JOTA at Endeavour Boree Regatta

A JOTA radio station is one of the activities provided during the Endeavour Boree Regatta, at the Bonna Point Reserve (near Kurnell), with the opportunity for guides and scouts to earn challenge and proficiency badges.

There is a choice of three different activities provided at the JOTA radio station.

ON AIR– An opportunity to make voice contact with other Guides and Scouts, somewhere in the world, and exchange information and ideas about their favourite guiding or scouting activities.

Amateur Radio operators will use a selection of different communication mediums from traditional short wave (HF-SSB), FM (frequency modulation) bands, to modern digital communications modes. On Air is a group (unit / troop) activity. The Boree Regatta JOTA call sign is VK2LE.

FOX HUNT– Two covert radio transmitters (the FOX) will be hidden within the Boree Regatta camp site. Guides and Scouts will have an opportunity to HUNT for the hiding place using radio direction finding equipment. The techniques used are similar to WWII spy transmitter detection — but the equipment is a little more modern. Fox Hunt is a group (unit / troop) activity. Leaders should allow 20 to 30 minutes for this activity.

RADIO STATION SETUP An opportunity for youth members to learn about how to setup and operate a radio station, with the assistance of a qualified radio operator, and earn a relevant challenge / proficiency badge. This activity is for individual guides or scouts aged 10 years or older. This activity is conducted in small groups, under the supervision of a scout or guide leader, taking about 30 minutes.

REGISTRATION – To participate in any of the three JOTA activities, leaders must register their unit or troop, or individual guide or scout, with the Boree Registrar by selecting a suitable 30 minute time slot(s).

GUIDE CHALLENGE & SCOUT PROFICIENCY BADGES Guides and Scouts attending the Boree Regatta, have an opportunity to earn a challenge or proficiency badge as part of attending the JOTA radio station. This is an optional individual activity for youth members aged 10 years or older.

Some work will need to be completed prior to attending the Boree Regatta, followed by participating in one of the JOTA activities described above. For more information about the badges available click here.

 

 

 

 

The Parkes Observatory (also known informally as "The Dish") is a radio telescope observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales. It was one of several radio antennas used to receive live, television images of the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July 1969. After 50 years of operation, the telescope's scientific contributions has led to the Parkes Observatory to be described as "the most successful scientific instrument ever built in Australia".

The main dish is the 64-metre (210 ft) movable dish telescope, the second largest dish in the Southern Hemisphere.

After its completion it has operated almost continuously to the present day. The center part of the dish consists smooth metal plates, while the outer part of the dish is made of fine metal mesh. The moving part of the telescope weights 1000 tonnes – as much as two Boeing 747s – but it is not fixed to the tower, and instead sits atop it with its own weight holding it down. In this set up, it takes 15 minutes for the dish to do a 360 degree rotation, and five minutes to get to its maximum tilt of 60 degrees.

The receiving cabin is located at the focus of the parabolic dish, supported by three struts 27-metre (89 ft) above the dish. The cabin contains multiple radio and microwave detectors, which can be switched into the focus beam for different science observations.

Apollo 11 broadcast - When Buzz Aldrin switched on the TV camera on the Lunar Module, three tracking antennas received the signals simultaneously, one located in California, another at Honeysuckle Creek near Canberra, and the 64-metre dish at Parkes.

In the first few minutes of the broadcast, NASA switched between antennas searching for the best quality picture. After about nine minutes into the broadcast, NASA decided the signal from Parkes was so superior that NASA stayed with Parkes as the source of the TV for the remainder of the 2.5 hour broadcast. 

ExtraTerrestrial - In February 1995, the researchers began a six-month search for extraterrestrial intelligence by analysing patterns in radio signals of 800 nearby stars, similar to ours.

The Dish - In the year 2000, the Parkes telescope featured in a fictional movie about man's first steps on the moon. Actors played cricket on the dish, using a tennis ball to not damage the dish surface.

