries motivated those with relatively young youth groups that it is possible to grow a large and active youth group. For example the participants told about their visits to technical schools

After these presentations there was still some time to operate using the callsign LZ19YOTA late into the night.

YOTA Summer Camp Bulgaria 2019 – Day 4

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The 4th day of the YOTA summer camp started with a Train the Trainer presentation by the German team, having recently organised a very large and successful subregional camp, they had a lot of interesting ideas and experiences to talk about. More and more subregional camps and activities are being organised by youngsters all over IARU Region 1 and this presentation motivated many of the youngsters to organise some activities of their own.

Following the presentation by the German team, the hands on workshops of the day started. The participants were split into 2 groups, one group began building a vhf wire antenna with a very interesting design, along with learning about how the antenna works in theory. The other group began a great interactive lecture about ropes and knots, skills which are essential when putting up an antenna. Aside from learning different knots and when to use them the participants also learnt about types of rope and their uses in amateur radio and some useful tricks for SOTA or field day activities and putting up antennas at home.

The afternoon was different from the other days, today the youngsters got on a bus to go the beautiful city centre of the capital city of Sofia, just 30 minutes drive from the camp location. The trip brought the youngsters to many famous places, for example the famous Alexander Nevsky cathedral or the beautiful national historical museum.  This excursion was a great chance to see the culture and architecture of a different country. YOTA is not only about amateur radio but also about cultural exchange between youngsters and bringing the teams which are from all over IARU Region 1 closer together. After all amateur radio is a passion which brings people from all over the world together.

After returning from the city trip, the youngsters began with their own short presentations. Each country had about 5 minutes to tell the other participants what youth activities they have done in the past year and how successful these were. But maybe most importantly they explained their plans and ambitions for the next year. This was a great opportunity to learn from each other and exchange experiences.

YOTA Summer Camp Bulgaria 2019 – Day 3

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The day was started by an interesting presentation by the Italian team who told the participants about their subregional camp and their successful youth activities. The idea is to inspire youngsters to start heir own local activities after going home from the YOTA camp. Even though the participants still felt the effects of last night’s intercultural evening, they were all eager to learn from their fellow youngsters. Again the Train the Trainer presentation was followed by the second part of yesterdays presentation on measurements by Rhode and Schwarz. Seeing professional instruments in action was quite an experience for the participants.

The afternoon activities were very different, all participants left the hotel and took the bus to the Milara factory in Sofia. This innovative Bulgarian company produces a wide range of products for the production of electronics, for example robots for the automatic production of semi conductors. The visit gave an insight into the technology and how it is related to amateur radio. And once again it was clear that amateur radio can be the beginning of a great career in many kinds of engineering.

After the visit to Milara, the trip continued to the impressive LZ5R contest station, for some of the participants this was the first time at a large contest station. The antenna farm and large masts were quite impressive! But the staton set up was equally impressive, learning how a large station is structured and interconnected was incredibly interesting.

Again the YOTA participants learnt a lot during the day and after getting back to the hotel in the evening, and eating dinner the youngsters sat together to write articles for their national radio magazines, their social media and websites.

Don’t forget to follow our social media channels for more updates and pictures, you can find links at the top of the page.

YOTA Summer Camp Bulgaria 2019 – Day 2

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The first day of the 2019 YOTA camp began with the traditional group picture with all countries presenting their national flags. After this the first Train the Trainer presentation began, the aim of the Train the Trainer program during this week is to give youngsters the skills, ideas and knowledge to go home at the end of the week and start their own youth activities in their countries. There will be various presentations by a number of countries during the week and time to exchange ideas and experiences between the teams. This mornings presentation was by one of the organisers of the 2016 YOTA summer camp in Austria, giving some tips on how to organise such an event. For example, the budget, some tools to help organise, how to get sponsors, how to communicate with the media and much more.

The next presentation was by Rhode and Schwarz, a sponsor of the camp. The participants learnt about the basics of electronic measurements in amateur radio and how they can be used in all kinds of situations. A very interesting and useful lesson! Tomorrow the presentation will be continued, for sure there will be a lot more to learn.

