GB2JAM ... the Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club

JOTA Weekend 14th - 16th October 2005

Preparing to raise the Club Mast İg4oar 2005

Erecting the Club Mast:- Vic G4UDR, Harry G1UHO, Simon G6XHF, Colin G3RLA, Phil G0JSB and Gordon G8MMM

Operating from the Cricket Pavilion with the HF Beam on the Tower and Dipoles on the Mast   İg4oar 2005

Operating from the cricket pavilion - HF beam on the tower for 20/15/10 and the Club Mast with dipoles 80/40/17

One sunny afternoon last May, I was chatting with Vic G4UDR in his garden over a beer, as you do, when the conversation turned to JOTA - Jamboree on Click for Big Picthe Air. Every year during the second weekend in October, Amateur Radio operators and Radio Clubs join with the hundreds of Scouting organisations around the world and help them exchange greetings via short wave radio.  For many it is their first view of Amateur Radio, and half-duplex SSB can sound a most strange mode of communication !

Click for Big PicVic has been actively involved for many years with Scouting in Birkenhead, whilst to a much lesser degree I have joined both Vic and other groups with JOTA on occasions.  The problem is you rarely find a Scout Group HQ with a good radio site.  More often than not, you can just make a ½ size G5RV wrap round a building downspout over to a 12ft flagpole. A JOTA station we visited last year also had security problems from youngsters after dark, which took off some of the enjoyment.

Vic is keeper of the prestigious callsign GB2JAM which was first taken out by Click for Big PicTom G4BKF for a special event station on the 5th & 6th of May 1979.  The occasion was a celebratory event in Royden Park to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first World Jamboree in nearby Arrowe Park back in 1929 - hence the "JAM" suffix. So, after much discussion, Vic & I came up with the idea of approaching JOTA from the other way round .. searching  for somewhere primarily to play radio for the Friday night and Saturday and then inviting groups of Scouts, Cubs &Click for Big Pic Beavers on the Sunday to complete their communicator badges.  After making up a list of venues, we slowly crossed each one off, for one reason or another.  My final suggestion was Irby Cricket Club .. our Radio Club HQ. It had ALL the Click for Big Picfacilities plus loads of space for antennas & reasonable security .. but from memory a very sensitive alarm system which had caused us major problems with RF before.  It also enjoys a central Wirral location, and that proved an important consideration for club members and Scouts alike.

I guess the rest is history, I talked to ICC and received a very enthusiasticClick for Big Pic agreement and so the planning began.  We received a very kind offer from Wirral Raynet to supply their 40' mobile tower which would support the Club's 3 element HF beam, and Richard G8NDD offered his time and services to deliver and erect it for us.  As we had space, we decided to use the Club's 40' mast to support dipoles for 80/40 and 17m.  At this point no one knew how to erect the club mast .. but thankfully Phil G0JSB, heavily occupied with domestic renovations, offered to come down on the Friday afternoon and lead a party and show us how.  Simon G6XHF, Click for Big Picanother active Scout leader was then invited to join in the organisation.  He was keen to be involved and contributed both his HF station and many years active JOTA experience. Eric G6HWD, another Scout leader also joined the group, so very quickly we had a wealth of radio and scouting experience, all extremely enthusiastic in planning a Wirral JOTA 2005 with a difference. Steve G7BBFClick for Big Pic promised a number of webcams with internet access through our website and wirralcam and also broadband facilities for callsign look-up and other dx support .. so the weekend quickly took shape at a level well beyond our wildest dreams.  Last, but not least, WADARC club members were eager to join in, and offered their help and support towards a successful weekend.

We ended up with two HF stations in the same room only 10 feet apart with Click for Big Picabsolutely no de-sense at all and as a bonus, band conditions were remarkably good.  We worked a total of 192 stations in a most relaxed manner with an almost non existent noise floor which I found quite stunning.  The station with the beam onClick for Big Pic 20m and 15m was running 400watts, while the other spent most of the time on 80m running 80 watts.  As for previous RF problems ?  .. delighted to report that by locating the antennas away from the pavilion and improved coax we had no Click for Big Picdifficulties at all.  Contacts were made with 28 different countries and of all the contacts 16% were other JOTA stations.  Furthest was Indonesia but a contact with Mexico was most pleasing as XE stations are quite rare.  Our Sunday,Click for Big Pic as planned, was mostly taken up receiving visitors and helping Scouts and Beavers who arrived by invitation with their troop leaders and parents to complete their communicator badges.  I worked one station in Taunton operating from a camp in a forest with their 80m dipole hanging between two trees and couldn't find another JOTA station for their Scouts to pass greetings to.  I promptly sat there and chatted to 8 scouts Click for Big Pichelping them all pass their badges which was most rewarding .. not least because we had played almost uninterrupted radio from Friday evening right through Saturday until the early hours of Sunday.  A proven format we will certainly try again !

In conclusion, none of this could have gone ahead without the agreement,Click for Big Pic support and enthusiasm of Irby Cricket Club to our proposals for which we are most grateful.  Equally, a request for assistance to Club members on both the Friday afternoon, for setting up the antennas, and Sunday afternoon to take them all down again received an excellent response which enabled the weekend to run like clockwork.  Those who didn't make it for whatever reason missed an Click for Big Picexcellent weekend.  Our Thanks to everyone who did, we thank you for your support.

I've included a selection of photographs which hopefully reflect the extent of the weekend's activities, certainly one of the best JOTA's Vic and I have enjoyed for many years.  As you can see, the weather bestowed high pressure and a most beautiful 'mini-summer' on us during the weekend which was superb.  If anyone would like a high definition print of any of the above, please send me details in an email to

73, Neil G4OAR

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