 

The International Space Station (ISS) is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history and the largest structure humans have ever put into space. This high-flying satellite is a laboratory for new technologies and an observation platform for astronomical, environmental and geological research.

The space station flies at an average altitude of 400 kilometres above Earth. It circles the globe every 90 minutes at a speed of about 28,000 kph.

In one day, the station travels about the distance it would take to go from Earth to the moon and back.

The ISS is now the largest artificial body in orbit. It is 109 metres in length, making the space station's area span about the size of a football field. The space station weighs nearly 419,500 kg's, has 2 bathrooms, a gym and more room than a 6 bedroom house. The ISS has been visited by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations. There has been a total of 352 flights to the ISS, by 211 individual people, 31 of these were women, and 7 were 'space tourists' (as of 2013).

Many of the astronauts and cosmonauts are also amateur (ham) radio operators participating in the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) project. While on a break, these amateur radio operators will spend some time communicating with "earthlings" via amateur radio, using VHF and UHF frequencies.

ARISS lets school students worldwide experience the excitement of talking directly with crew members of the International Space Station, inspiring them to pursue interests in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and engaging them with radio science technology through amateur radio.

For 15 years, Australian amateur radio operator, Tony (callsign VK5ZAI) has facilitated amateur radio communications with orbiting space stations from his back yard station, allowing many schools to speak with the ISS.

 

Amateur radio call signs are allocated to amateur radio operators around the world. The call signs are used to legally identify the station or operator, with some countries requiring the station call sign to always be used and others allowing the operator call sign instead.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) allocates call sign prefixes for amateur radio callsigns, also known as a country code.

There are over 300 different country prefixes or codes used by amateur radio operators world wide.

The amateur radio call sign prefix for Australia is "VK". This is followed by a number which indicates the location of the amateur radio station;

VK1 - Australian Capital Territory
VK2 - New South Wales
VK3 - Victoria
VK4 - Queensland
VK5 - South Australia
VK6 - Western Australia
VK7 - Tasmania
VK8 - Northern Territory
VK9 - external territories e.g. Norfolk Island
VK0 - Antarctica
 

Following is a sample list of country call sign prefixes used by amateur radio operators;

Japan JA to JS Brazil PP to PY, ZV to ZZ
USA AA to AL, KA to KZ, NA to NZ, WA to WZ Italy IA to IZ
Thailand E2A to E2Z, HSA to HSZ Indonesia 7A to 7I, 8A to 8I, JZ, PK to PO, YB to YH
Korea 6K to 6N, D7 to D9, HL, DS & DT France FA to FZ, HW to HY, TH to TX
Germany DA to DR, Y2 to Y9 Ukraine EM to EO, UR to UZ
New Zealand ZL, ZK & ZM Argentina AY to AZ, L2 to L9, LO to LW
Spain AM to AO, EA to EH Poland 3Z, HF, SN to SR
United Kingdom 2A to 2Z, GA to GZ, MA to MZ, Australia VK0 to VK9
Canada CF to CZ, VA to VZ, XJ to XO Netherlands PJ
Russia RA to RZ, UA to UI Sweden 7S, 8S, SA to SM
 

 

The ionosphere is the layer of the Earth's atmosphere that is ionised by solar and cosmic radiation, located between 75 to 500 kms above the Earth.

The Sun emits a constant stream of plasma and UV and X-rays that flow out and ionise the Earth's ionosphere, during the daytime.

During the night, cosmic rays originating from sources throughout our own galaxy, ionise the ionosphere. Not being as strong as the Sun, the ionosphere is not charged as much at night time.

Radio waves that travel along the surface of the earth, are called "Surface Wave" or Ground Wave". Reception of surface radio waves fades out with the curvature of the earth, such as FM radio stations.

Radio waves also travel up into the sky or space above the earth, and are called "Space Waves' and "Sky Waves". Some of these radio signals can be received by aircraft, satellites and the international space station.

