Neil Rapp, WB9VPG – Camp Director
Sterling Mann, N0SSC – IARU Region 2 Youth Liaison
A week long camp was organized for the Americas (Region 2) to take place in 2020. Due to the pandemic, this camp had to be postponed until 2021. Currently, we are on track to host the event during the scheduled dates, July 11-16, 2021. The camp will take place at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township, Ohio, USA. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place. We will continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation, and adjust accordingly. If we find that we can’t host the camp that week, it will be postponed until 2022. Our core staff has been vaccinated, as well as most (if not all) of our volunteers. W8Y will be the special event callsign for the camp. We have room for 30 campers at the event, and most of those spots have been filled. Topics that will be included will be: contesting, kit building, D-STAR, APRS and WSPR with high altitude balloons, satellite operation, fox-oring, and antenna building. We also have VHF sprints planned for a day trip to Kings Island Amusement Park. We are in line to possibly take part in an ARISS contact during the week as well.
Virtual YOTA Day
Since the camp was postponed for 2020, we took one day out of the week when the camp was supposed to happen to gather as many campers as possible together on Zoom. We also streamed it on YouTube for anyone who cared to watch. Some of our workshop leaders made presentations and hosted activities that could all be done at home without a radio, such as SDR direction finding, copying callsigns out of a pileup recording, and using WebSDR to find stations around the world. The day also provided a preview of some activities that would take place during the 2021 camp, such as satellite operation basics. We gave away prizes from DX Engineering, Heil Sound, and R&L Electronics including an ICOM IC-7300 from R&L.
YOTA Special Event
Also during the week that the camp was scheduled to take place in 2020, we had a special event station using the W8Y callsign. Youth operators took shifts throughout the week from their home or remote stations. Marty Sullaway, NN1C organized the event, managed the logs, and uploaded to LoTW. Kees Van Oosbree, W0AAE, began serving as our paper QSL manager during this event.
Field Day Station
Jay, K4ZLE, offered up a very nice remote station in Ohio to use during Field Day 2020. Since the callsign W8Y was already assigned for that week, we used that callsign on the remote station. This allowed for youth to operate even though they may not have antennas or a radio at home. We also offered the club entry category “Youth on the Air” to try to gather as many youth points as possible during Field Day.
December YOTA Month
We stepped up our involvement in December YOTA month in 2019 and 2020. Previously, only 1 station participated. We were able to use 4 special event callsigns that spell YOTA… K8Y, K8O, K8T, and K8A. These callsigns were shared on a daily schedule among 24 operators, all age 25 or younger. We made 14,699 contacts during the month. Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO served in his second year as our region YOTA month coordinator. We also contributed to the QSL card fund for DYM.
Youth Contesting Program
YCP is operated by YARC, the Young Amateurs Radio Club. Due to the pandemic, there was no activity in YCP this year.
Bi-Weekly IARU Region 2 YOTA Zoom Conferences
Along with the long-awaited YOTA region 2 camp finally occurring this year (if all goes well), YOTA-R2 has also been starting other activities inspired by YOTA Region 1.
The newly appointed IARU R2 Youth Liaison’s primary effort has been a campaign to inspire, research, and facilitate more youth radio activity and general awareness throughout the member societies of IARU R2. The main activity has been a regular bi-weekly meeting between youth leaders across the American continents and the Caribbean. The roster is up to over 40 like-minded folks who realize the lack of youth in amateur radio and the challenges of bringing it to them, who also have tons of experiences trying to meet the challenges, both successes and failures.
The meetings are intended to both inform a working group of the cultural, social, and economic differences across R2, as well as inspire youth leaders to form their own youth communities that gravitate towards common cultures and languages.
YOTA R2 is also frequently collaborating with R1, especially with the upcoming on-air event, and some more contest-related innovations to come.
Even though almost 5 years have passed since it’s founders first went to YOTA Camp in Austria, YOTA R2 is still in a stage of infancy compared to YOTA R1. Ironically, though unsurprisingly, we’ve had more impact on older demographic of hams than younger, which may be a blessing in disguise: it’s good that our elders have awareness of the need for young blood in our hobby.
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