Young people in flight enjoy successful contact with the ISS, busy with other activities
The first Youth on the Air (YOTA) Camp for Young Amateurs of the Americas ends Friday in West Chester, Ohio. Among other activities, campers operated the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting and Camp Hotel special events station W8Y.
“Things are going very well,” said camp director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG on Wednesday evening. The previous launch of a balloon carrying an amateur radio payload was successful, he said, and – after locating where the payload landed about 3 hours away – campers were able to recover the package, thanks to some understanding landowners. Rapp said the balloon reached around 100,000 feet.
Rapp said the campers got along well from day one and the problems in general were few and minor.
Several of the roughly two dozen campers asked ISS crew member Akihiko Hoshide, KE5DNI, during ham radio Tuesday on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact. Responding to a question from Graham, KO4FJK, Hoshide said the most interesting things he had seen from space were flying through an aurora and looking at the “shooting stars” of the ISS. He also said the ISS crew were able to see a partial lunar eclipse from space.
Another camper, Adam, KD9KIS, wanted to know how often ISS crew members use the on-board ham station.
Hoshide said individual crew members can be on the radio every two weeks or so or when the opportunity arises.
“This ARISS contact is intended to inspire these young radio amateurs to learn more about communication using amateur satellites and to establish ARISS radio contacts,” ARISS said this week announcing the contact date. ARISS team member John Sygo, ZS6JON, South Africa, served as the telescopic bridge relay for the late morning event, which was broadcast live via YouTube.
Rapp said he hopes this pilot camp venture will provide the information needed to replicate the camp at multiple locations for years to come. “We also hope that this will bring a stronger community of young amateurs into amateur radio,” he added.
The long-awaited summer camp for up to 30 hams aged 15 to 25 was scheduled for last June but had to be postponed until this summer due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The Young Amateurs Camp in the Americas was inspired by the Youngsters on the Air summer camps held in recent years in various countries in IARU Region 1.
The Region 2 camp aims to help participants take their amateur radio experience to the next level by exposing them to a variety of activities and providing them with the opportunity to meet other young amateurs. Activities include building kits, building antennas, finding transmitters and direction finding, digital modes and a high altitude balloon launch. The exploitation of amateur satellites is one of the workshops offered. Others include effective radio communication, the history of local amateurs, and the use of amateur radio in an emergency. The YouTube channel offers daily featured videos.
W8Y aired as campers complete their projects, between sessions and during free time, although some late-night slots were scheduled.
The camp’s opening ceremony on Sunday featured keynote speaker Tim Duffy, K3LR, who told campers, “Amateur radio is the best hobby in the world!
Campers also watched a video presentation from the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Youth Working Group Chairman Phillip Springer, DK6SP.
The ARRL and the Yasme Foundation donated project kits to the campers. XTronics supplied temperature controlled soldering stations. Youth on Air Brochure website includes more details about the camp. – Thanks to ARISS for some information