An ambitious goal we announced at the start of the TechVent program is to get the youth their amateur radio certification to allow them to participate in emergency preparedness events.
We are pleased to announce that 8 Venturers and 2 Advisors completed their ham radio certification this weekend. There was some advance study, but most -and for some people, all – of the material was covered in our accelerated, condensed class that went Friday evening, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday . At 4 PM Sunday, we stopped the training and did the exam. We henceforth will refer to this program as the HAM CRAM. This is not to be mistaken with the normal Venturer ham cram, which involves ingesting large amounts of pork butt. Perhaps that should be the celebratory dinner.
We’ve spent the last 18 months trying different training methods, using the Venturers as human guinea pigs. Some things worked. Many interesting things were fun, but really didn’t advance the hard study required. The Venturers stuck with the program and worked it through, studying the material, and in the spirit of the Scouts Canada’s Canadian Path program, provided lots of feedback and suggestions.
A huge thank you to:
Industry Canada certifified amateur radio examiner John VE3IPS from the York Region Amateur Radio Club for coming in to run the certification tests
John VE3IPS, Geoff VA3GS and the other YRARC members who’ve helped us with hands-on radio nights and our JOTA event
The ylab maker space for providing so much equipment, this web site, the HAM CRAM materials (they developed it) and all the other tech activities on this site. They’ve made it all freely available to anyone who wants to use it.
The 8th Richmond Hill Scouts Venturer advisors and group leadership. This has been a team effort from the beginning.
Since this is the 60th Anniversary of the first YHW JOTA and the first time in… heck, even Scouter Jim D. doesn’t remember how long… that YHW held a JOTA event, we went all out with a full radio activity rotation to go along with the knifing, axing, flaming and other activities.
YRARC brought out their Emergency Communications Trailer – fully self contained with backup generator, repeater and telescoping antenna. .
We had two additional ham rigs. Scouts communicated with other Scout groups and ham operators as far away as Germany and Arizona. Big highlight was hearing the Governor of Bermuda – who is also the Chief Scout of Bermuda and participating in their JOTA.
We ran the radios on car batteries, but they didn’t last too long. Scouts were prepared, and we appreciate the loan of the generator.
Big thank you to: YRARC members Geoff/VA3GS and John/VE3IPS for organizing, bringing out so much gear, and sticking with us for the whole day, Steve/VE3UT for helping out and taking all these great pictures, and David/VA3DCY for trailer towing duties; all the Scout leaders who volunteered their time and equipment for all the other activities and great meals. All were rewarded with nothing but a lot of Scout smiles and enthusiasm… and a Scouts Canada JOTA/JOTI 2017 badge.
What will we do for JOTA/JOTI 2018? Dunno yet, but YRARC is offering to help out again.
2017 is the 60th Anniversary of the JOTA – Jamboree On The Air, where Scouts around the world communicate with each other over amateur radio. The event now features JOTI – Jamboree On the Internet – where Scouts can reach out to each other with a web application.
This is the largest Scouting event in the world, with over 1 million participants in 2015.
This year, we’ll be participating with a radio activity rotation at the York Headwaters Scouts/Venturers Skills camp at Woodland Trails. We’ve ordered crests for all participants.
Our first year is done – and we posted here a lot less than expected.
We’ve experimented and learned, getting our hands on Arduinos, breadboards, oscilloscopes, multimeters, wire strippers, crimpers, frequency generators, and, of course, radios. Vents climbed trees to hook up a high frequency antenna, and reached other ham operators in the southern US. We learned about what works and what doesn’t for teaching amateur radio, and keeping a balance between boring theory and interesting hands-on stuff.
With the summer break upon us, we’ll have some time to catch up and document some of the things we did. Maybe other groups can benefit from our mistakes experience.
We’re working on a radio certification weekend for end of the summer, before school starts, so we can hit the ground running for the 2017-2018 season. We’ll be using the tutorials and quizzes we developed.
Thank you to all the guinea pigsVenturers and Advisors who participated and helped out in so many ways.
We’ve put together a lot of details to tell you what it’s about and what we’re planning. Check out the About Us page for the idea behind the group and how we want to run it, and the Membership page for what our expectations will be of the youth.