After learning so much it was time for lunch and after a short break the afternoon activities started. During the afternoon the participants built electronic kits which can be used to find broken transistors. Furthermore the participants had the opportunity to put what they learned in the morning into practice by using a variety of different measuring instruments.  Everybody had fun soldering and putting together the kits. The more experienced youngsters helped those who have less experience with the soldering irons. A great example of youngsters teaching each other and working together. Again a lot was learnt, not only how to solder and put together a kit but also how the kits work and the function of some of the different components. Meanwhile some youngsters operated on 20 metres using the special callsign LZ19YOTA, which will be on the air during most of the week.

The evening ended with a joint dinner. After this the social highlight of the day began, the intercultural evening. This is a tradition which has been going on for a long time at the YOTA summer camps. Each team brings traditional food and drinks from their country. Many teams wear traditional clothing to represent their countries culture. The participants are always proud to show the traditional food of their country, and it was obvious that a lot of effort went into the preparations. The food available ranged from smoked cheese from Slovakia, to sweet Baklava from Turkey and everything in between. Apart from the culinary side, a lot of countries also showed of their countries touristic attractions, for example Iceland’s stunning landscapes. It was an evening of cultural exchange and gave the participants the chance to get to know each other: a lot of new friendships were made, and now the whole group knows each other.

YOTA Summer Camp Bulgaria 2019 – Day 1

By | Community Written, Publication, YOTA Bulgaria 2019 | One Comment

YOTA Bulgaria 2019 – Day1

During the day the YOTA participants arrived at Sofia airport, only about 30 minutes from the Hotel where the YOTA camp is taking place. By the evening all the teams had arrived at the hotel in Bankya, just outside the capital city Sofia.

After a grand ceremony in the middle of the city centre, YOTA 2019 was officially opened by Alexandra Alexandrova, the deputy major of the city. All participants joined the ceremony together with many local citizens of Bankya.

Welcoming words were spoken by Vesi LZ1VST and Panayot LZ1US, on behalf of the organising committee and BFRA, joined by Lisa PA2LS and Alex IV3KKW representing IARU R1.

The ceremony ended with traditional Bulgarian dances performed by a local dancing group wearing beautiful traditional Bulgarian dresses. In the end the audience and the YOTA participants joined the dancing to traditional Bulgarian folk music.

We are looking forward to a great week of learning and exchange between different countries, with the first presentation starting tomorrow morning.

Countdown to YOTA Summer Camp – Bulgaria 2019

By | Community Written, Publication, YOTA Bulgaria 2019 | One Comment

On Sunday, 11th August, 80 youngsters from 28 countries will meet near Sofia, Bulgaria.
Because it’s again time for the YOTA Summer Camp … hosted by the Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs (BFRA)!
It will be full of many great activities like operating the camp station LZ19YOTA, building kits and antennas, doing sight seeing tours around Sofia or just enjoy the time with new friends in the accomodation.

Also, based on the international character of amateur radio, a cultural exchange won’t be a shortage: the typical YOTA intercultural evening, group work as well as our newly implemented Train The Trainer program will also take place.

Worlwide youth teams under the age of 26 from Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom will be having an awesome get together during the upcoming week.

Stay tuned for further daily updates including a lot of pictures from this years Summer Camp!

73 de YOTA PR Team

 

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Youth Contest Program – RSGB IOTA Contest @OZ5E

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OZ5E, one of the biggest Stations of Denmark, invited the youth of IARU Region 1 to work the IOTA contest from their tremendous station. This Station of the DCA (Danish Contest Academy) by Jan (OZ1ADL) brings all the antennas and tech you want to work up to Multi 4 in HF operatiom. In the end 3 youngsters followed the call. Mattheo (IU2GGL) and his friend Nicola (IN3GJH) came from northern Italy and Lars (DL4APT) from northern Germany. A british youngster unfortunately couldn’t make the trip.

The IOTA contest is all about islands and even if Denmak has it’s share of them, OZ5E is on the mainland. With the contest rules dictating that only islands can run as a multi station, we decided that we will have to settle with just a checklog. But on the other hand that means we could bring up 3 signals at the same time when everybody wants to operate. After a quick discussion we decided to stay on SSB only because nobody of us had the CW experience.

