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YOTA South-Africa 2018, a start of something bigger

By | Publication, YOTA South Africa 2018 | No Comments

Can you imagine? 23 teams, from all over Africa, Europe and USA travelled to South-Africa to take part in the annual Youngsters On The Air event. Yes, it did happen. 74 Young radio amateurs found their way to Gauteng, close to Johannesburg. This made it also happen that we had in total 7 African countries taking part, more then ever. 25 Persons had the opportunity to take part, after an intensive training, in a HAREC license exam. 20 Of them passed, great achievement, especially if you are aware that most of them don’t have the opportunity to take part in an exam at their home country.
Enough numbers for now, the youngsters took part in many activities in the week itself. A programme was made which was showing amateur radio in South-Africa with focus of train-the-trainer. SARL is making good progress on youth and amateur radio. Think about Hammies, Jeugland radio club or JOTA/JOTA.

Train-the-trainer? This was the first event with our renewed focus. There were several sessions were teams showed their ideas on how to develop amateur radio and attract newcomers to the amateur radio hobby. With this we are creating a snowball-effect, organizing similar activities back at home will make it happen that more persons can join YOTA or amateur radio. The teams all got homework to do, in 2 months we expect from them an article in their national amateur radio magazine about the event and a plan on starting their own youth program or organizing new amateur radio events. They all are free to come up with their own ideas, but got inspired the entire week.

A week has only 7 days, believe it or not, SARL made it happen to put more days in a week. Still being impressed about what we did in one week. There were many lectures and workshops, about contesting, DMR, Marconi and a demonstration of Marconi’s used equipment, a presentation on radio in wildlife (tracking animals) and much more. Starting with building own YAGI antenna’s and using this later to make satellite contacts, followed by a technical and hands-on SDR workshop. Working as a real project team to prepare a payload for a BACAR (Balloon Carrying Amateur Radio) balloon flight, we also launched the balloon, used the SDR and antenna to make contacts and gather data. After a good braai (South-African BBQ) all participants showed in a presentation the analysis of the recovered data of the payloads.

The youngsters did kit building with QRP labs, some of them couldn’t get enough and kept on building late in the night. There was a radio shack were ZS9YOTA was activated in modes as SSB, CW and FT8.
With so many cultures taking part in the event, we continued our yearly tradition of the intercultural evening. All teams brought food, drinks and even traditional clothes from their home-country.
Luckily the youth got the chance to see a bit of the South-African beauty, the group went on safari to see the big five! The farewell party, including an African drumming session, was a great last goodbye.

All this organized by SARL, the South African Radio League, under lead of Nico van Rensburg ZS6QL (President of SARL) and Koos Fick ZR6KF (Youth Coordinator of SARL). They didn’t do this all alone, they had a great group of volunteers helping them out to make this all happen. A special thanks to the entire organizing team and SARL!

This is only a part of everything the youngsters took part in. Do you want to read more or see more of the event?It’s all covered, have a look here.

A popular question, where will YOTA 2019 take place? Unfortunately we still did not receive any application. Are you interested in organizing an unforgettable event which will change the life of many young radio amateurs and be part of the future of amateur radio? Contact Lisa, PA2LS, Youth WG Chair IARU R1.

YOTA @WRTC 2018 in Germany

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For the 8th World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) which took place in and around the german cities of Jessen and Wittenberg, the organisers gave the several youngsters the opportunity to attend the event as volunteers.

Due to this chance being offered on a fairly short notice and some even-shorter-notice cancellations of some participants this ended up with three youngsters attending as part of YOTA @ WRTC — Ljuba (YU5EEA), Sven (DJ4MX) and Markus (DL8GM).