Other radio waves travel up to the ionosphere and are reflected back to earth, to be received hundreds or thousands of kms away. The distance between the radio transmitter and where the radio waves return to earth, is called the "Skip Zone" or skip distance. Some of these radio waves then bounce off the earth's surface, back up to the ionosphere and then reflected back to earth. This is called a double skip or double hop.

The ionosphere above the earth's surface consists of various layers, which change between daytime and night time. Also the layers change between summer and winter time.

The layers have a different effect on radio waves, depending on the radio frequency or band. The "D" layer absorbs lower frequencies (below 10 Mega Hertz) during the daytime.  At night time the "D" layers disappears allowing lower frequencies to be reflected back to earth by the other layers above. This is why AM broadcast stations are usually only received over long distances at night time.

Higher frequency radio waves (between 10 and 30 MHz) are reflected back to earth by one of the upper layers, depending on the actual transmitted frequency.

Amateur radio operators use different frequency bands to communicate over various distances around the world, depending on the time of day, season of the year and ionospheric conditions.

Very high frequencies (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) radio transmissions pass straight through the ionospheric layers, into outer space.

 

The world's first artificial (man made) satellite, the Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. Since then, thousands of satellites have been launched into orbit around the Earth by more than 40 countries.

About a thousand satellites are currently operational, whereas thousands of unused satellites and satellite fragments orbit the Earth as space debris. Of the 1000 operating satellites, approximately 500 satellites are in low-Earth orbit, 50 are in medium-Earth orbit (at 20,000 km), the rest are in geostationary orbit (at 36,000 km).

Satellites are used for a large number of purposes including military and civilian Earth observation satellites, communications satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites.

An amateur radio satellite is an artificial satellite built and used by amateur radio operators using amateur radio frequency allocations to communicate with other amateur radio operators.

Many amateur-satellites are called OSCAR, (Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio). These satellites can be used for free by licensed amateur radio operators for voice and data communications.

Currently, over 5 fully operational amateur-satellites in orbit can be used to repeat radio signals from one radio operator to another radio operator, within the satellite footprint, using VHF, UHF and microwave frequencies. OSCAR satellites can also store and forward packets of digital information all around the world.

Low orbit satellites are the easiest to use requiring low power radio signals and small antennas.

A software program called Orbitron can be used to track satelittes, including the ISS, as they orbit the earth.

The BLUEsat Group is a collection of undergraduate students at University of NSW (UNSW), dedicated to creating easy-to-access space technology.

BLUEsat was started in 1997 as the Basic Low-Earth Orbit UNSW Experimental Satellite (BLUEsat) project, aimed at designing, building and launching the first undergraduate satellite in Australia.

The team aims to build a 10x10x20cm3 nano-satellite for space research, capable of performing various space-related experiments.

The current team consists of roughly thirty electrical, software and mechanical engineering and commerce students. BLUEsat members a chance to work hands-on to design, build and test the subsystems that allow satellites to survive, navigate and operate in one of the harshest environments found in engineering.

Many of the BLUEsat team are also amateur radio operators as the nano-satellites use amateur radio frequencies to communicate with the earth station.

Amateur Radio Direction Finding

These days Amateur Radio is more like a sport than a hobby. There are so many out-door events and contests to get involved in like Summits On The Air, the National Parks Award and Amateur Radio Field Day Contests etc. But what could be more fun than combining Amateur Radio with orienteering? It is called Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) or "Fox Hunting". The concept is simple: Someone hides a small transmitter and you try to find it by tracking down its “beep, beep, beep” signal using a sniffer (tracker).

Introduction

The transmitter is called a beacon (commonly known as the "fox") The beacon emits a weak radio signal. The sniffer is a directional antenna and receiver used to find the direction of the transmitter.