Our main rigs were two FT DX 3000 and a Flex 6700 as spare. Every band had it’s own more or less switchable independent antenna. On 80m, a 4 phase controlled verticals in a four square, allowed for an interestingly high amount of control. The problem with the 4 element 40m beam was that the broken rotatir couldn’t be replaced due to high winds thus leaving us with just a rope for manual turning. Both 20m  and 15m had big 5 element beams. Only on 10m we had to use a Multiband Beam (8 element 10m – 40m) as the new tower for the 10m beam only arrived days before.

One FT 3000 was connected to a manual amplifier and thus only used on the 20m beam to prevent retuning the amplifier when band switching. The other two stations were connected to remote Acom 2000’s. It was  interesting to have a deeper look behind all the tech of a big gun station. Especially all the needed switching and filtering that is needed to get the right antenna connected with one of the transceivers. We even did the N1MM setup on the 3 PCs ourselves.

Short before the start things got a little bit hectic. DL4APT took some final audio recordings on the N1MM voice recorder. And the others received tips and tricks from OZ1ADL. The idea was to start with the two FT DX 3000 one on 20m and the other on 10/15m. But calling on 10 and 15 didn’t work due to crap conditions so we decided to switch to 40m. And 40mit did instantly an awesome run (177 QSOs in one go) and the station never left the band for the rest of the whole contest. Thus we used the Flex to work 10, 15 and 80 when we all 3 were operating. Each Station hat a bell we hit every time we got a new multi, sometimes leading to competition if 2 stations did a search and pound.

Even with little contest experience to start, with little help and support from Jan, the Italians quickly stated to get accustomed to the contest. So we 3 were working at a good pace and switched radios from time to time to have a quick break and get to work on different bands. A bit after 2am local time in the morning Nicola and Maztheo got their well deserved sleep. So for the night Lars was regularly switching between 40 and 80m. Around 5 in the morning 40m had a great opening to North America even tired working a pileup can be energizing and more than fun. Later in the morning Mattheo came back and some time later Nicola. They did the main work from that point on. Dead tired Lars searched for multis and new stations on the Flex.

In the end we had 1435 QSOs with more than half on 40m. And we finished with a score of 2.181.984 pionts with 204 multis. 10M didn’t work that great and on top of that the multiband antenna picked up a lot of noise from the other stations even with the bandfilter. But most important we had lots of fun and were more than satisfied with our result.

After the contest the Italians cooked some pasta. Invigorated with the much needed meal and short rest we all together visited one of Denmarks highest hills the Himmelbjerget with 147m. Then the Italians left for Copenhagen where they stayed the night before they travelled back home.

And in a little bit of British YOTA tradition DL4APT came most of the way to and back from OZ5E by bicycle. Just on the way to the station it was a bit to hot (up to 35 °C) for an enjoyable ride so he took the train till Flensburg to shorten the travel to 1 day. On the way back he slept one night in a wooden shelter and was home before the Wednesday club meeting.

We like to thank the IARU for the invitiation and support of the YCP and the DCA, especially OZ1ADL for having us at OZ5E.
Youngsters, please apply for the upcoming YCPs! It is definetely worth it. Making new friends and doing contest at the same time is just awesome 🙂

73 de Lars, DL4APT

YCP team member
at OZ5E 2019

Youth Contest Program – King of Spain Contest as EF0F @EC2DX

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2 reports from participants at the recent Youth Contest Program in Spain at EC2DX station.

 

“They’re not hearing me.” – “This guy is really strong!” – “Propagation isn’t great.” – “Why have they stopped to talk in the middle of a contest?” – “They’ve stolen my frequency!” and the most important of all, “I made the contact!”.

All of these are exclamations used in an experience that started when my father (EA1UF) called me one day from work to let me know about the the possibiliy of operating in the King of Spain contest, as part of a team including other youngsters, operating from Imanol (EC2DX)’s station.

