The main station for YOTA was held in a tower in the grounds of a nearby park. It was situation about 90ft in the air at the very top of the tower with the stairs consisting of a fire-escape type setup outside the tower with a see-through floor. The station itself was a Yaesu FT920 transceiver, an Expert 1K Linear Amplifier and a 3 element Yagi antenna.
Operating ES9YOTA was a great experience. The callsign was extremely highly sought after with the pile ups being present at any time of operation. Due to the amount of YOTA amateurs seeking to operate the station, a timetable was formed so everyone got an opportunity to use it. We used both SSB and CW, majorly on 20m but with some other bands thrown in. Youngsters who did not have any experience on the air got the chance to operate and gain some practical experience in real life QSO’s. This is a major plus for them and gave them a sense of achievement and pride, which pushes them into pursuing their hobby a little further, and with the right encouragement and teaching could lead to their own licences.
For those that are already licensed, the chance to work a pile up (which some hams may not have the opportunity to do) was also an achievement. The operation of a new callsign was a bonus for those hams who may have never operated out of their own DXCC, and the opportunity to work different DXCC’s (eg Japan) was a high for others as these countries may not be readily accessible from their home locations.
As ES9 is considered a special call in Estonia, it was great for all callers contacting the station to get in their log, as well as getting the YOTA station. Approx 3,000 QSO’s were made over the course of the week and the participants had a great time at this shack.
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