We woke up at 5am in the morning, took a shower and packed up as we won't be coming back to the hostel. While having our breakfast, 9W2UOA Guo from Klang gave us a call informing us that he had arrived at the school. We met him at the school later and started setting up the radio stations. Flicked the power switch and ensure everything is working as it should. Objective for the day is simple, to have students gaining hands on experience operating a radio station. We set up 3 radio stations to keep group size small.
Base Station - FT8 Digital Mode
ICOM IC-7200 + PAC-12 Portable HF Antenna
Portable Station - Digital / Analog Voice
YAESU FTM-100DR + Diamond X300 Dual Band Antenna
Handheld - Digital Voice
Various Digital Handhelds
It may seem counterintuitive to use FT8 for the purpose of this demonstration but we wanted a sure hit method of making contacts at the bottom peak of the solar cycle. We could CQ away in search for a local 40m contact but we did not took the chance as students may have a short attention span. If we failed to make a contact to attract their attention, their mind might have wandered to Taj Mahal or Saudi Arabia (day-dreaming that is).
|Diamond X300 Dual Band Antenna|
|PAC-12 Portable HF Vertical Antenna|
First wave of students arrived at around 10.00AM. It was overwhelming at first as I'm not used to interacting with children. First group has an unusually large crowd size. Fortunately, breaking them into 3 smaller manageable groups worked well. At first, I gave a brief explanation of what amateur radio is. As always, the children would ask funny questions like can we speak to 'aliens' in outer space. We explained that yes, you could communicate with people (not aliens) from outer space as radio waves can travel through space. We also explained that information from space telescopes and satellites could be retrieved via radio waves and no you could not speak to your deceased family members. Before I send them to their respective group, I gave an explanation of the differences between base, portable and handheld stations.
|The First Wave - Introduction to Amateur Radio|
|9W2NNS (Meng Suan) explaining to the children|
It was not only students who benefited from the event. Fairly new hams visited the station in search of fresh knowledge. We shared and exchanged ideas related to amateur radio, trying to spark their interest into ham radio at the same time. Students also managed to spoke to AG5DB, Peter from the states through DMR.
|Trying Out FT-8 Digital Station|
|Local 2m Band Contacts|
|Aaron giving explanation on amateur radio equipment|
|Senior official trying out amateur radio (speaking to AG5DB)|
|Special thanks to 9W2CPN for the drinks contribution|
|Took for pair of hands to revive this broken loading coil|
|End of JOTA, students assembling for next event|
|Tent pitching for the night|
|My favourite, BonFire!|
As the students started pitching their tents, that concludes our JOTA station event for year 2018. We packed our belongings and closed down the amateur radio station. We had a splendid dinner with the crew before flying back to Singapore. I would like to thank every single one of you in the team for making this a successful and memorable JOTA event. Till then, 73's and see you next year! Looking forward for the next JOTA event in Singapore.
|9M4SJW - 2018 JOTA Station Crew Member - Thank You!|