I decided to accept the invitation and take advantage of the opportunity. I had no idea what to expect, but I told myself that there is always something positive to be had in every occasion, Later on, when I started to get more details, the most attractive and unexpected part was that we would be able to use the Royal callsign EF0F, which would make it an unforgettable experience.

Looking back, what makes me remember that weekend with special affection wasn’t exactly that, rather the whole experience; after 5 long hours drive with my mother EA1ABO, who doesn’t like driving fast (a bicycle could have overtaken us), I felt really well received, the equipment we were going to use was spectacular, nothing like what I‘m used to at home. We got down to business, the two YLs in the team were in charge of 40m, I had never had such a level of rapport with someone I had never met before, we would make signs at each other to keep things fun during the first 8 hours we were voluntarily on the air the first day. But that wasn’t the end of it, nor was the emotion towards the end of the contest. Trying to make contacts right up to the last few seconds… thanks to the wonderful opportunity which I’m very glad to have taken advantage of. I was able to meet a great group of people, both hams and non-hams. I will remember the experience not only because of the radio but also for the laughter and everything I learnt (which was a lot). Overcoming the initial nerves thanks to the help of other team members David EA4AOC, Imanol EC2DX and Roberto EA2RY, who were constantly on hand to help us and give us tips to make the operation easier, and the feeling of “victory” when I looked proudly at my 40m team mate.

Summing up, I think I agree with my fellow operators when we say that although this was a unique and unrepeatable experience. It’s one that I would live out again every year if it were possible.

 

73 de Andrea, EA1IZH
YCP team member
EF0F @EC2DX 2019

 


 

This experience started with a call from a good friend (Juan EA8RM) who told me that the EA contest club had invited me to take part in the King of Spain contest from Imanol (EC2DX)´sstation, which obviously I accepted without hesitation.

The trip started on thursday when I took a flight via Madrid, arriving at Bilbao around 2330 local time. Imanol and Eider picked me up from the aiport and we spent the night at their house in San Sebastian. Early next morning after a shower and breakfast, we left for the station, which is 200km from San Sebastian. I didn’t know anything about Imanol’s station, I imagined it was a good station but it wasn’t until I got there and saw evrything that I realised how lucky I was to be able to operate from there.

We had only talked on the phone but from the start it was as if we had known each other forever, they were very kind with all of the team. The truth is that I would never have thought I could have had such a good time in one single weekend. The youth team was made of Andrea EA1IZH, Oihane, and myself

We returned to San Sebastian on sunday, stayed the night there, and then Eider took me for a tourist tour round the city. In the afternoon they took me back to the airport for my return trip to EA8.

I didnt just operate from the station, I also was lucky enough to have a long chat with Imanol about his station and the truth is that you learn a lot from a person like him. I though it was marvellous that most of the station is home made, and also Eider is worthy of admiration. She isnt a ham but fits into the ham world perfectly and I though it was unbelievable everything they do to help try to get through to youngsters who are interested in radio.

An experience I would repeat without a doubt.

 

73 de Roberto, EA8DGH
YCP team member
EF0F @EC2DX 2019

 

 

Team YOTA @HAMRADIO Friedrichshafen 2019 – Day 3

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The last day of the fair started again at 9 o‘clock. While the whole fair wasn‘t as crowed as Saturday, we were visited by a lot of people who were attracted by all the YOTA promotion activities of the previous day. Also some of the Big Gun Contest stations came by to discuss further details about the Youth Contesting Program. We hope to soon announce more upcoming YCP events!

At 12 o‘clock the last prize draw for this year‘s fair took place. Great to see again a crowd around our booth and the happy faces of our winners!

Soon the fair was coming to an end and it was time for the dismantling. Everything stowed away in the car, the team made their way home again. Thank you to all people involved into the preparations, the organisation and the presence for our very own YOTA booth this year – you have been awesome!

At this point also a huge THANK YOU to the DARC HamCamp organizers who offered our international youngsters a cheap and most comfortable place to stay over the weekend directly in the fairgrounds. They already announced that they will have more capacity coming up in next years editon!

See you all again at HamRadio 2020 in Friedrichshafen. Don‘t miss all our activities through the year; keep updated about our events via our homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

73 de YOTA PR Team