Jamboree on the Air – Jamboree on the Internet – Overstone Scout Campsite and Activity Centre – 15th, 16th, 17th October 2021

Date: 4th Nov 2021 Author: Gary Jackson

The Jamboree on the Air weekend this year was of special significance for the Northampton Scout Amateur Radio Group. Not only was it the 64th JOTA but it was also our 40th anniversary, four decades providing Radio Scouting activities for local Scouts.

The JOTA+ weekend gave around 70 Scouts camping at Overstone the opportunity of discovering more about international Scouting using amateur radio and the internet with the chance of joining in with some of the 1.5 million Scouts worldwide who took part in the weekend.

Our station contacted ten different Scouting countries and Scouts visiting the station during their sessions we able to speak to other Scouts in Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and the Netherlands via amateur radio and also see and speak to Scouts in France, the Island of Crete, Ireland, India and Indonesia via the internet using Skype. We also made use of hand-held radios and used these for radio operating practice. I think everyone was proficient in the phonetic alphabet by the end of their session. All Scouts were issued with a sheet detailing the Scout Communicator Activity Badge requirements and most made good progress towards their badge.

Contacts at Jamboree on the Air are not always guaranteed so we also have some additional activities going on. Several Scouts did well practicing Semaphore and Morse Code as part of their session. We also had a weather station receiving pictures from the NOAA weather satellite with some excellent results. Another part of our station was transmitting signals using the FT8 data mode which achieved another 69 contacts in 17 counties as far away as the USA and Canada.

The Radio Group meets on the third Saturday each month throughout the year so it’s not just Jamboree on the Air in October when we’re operating. We cover many aspects of amateur radio and associated technology-based activities including the Communicator Badge (for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) and support for our Young People who decide to progress further and study to obtain their own amateur radio transmitting licence.

We are particularly proud of Alex and Jacob (Explorer Scouts) and also James (GSL of 13th), who have all passed the Foundation Amateur Radio Licence and obtained their own callsigns this year. They were able to operate at Jamboree on the Air for the first time – an excellent achievement in the Radio Group’s 40th Year! Our Explorer Scouts Alex and Jacob used their amateur radio skills for the skills section of the DofE Bronze Award. The progressive nature of the amateur radio training programme aligns perfectly with the skills section of the DofE Award scheme.

When Les Mitchell started Jamboree on the Air from an idea at the World Jamboree in 1957 he had no idea that the event would still be going 64 years later. It’s now the largest international Scouting event in the world with over 1.5 million Scouts taking part.

Join us on 14th 15th and 16th October 2022 and become part of that 1.5 million!


Ian Rivett

Northampton Scout Amateur Radio Group

Celebrating 40 Years of Radio Scouting in Northampton, 1981 – 2021

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls