Youngsters On The Air 2018 logo

The “most prestigious event on the International Amateur Radio Union Region One (IARU -R1) youth calendar” is the Youngsters-On-the-Air (YOTA) Summer Event which is now underway in South Africa and hosted by the South African Radio League (SARL).

This is a first for Africa, and a first for South Africa to host this major youth event. Eighty participants aged from 16 to 25, and from over 30 countries have been invited to attend a fun-filled week of Amateur Radio from the 8th to the 15th August 2018.

This annual event brings together young people from various IARU R1 member societies in Africa and Europe for an entire week. This week creates, in addition to Amateur Radio, the opportunity to learn all about different nationalities and cultures, foster international friendships and goodwill as well as learning new communication and technical skills.”

The event is being held in the beautiful central region of Gauteng and is organized by the SARL Youth Working Group and supported by a dedicated events team.

This is the first YOTA event which will focus on a “train-the-trainer principle” as described below by Peter Barnes, M0SWN, in his online blog about YOTA 2018: Day 1.

YOTA 2018: Day 1

Peter Barnes, M0SWN | August 10, 2018

We set off for South Africa just after 2200hrs, and enjoyed our pleasant 11 hour flight to Johannesburg! We started bumping into fellow attendees while queuing for customs. We were greeted by a large welcoming reception, and driven to the fantastic Kopanong hotel a few miles from the airport

Software Defined Radio

We started off YOTA 2018 with an introduction into Software Defined Radio, SDR. Each person was generously given a SDR dongle by the YOTA organisers and shown how to set up a program called SDRSharp which allowed us to receive different modes such as FM, SSB and AM. The presentation also showed us how to integrate SDRSharp with other programs such as GPredict, to allow us to decode SSTV from satellites, which we were told would link in well with our outing on Saturday.

Train the Trainer

The next activity we took part in was our first Train the Trainer event, which involved each team going to the front of the conference room and outlining to the other amateurs there how they have encouraged amateur radio in their home country. These ideas were then written down and after everyone had shared their efforts back home, we all voted to see what we think as a group would encourage younger people into the hobby. The result of our voting was trying to encourage more JOTA events, foxhunting and construction in the hope to grow our hobby.

Antenna Construction

In support of the prevailing theme of satellites and high altitude ballooning, we constructed our own dual band yagi antennas. The wonderful kit was created by Guy ZS6GUY, and left us little to do other than insert the elements into the colour coded, injection moulded, mounting spacers. It came with a lovely carry bag, allowing them to be easily transported for field days and SOTA activations. The quality of the antenna was further demonstrated by the low SWR readings, and performed extremely well on 2m and 70cm.

Intercultural Evening

That evening was the intercultural evening. We were greeted with an diverse array of local food and produce from all of the attending teams. We were represented by buscuits, crisps and a rather excellent bottle of Islay single malt.

All in all we’ve had a fantastic first day, and are looking forward to the rest of the week. We will be posting more updates throughout the week.

73’s, Team UK: YOTA 2018

Peter MØSWN, Mike 2EØMLJ, Ben MØNBA and Nathan MIØNPR


YOTA 2018: Day 1

Background information

The South African Radio League (SARL) will host the 2018 Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) Summer Camp – although in this case, it will become the “YOTA Winter Camp,” as it’s being held in the Southern Hemisphere. The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU-R1) Executive Committee and its Youth Working Group Chair Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, have accepted and approved SARL’s proposal.

The annual event brings together young people from Region 1 and elsewhere for a week, creating an opportunity to learn all about different nationalities and cultures, foster international friendships and goodwill, and learn new Amateur Radio skills.

“The SARL and the South African YOTA Working Group are delighted with the response, and we are looking forward to hosting a successful YOTA 2018 event as an unforgettable African experience that will be remembered for many years to come,” SARL said in announcing the 2018 YOTA camp.

Dr. Gary Immelman, ZS6YI, will serve as patron of the event. SARL President Nico van Rensburg, ZS6QL, conveyed his appreciation to the YOTA Working Group in South Africa for its successful proposal. He said hosting the 2018 YOTA Winter Camp would be a golden opportunity for the SARL and for Amateur Radio in South Africa to make their mark in promoting Amateur Radio among the younger generation.

The YOTA website states:

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 digitalized 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. Together with other youngsters all around the world, we can make the difference and give our hobby the future it deserves!”

This past August, 80 young people attended YOTA Summer Camp in England, sponsored by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).

– Thanks to IARU Region 1