Wednesday, the day of arrival, turned out to be slightly chaotic as we were trying to find each other in the crowded HQ hotel. The fact that we all arrived rather late didn’t really help with that either. On the bright side the hotel was full of radio amateurs (and most of them world’s top contesters at that!) so we could feel right at home. After finally having found each other (and the football match of course), we went to the youth hostel where our room was located. We stayed right at the famous Schlosskirche in Wittenberg within walking distance of the HQ hotel — with downtown Wittenberg being closed for cars walking was probably even faster than driving.

The next day we could finally start with the duties that we were given at the event. This consisted mostly of taking care of the DA0WRTC event station and helping operators that were unexperienced with either the radios or the software to get the special event station on the air. Of course, with many people being busy with their final preparations around that time, we had plenty of time here to make QSOs ourselves that day.
In the afternoon, we took a short walk over to the Exerzierhalle in Wittenberg where the opening ceremony was going to take place. There, we were tasked with various preparations for the ceremony and afterwards got the chance to attend it in person. As attendance was otherwise mostly limited to participants and referees, this was a rather exclusive opportunity for us.

On Friday, the day of the site drawing, we split up. Ljuba went with one of the Serbian referees, Goran (YT7AW), visiting several of the sites over the day. Sven and I went with the half-german Youth Team #3 (HA8RT and DK6SP) watching and helping with their setup, giving us an in-depth overview of how a WRTC station could look like. At this opportunity, I can also only repeat the compliments that the site teams have gotten over the whole event. The volunteers at “our” site were no exception, of course. Unfortunately, the site was about 1½ hours away from Wittenberg so we spent the whole day that way.

On the days of the competition itself our job mostly consisted of taking care of the HQ station, which was to be used by visitors trying to hunt the Y8 callsigns. However, we took the opportunity on Saturday morning to once again visit HA8RT and DK6SP for their final preparations until we (and everyone else at the site) had to wish them good luck and leave them to their own devices for the upcoming 24 hours of the contest.
After the contest was over on Sunday afternoon, participants and referees were slowly arriving at the hotel. As our station duty ended rather quickly after the contest we helped with collecting the participant’s logs before watching the football world cup finals together.

After all what happened over the past days, Monday was a rather slow day, consisting mostly of regaining some lost sleep and some preparations for the closing ceremony. Of course, we not only had the chance to attend the ceremony itself but also the dinner at the Stadthalle afterwards which provided us with a last chance to meet and take pictures with many of the participants, referees and other attendees. We also had the pleasure to meet up with the organizers who seemed rather relieved about the bulk of the event being over at this point. Many thanks again to Chris (DL1MBG – president of WRTC) and Micha (DL6MHW – vice president of WRTC) for making this unbelievable thing happen for us.

Overall, we had a great time at the event, and gained a lot of insight from both the participant as well as the organizers perspective for such a unique event. We sincerely thank the WRTC 2018 team for this opportunity, and hope for a similar chance at WRTC 2022 in Italy.

 

73 de Markus (DL8GM)

Teamleader YOTA @WRTC 2018

 

A few weeks to go!

By | Publication, YOTA South Africa 2018 | No Comments

With only a few weeks to go to YOTA 2018 in South Africa, the SARL Events Team is hard at work to conclude preparations for a 7 day programme filled with a range of amateur radio related activities, excursions and lots of fun!

The event will be held in the beautiful central region of Gauteng at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre easily accessible from the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

All teams and participants will be met at the airport with a traditional South African welcome and be transported to the venue.
Being in the Southern hemisphere and August in Gauteng, it will expectantly be a mild winter with sun-filled days with day time temperatures in the low 20 degrees C and will be a “pseudo-Summer” camp for the overseas visitors.

The week will offer many opportunities to learn more about amateur radio and getting to know fellow amateurs from various other countries.
Highlights planned for the week include learning about SDR technology with your own SDR dongle, build a mini CubeSat and experience launching it as well as tracking it into near space on a high altitude balloon. Learn about Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR) which is in essence amateur radio on the move and build a QRP HF transceiver kit.

A visit to a game reserve to view the Big Five including some cultural experiences like a traditional braaivleis in an open-air boma and operate the ZS9YOTA special events station.

