Scouts take to the air

Published 12:02 pm Sunday, October 19, 2014


The largest scouting event in the world took place this Saturday.

The 57th annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) began in the early morning hours and several Boy Scouts from Troop 106 joined members of the Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association (SOARA) at Central Christian Church to “ham it up” with 750,000 other Boy Scouts around the world.

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“We talked to a Scout named Marc in Valdosta, Georgia, early this morning,” Tim Nicely, assistant scoutmaster of Troop 106, said. “We were up until 3 a.m. making sure everything was ready to go.”

The Jamboree has dedicated frequencies. Nicely and members of SOARA tune in the frequency and scouts speak into a handheld receiver and ask for a reply.

“It’s raining and cold here,” Jack Sullivan, 12, of Troop 106, told a scout in Massachusetts who asked about the weather. “What’s the weather like there?”

The event, the third weekend in October annually, lasts from Friday to Sunday to ensure Scouts around the world have the chance to participate.

“New Zealand, for example, is 18 hours ahead of us so it’s already Sunday there,” Gary Stephenson, ham radio operator, said. “It’s almost Sunday in England and is early in the morning in Hawaii, so we all keep up with what time it is around the world to keep things straight.”