Firstly, the YOTA Month 2018 was a bigger success in Macedonia than the one in 2017, since the number of youngsters participating in the event increased by a lot. As opposed to last year, when only a handful of young hams took up the activity, this year many more joined us, even ones who hadn’t been active on the air very much before. Together, on both callsigns, we made around 1000 QSOs. Even though that is relatively few, we still consider it a success and improvement as it was an opportunity to introduce at least ten new young hams to the hobby. We hope that their respective mentors do not wait until next December to activate them again, and instead provide them with the skills required to work QSOs year-round.
Alongside last year’s participants Andrej Mickov Z33RTF, Andrej Antunovic Z35TUN and Veljan Gjorgiov Z33C, joined this year by Vane Jovanov Z31VAJ, the YOTA Month also proved to be great motivation for youngsters who did not have a licence yet to get into the hobby. These were:
- Ivan Stoilkov, age 12
- Metodi Donev, age 12
- Ivan Zafirov, age 14
- Darko Gjorgievski, age 14
- Boban Gerasimovski, age 14
- Mia Zakev, age 10
- Stefan Jovanov, age 10
- Stefan Trajkovski, age 10
Specially mentioned are Lina Janeku via her mentor Petrika Janeku Z34PEC, Petar Hristovski who at 10 years old made his first QSO during the activity, and Neda Koceva, mentored by her father Igor Kocev Z33IKN, whose photo of her operating a rig in Gazi Baba Park became viral among the ham community on Twitter and Facebook.
Moreover, six people under the age of 14 passed the licence exam and now have their own callsigns. These youngsters also participated in the IARU Kids Day on 5 January this year.
It has to be said that the activities during the month of December were predominantly during the weekends, because the youngsters had school obligations as part of the end of the semester, as well as because of the lack of fixed stations in Skopje and Stip, where instead the youngsters worked /P or from the contest location in Sushevo.
While so far the majority of young ham activity has been centered in Bitola and Skopje, in the year 2019, the Radioamateur Society of Macedonia will invest more time in activating the other cities and towns of Macedonia where there is potential for activity, as well as an abundance of more experienced hams, who can mentor the youngsters.
Recently there has been an interest in setting up stations for remote use, with the reasoning that youngsters can now work QSOs from home during the school days. This solves the issue of some youngsters not having access to a local radio club or station. By no means is it meant to replace regular club activity, as that is a vital part of the hobby, but instead to boost activity by Macedonian youngsters on the air in periods when they are too busy to go to a club. Remote stations were implemented by Z35TUN and Z33RTF in the Radio Club “Stevo Patako” in Bitola and by Z33C in his local radio club in Kavadarci.
73, and we will hopefully report back in two months with more good news.
DE Z35TUN Andrej Antunovic