The theme of “Train the Trainer” will be explored, to enable participants to return to their home countries, equipped and inspired to organize and promote radio amateur activities to other youth groups or ultimately starting a youth group.
Should you have any specific questions about travel arrangements, documentation or any other specific information, please do not hesitate to ask, we are happy to assist: [email protected]

The Events Team will keep participants informed in the next newsletter to be released soon. In the meantime bring your laptop, and if a licensed radio amateur your hand held radio and a copy of your amateur radio license.

We are looking forward to welcoming all teams in August this year!

YCP 2018 – King of Spain SSB Contest @EC2DX

By | Community Written, Publication | One Comment

On the weekend around the 22nd June the annual His Majesty The King of Spain SSB contest took place.
We (David, OE5DFL, and Benjamin, OE3BVB) had the chance to participate from EC2DX station in spain.

On Friday we flew to Spain and we were warmly welcomed by Imanol (EC2DX). After a two hour drive we arrived at the station and had some meal together. Since we arrived very early in EA-land we helped Imanol with some of his new projects. We helped to concrete the foundation for his new homemade tower and we also helped bulding his new 10/15m yagis.

After that we started to prepare for the contest. We errected the 80m fullsize 4-square, put the station together and did some first tests. Everything worked well.

After prepearing the station Imanol showed us some local spanish habbits also including drinking coffee at 11 pm. After a good dinner we went to sleep for the contest next day.

For the contest we were able to use EF0F, thanks to Jose EA7KW, URE and the EA5RS contest group for making this possible. We were active on 2 bands at the same time, sometimes also on 3 bands. Some stations could make contact with us on all bands 160-10m as well. The contest went very good but in the night we took a short break since there was almost no activity.

In the end we were able to achive a little bit over a million points and almost 2200 QSO‘s.

On our last day we visited San Sebastian and had a great time with the locals.

Thank you EC2DX for hosting us at your station, also a big thanks to his wive for supporting us.
Also thanks to IARU for making this possible with the YCP Program

73 de David (OE5DFL) & Benjamin (OE3BVB)

YOTA @WRTC 2018

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We got the opportunity by the WRTC organizers to be part of the ham radio Olympics 2018 in Germany.
The World Radiosport Team Championship takes place every 4 years in another country.
During IARU HF Championship contest 63 teams from all over the world participate to find the world champion.

Now we have the possibility to send 20 youngsters aged 16 to 26 to be part of the WRTC volunteer team at this mega event located in Wittenberg area. Meet some of the worldwide best-known contesters and have an eye to eye contact with them.
Use your chance and make it yourself a lifelong memory.

Be a part of the Youngsters On The Air team at WRTC 2018 in Germany!

If you want to join fill in the following link.
https://goo.gl/forms/tb2jP6DSdqwwLOgf2

73 de YOTA PR Team

Place Youth Hostel Wittenberg
Time 11.07. (arrival) – 17.07.2018 (departure)
Costs accommodation and breakfast covered
Application deadline Friday, 29.06.2018 (2359 UTC)

 

DATE TASKS and SCHEDULE
Whole time Occupation of the HQ station in the Luther Hotel
(radio operation / support in shifts)
11.07. or 12.07. Meet youth teams
12.07. Afternoon
Support of the organization of the opening event- — Evening
Opening event
13.07. Afternoon
WRTC Academy – Open Format Competition and WRTC Training, Presentation and Workshops
16.07. Morning
Meet WRTC competitors especially youth teams
Afternoon
Support of the organization of the final event
Special task for “Jugend forscht” science project Implementation of remote operations for the WRTC competition, which can lead QSOs out of the Luther HQ Hotel with the WRTC stations during IARU HF Championship.

