YOTA: Youngsters On The Air an IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) Region 1 Event (Europe).
The goal of YOTA is to welcome new and young amateur radio operators to our beautiful hobby. We live in a world where communication is being digitized in a way that we almost can’t keep up with. In times like this it’s important to convince people about the importance of our hobby especially in times of emergency or disasters.
We started off by teaching Annique who is 4 years old and Journeii who is 7 years old (Cyril’s daughters) how to operate on air. Both Annique and Journeii are very interested in radio and were very excited to participate and talk to other YOTA stations in Region 1. J62YOTA is the only participating station coming from IARU Region 2 (the Americas). The official YOTA site is found here: www.ham-yota.com, it lists all the participating stations and relevant information.
We tried getting a couple of schools onboard but due to red tape, and other reasons that did not quite pan out. Also tried to recruit a few more youngsters to be with us during the Christmas holidays, that too failed but Dereece an eleven year old boy from England did us proud…he would have put some seasoned “Hams” to shame with his professionalism.
The beginning of the month started off with a nice session and pileup. The best band at that time was twenty meters, so we went on 14 megahertz and called CQ. Journeii ran a nice pileup for about an hour! The session was live via uStream on the laptop. During the whole month we had sessions from both ‘shacks’.
The Saint Lucia YOTA team managed to work 27 out of the 42 other YOTA stations worldwide during the month and this qualified the YOTA team for a platinum award! We worked a lot of European and USA stations and also quite a few nice stations like South Africa, Tunisia, Thailand, Bahrain and many others. We had a very nice time in the pileups on SSB (Single Side Band).
Our team had a few really nice QSO’s (two way conversations) with the DQ0YOTA team from Germany doing a lot of odd digital modes including a digital voice QSO using FreeDv. The FreeDv QSO was just great considering that conditions were not all that good but it was truly 599 both ways!
The month of December had fair propagation to EU during our morning hours and towards USA and Japan in the evening. So we took a few days off to work the YOTA call in the morning to allow for contact towards EU and other YOTA Stations. In the evening we had fun working mostly USA and at grey line we managed to do Japan.
Our St. Lucian team did our island proud as the only station outside of Europe to get platinum!
Article on our local newspaper The Voice