From talking with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station to talking around the world on HF from GB17YOTA, the 80 participants at the Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) 2017 UK event had a blast. Held at Gilwell Park, located outside of London, the IARU summer camp allowed the young participants to become international friends in a way that only radio amateurs can appreciate. Next year, they’ll pass along the symbolic “YOTA Key” — a CW paddle set — to the next group of youthful radio amateurs who will enjoy similar experiences at a new location in 2018.
ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, had the good fortune to speak with GB17YOTA on 20 meters from W1AW. On the other end was Mike Jones, 2E0MLJ, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) Youth Committee Chair.
“Sounds like they had a very, very successful week with 80 young participants from 26 countries enjoying the week-long ham radio summer camp,” Inderbitzen observed afterward. “It was also the first time YOTA included participants from Japan and South Africa.”
The week saw YOTA campers build a 17-meter CW transceiver kit and get them on the air, engage in a foxhunting (Amateur Radio direction finding) competition, tour London, and make more than 10,000 contacts from GB17YOTA. Daily YOTA UK video diaries have been posted on the website of the RSGB, which hosted the 2017 YOTA camp.
Yasme Foundation grants made it possible for young radio amateurs from Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Kosovo to attend YOTA UK 2017. This summer’s gathering in the UK was the seventh international YOTA camp.
“When you participate in something like this, you feel a lot better about the future of Amateur Radio from the perspective of nurturing the next generation of hams,” Inderbitzen reflected in his Facebook Live presentation from W1AW.