YOTA @HAMRADIO 2018

By | Community Written, Publication | One Comment

HAM Radio 2018 was incredible, we have never seen so many youngsters and YOTA friends. We were proud to be part of the IARU booth for 3 days long. In our Flag ceremony at the mainstage the YOTA flag and key were handed over from the UK to South-Africa. And yes, YOTA ZS is coming closer! Florian (OE3FTA) and Lisa (PA2LS) introduced the audience to Youngsters On The Air and gave an overview of all activities and news, YOTA keeps on growing and developing its program.
The IARU R1 International Youth Meeting on Saturday was attended by a group of youngsters and youth coordinators. Koos (ZR6KF) and Nico (ZS6QL) updated of all youth activities in South-Africa as part of SARL (South African Radio League) and Hammies. Followed by a discussion of Alex (IV3KKW), Florian (OE3FTA) and Lennart (PD5LKM), who are part of the IARU taskgroups which are working on the future of amateur radio. Their work is still in a starting point and are going to use the input to their relevant groups working on education and outreach, it’s not an easy task, but an important one.
In the afternoon a train full of youngsters visited all IARU member societies, questioning, does your society have a youth program? We were happy to have Silvio (IZ5DIY) as our train driver.
On Saturday evening we had the famous YOTA dinner, attended by more than 60 youngsters and YOTA friends from more than 10 countries. The family keeps on growing!
And last but not least, we had the chance to think about new future plans and took the time to say thank you to many of our sponsors which were attending HAM Radio. Without them we are not able to host all our many activities.

#hamyota #FHN2018

YCP 2018 – ARI International DX Contest @ES5TV

By | Community Written, Publication, Youth Contesting Program | No Comments

When my Friend Fiodor IZ7YBG told me about his YCP experience I decided to apply myself.
I have been chosen for ES5TV station for ARI DX contest so I booked flights to Tallinn.

I met Tonno and he brought me to the station, where I met Oleg, YL3DW and Valeri, ES5QA. Tonno gave me a nice welcome to his station, he explained me how the station works. The Friday evening before the contest he let me use the station for practicing, I made some QSO’s together with his son Jasper, ES5JASS.

Other people joined us for the contest, and at 12:00Z Saturday the contest started. This was first Multi operator-Multi station contest for me and I learned many things, especially how big contest station works. I have been awake all night long as I was so enthusiastic about the contest. Even once the contest was finished, I could not get “ES9C CQ Contest” out of my head.

Tonno managed everything perfectly, he picked me up at the airport and provided food at the station. It had a lot of fun operating with the Latvian guys: Kristers YL3AJA, Oskars and Ritvars (from YL1ZT); I am also glad to have met Tarmo, ES5NHC, Tauri, ES5HTA and many other people.

The funniest thing was when I was speaking Italian to the Italians stations because they did not expect an Estonian station speaking their own language!

I am very happy for this experience, it has given me the opportunity to improve my ham radio skills, seeing a big gun station, but also meeting new people and visit a new country.
The day the contest finished I got the chance to take ferry to Helsinki (only 80km from Tallinn) and I visited Finland too.

I suggest every youngster to apply for the YCP, you will not regret!

73 de Riccardo, IV3CVN
(YCP member @ES5TV 2018)

 

IARU R1 International Youth Meeting at HAM Radio

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Did you know that there are about 300 educational licenses, all hams under 18 years, in South-Africa? Koos ZR6KF and Nico ZS6QL, youth coordinator and president of SARL, the South African Radio League, presented their youth program at the IARU R1 International Youth Meeting.
The youth meeting started with a short introduction about all YOTA activities in 2018. There is still enough to come! You can still sign up for YCP events, the Italian sub-regional event is coming closer, as well as YOTA South-Africa and YOTA December Month.
We had a discussion about the future of amateur radio. IARU R1 dedicated task groups which are working on this topic, keeping in mind that a huge part of the audience is our future, the taskforces encouraged several discussions and are going to use this input to develop their programs. More to follow regarding this topic which is still at a starting point.

#hamyota #FHN2018