Scouts QSO with “Elmers” at 51st annual JOTA

By Beacon Staff

The lingo was unfamiliar, but the smiles were not.

In a weekend filled with QSOs, CQs, Elmers, a little bit of Morse Code and additional ham radio lingo, Scouts from across the valley enjoyed the 51st annual World Scout Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) Friday night and Saturday at Montana Council’s Grizzly Base Camp near Creston, thanks to an over-the-top volunteer effort from the Flathead Valley Amateur Radio Club.

“QSO” is ham radio-speak for “a conversation between two amateur radio operators”. “CQ” means “hey, is anyone out there who wants to chat?”, and an “Elmer” is an amateur radio expert who helps someone learn the ropes when they are new to amateur radio.

The 51st World Scout Jamboree On The Air was held simultaneously with the 12th annual World Scout Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI), providing Scouts from around the globe with the opportunity to learn more about each other, talk about what camping is like in their country (and whatever else they wish to discuss), as well as learn about amateur (“ham”) radio from experts in their area.

If you’re interested in learning more about amateur (“ham”) radio, the Flathead Valley Amateur Radio Club meets every 3rd Thursday at the United Way conference room in the Gateway West mall, starting at 7:30pm. Before dropping in, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the club via their website at FVARC.org.