The tracker looks like a small TV antenna with a little box called a “sniffer”. The sniffer lets you hear the beacon’s signal and determine the direction of the transmitter (fox) from your current location. You can follow the tracker to the beacon or you can take bearings and triangulate the beacon. To triangulate the beacon you plot the direction (or bearing) of the beacon at your current location on a map. You repeat the process at two other places sufficiently far apart so that the three bearing lines plotted on the map form a triangle around the predicted location of the beacon.

To plot bearing lines on a map you could:

  1. Draw your own map of the school playground or print out a Google Earth satellite view of the school buildings, trees and playground etc.
  2. Laminate the map so you can draw on it using felt-tip pens.
  3. Plot your current position on the map. Look along the tracker bearing for a landmark (a tree or building). Locate the landmark on the map and plot the position of the landmark. Then draw a straight line between the two points using a ruler and felt-tip pens.
  4. Use a compass to get a bearing to the beacon. Orient the map to magnetic North and use the compass again to plot the bearing line on the map.
  5. Download and use a free triangulation app on a smartphone. Point phone in the same direction as the tracker. Press the button on the app and it uses the phone's internal compass to plot a line on the map.

Following the sniffer to the "Fox"

  1. Hold the rear end of the tracker by the hand grip with the elements pointing up and down.
  2. Observe the number displayed on the sniffer (0 – 9) OR listen to the pitch of the tone from the speaker as you move the tracker around.
  3. Turn in a complete circle: The highest number displayed OR the highest tone pitch indicates that the tracker is pointing towards the beacon. The number increases as you get closer to the beacon OR the tone is reset to a lower pitch each time the number increases.
  4. Move the tracker slowly from left to right and back again in the general direction of the beacon.
  5. Note where the tracker is pointing for the highest number OR pitch. Use landmarks or take a compass bearing and draw a line from your position in that direction on a map.
  6. Move along the designated trail to a different position and let someone else get a bearing. Keep taking and following the bearings until you find the "Fox" and you can complete your mission. 

To plot bearing lines on a map you could:

  1. Draw your own map of the school playground or print out a Google Earth satellite view of the school buildings, trees and playground etc.
  2. Laminate the map so you can draw on it using felt-tip pens.
  3. Plot your current position on the map. Look along the tracker bearing for a landmark (a tree or building). Locate the landmark on the map and plot the position of the landmark. Then draw a straight line between the two points using a ruler and felt-tip pens.
  4. Use a compass to get a bearing to the beacon. Orient the map to magnetic North and use the compass again to plot the bearing line on the map.
  5. Download and use a free triangulation app on a smartphone. Point phone in the same direction as the tracker. Press the button on the app and it uses the phone's internal compass to plot a line on the map.

Tips: Have Fun! But don’t run and don’t poke anyone in the eye with the antenna elements. Be aware of false readings caused by reflections from nearby metal structures.

Introduction

The Scout Technology proficiency badges can be earned by participating at Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) at the Boree Regatta 2016.

Some preliminary work would be required prior to attending JOTA. The requirements are outlined in this work sheet and records the scouts work towards earning the badge. The work recorded to be checked and signed by both leader(s) and radio operator(s). Scout must bring this completed work sheet to JOTA.

Badge

Scout Technology Proficiency Badge

Investigate radio fox hunting, amateur radio satellites, identify the main parts of a radio station, learn a radio operating skill and make an amateur radio contact.

Age

This badge is available to scouts aged 10 years or older.

Activities to be undertaken before JOTA and at JOTA

Badge
Before JOTA
At JOTA

Scout Technology Proficiency Badge

Investigate - radio fox hunting, amateur radio satellites, identify the main parts of a radio station, learn a radio operating skill.

Skill - Communicate with another guide or scout. Record information about the contact, amateur radio and the JOTA station.

 

Work Sheet - click here to download the proficiency badge work sheet from this web site.

Resources - Information articles to assist scouts and leaders can be found here, is available from this web site. Click here.

