Jamboree-on-the-Air (“JOTA” for short) is the largest Scouting event in the world! It’s held annually the third full weekend in October. JOTA uses amateur radio to link Scouts and ham radio operators around the world, around the nation, and in your own community. JOTA requires no travel other than to a nearby amateur radio operator’s “ham shack.”

Scouts of any age can participate—Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. Once at the ham radio station, the communication typically involves talking on a microphone and listening on the station speakers. However, many forms of specialized communication may also be taking place, such as video communication, digital communication (much like sending a message on your smartphone but transmitted by radio), or communication through a satellite relay or an earth-based relay (called a repeater). The exchanges include such information as name, location (called QTH in ham speak), Scout rank, age, and hobbies. The stations you’ll be communicating with can be across town, across the country, or even on the other side of the planet! In 2015, nearly 1 million Scouts and almost 20 thousand amateur radio operators participated in the 2015 JOTA, from more than 17 thousand stations in over 150 countries.

Jamboree-on-the-Air is held the third weekend in October. There are no official hours, so you have the whole weekend to make JOTA contacts. The event officially starts Friday evening during the JOTA Jump Start and runs through Sunday evening.

How Can I Participate as a Scout?
Contact our council and see what may already be planned in your area. You can also contact a local ham radio operator or a local amateur radio club. You can find a searchable database of clubs at www.arrl.org/find-a-club . This website is operated by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio, which cooperates closely with the BSA for the annual JOTA.

How Can I Participate as a Ham Radio Operator?
Contact our council and see what may already be planned in your area and how you can help. If nothing is currently planned, or if current plans aren’t reaching your area, you can work with the council or a local unit (pack, troop, crew) to set up a JOTA station or arrange for visits to your ham shack. You can also participate just by making QSOs with the many JOTA stations that will be on the air. A good resource to find a local Scout unit is the Be-A-Scout website at https://beascout.scouting.org/BeAScoutMap.aspx .