On 18th and 19th Oct Dartmoor Radio Club supported the West Devon Explorer Scouts in experiencing 2 sessions of Amateur Radio activity at the Yelverton War Memorial Hall.
On Friday evening a dozen scouts were introduced to the many facets of Amateur Radio by Dominic M0BLF. He gave a thrilling description and journey from its inception with Marconi, to VHF and HF , Fun Cube Amateur satellites to the various forms of communication including aspects using Internet links.
The Scouts soon realised a lot more and finally were treated to a practice session of news reading on a volunteer run Radio Station in Cambridgeshire. Despite nerves, the readers coped well !
The scouts then left for their overnight accommodation in tents in a nearby field. The rest of us went home to our cosy beds.
Saturday was the day to make contact with as many Scout groups world wide as possible. Alan G4BLI was in charge of the 40M band transmissions, and contacts were made with 25 stations (JOTA Log). After some hesitation, three YLs (Amy, Abigail and Anya) carried out conversations with each group. These contacts were with Holland, Belgium, and impressively with Bletchley Park Radio Exhibition Centre, Scout HQ at Gilwell Park and finally with the BBC Amateur Radio station, situated in BBC Broadcasting House London. This contact impressed even more as their station is situated one room distant from the live broadcast of BBC Radio 1.
Outside the room Dominic had set up a link on D-STAR handheld with a Hotspot, and contacts were made to Scout groups in Australia, Uxbridge GB, and Hong Kong.
He had also set up an amazing communications link with satellite dish to the International Space Station as there was an overhead pass at 1125 BST. However, there was no communication possible, as on the previous day there was a First for the ISS, two women astronauts working outside the Space Station. So, sadly the transponder link had not been switched back on !
Also his links to SO50 satellite failed to materialise. This demonstrated to the several technically interested scouts that communications don’t always work as planned.
So, thanks to all who took part, Abigail the Explorer Scout leader who started us off on this activity. Alan, Dave, Rob and Bryan for helping setup on Friday and Saturday, and especially to Dominic who travelled a long distance to demonstrate what can be done !