Registration - Your Scout leader must book a suitable time slot, with the Boree Registrar, for your troop to participate in the JOTA On Air activity

Introduction

The Guide World Explore proficiency badges can be earned by participating at Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) at the Boree Regatta 2016.

Some preliminary work would be required prior to attending JOTA. The requirements for this badge are outlined in this work sheet which also records the guide’s work towards earning the badge. The work recorded to be checked and signed by both leader(s) and radio operator(s). Guide must bring this completed work sheet to JOTA.

Badge

Guide World Explore Challenge Badge

Investigate international radio call signs and how radio waves skip around the world, learn a radio operating skill and exchange messages with someone who lives in another country, whilst at JOTA.

Age

This badge is available to guides aged 10 years or older.

Activities to be undertaken before JOTA and at JOTA

Badge Part A - Before JOTA Part B - At JOTA
Guide World Explore Challenge Badge

Skill - Investigate international radio call signs and how radio waves skip around the world, learn a radio operating skill.

Skill - Communicate with another guide or scout. Record information about the contact, amateur radio and the JOTA station.

 

Work Sheet - click here to download the challenge badge work sheet from this web site.

Resources - Information articles to assist guides and leaders can be found here, is available from this web site. Click here.

Registration - Your Guide leader must book a suitable time slot, with the Boree Registrar, for individual guide(s) to participate in the Radio Station Setup activity

The Guide Outer Space Explore challenge badges can be earned by participating at Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) at the Boree Regatta 2015.

Some preliminary work would be required prior to attending JOTA. The requirements for this badge are outlined in this work sheet which also records the guide’s work towards earning the badge. The work recorded to be checked and signed by both leader(s) and radio operator(s). Guide must bring this completed work sheet to JOTA.

Badge

Guide Outer Space Explore Challenge Badge

Investigate radio signals in outer space including radio telescope, International Space Station and amateur radio satellites, learn a radio operating skill and assist in setting up an amateur radio station.

Age

This badge is available to guides aged 10 years or older.

Activities to be undertaken before JOTA and at JOTA

Badge Part A - Before JOTA Part B - At JOTA
Guide Outer Space Explore Challenge Badge

Investigate radio signals in outer space including radio telescope, International Space Station and amateur radio satellites, learn a radio operating skill.

Skill - assist in setting up an amateur radio station and making a contact with another amateur radio station.

 

Work Sheet - click here to download the challenge badge work sheet from this web site.

Resources - Information articles to assist guides and leaders can be found here, is available from this web site. Click here.

Registration - Your Guide leader must book a suitable time slot, with the Boree Registrar, for your unit to participate in the Fox Hunt activity

The Guide Air Explore challenge badges can be earned by participating at Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) at the Boree Regatta 2016.

Some preliminary work would be required prior to attending JOTA. The requirements for this badge are outlined in this work sheet which also records the guide’s work towards earning the badge. The work recorded to be checked and signed by both leader(s) and radio operator(s). Guide must bring this completed work sheet to JOTA.

Badge

Guide Air Explore Challenge Badge

Investigate radio fox hunting, how to become an amateur radio operator, demonstrate understanding about JOTA and JOTI, and participate in a radio fox hunt.

Age

This badge is available to guides aged 10 years or older.

Activities to be undertaken before JOTA and at JOTA

Badge Part A - Before JOTA Part B - At JOTA
Guide Air Explore Challenge Badge

Investigate radio fox hunting, how to become an amateur radio operator, demonstrate understanding about JOTA and JOTI.

Skill – Participate in an Amateur Radio Fox Hunt. Record information about the location of the fox and the equipment used.

 

Work Sheet - click here to download the challenge badge work sheet from this web site.

Resources - Information articles to assist guides and leaders can be found here, is available from this web site. Click here.

Registration - Your Guide leader must book a suitable time slot, with the Boree Registrar, for your unit to participate in the Fox Hunt activity.