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Matabeleland J.O.T.A. Book

The Radio Society of Rhodesia
Matabeleland Branch
Jamboree On The Air
October 1972-74

If you tune carefully around certain spots on the dial of a shortwave receiver von will hear people talking about radio, exchanging interesting information, carrying out experiments... and obviously enjoying it all. These are the 'amateurs' with private radio transmitters in their homes, in their cars, or operated out—of—doors.

Often, especially around 20 metres, you will find that some of these stations are a long way off — much further away than the stations you hear on the medium and long waves. You may hear these amateur stations from all over the world — in the tropics, or right across the United States, or in the Far North of Canada, or in the South American forests.

When you learn to recognise the radio call—sign and operating codes, it becomes possible to identify the whereabouts of the stations and to pick out the most interesting ones. But by then you will be on the brink of an exciting adventure — a scientific hobby that will keep you interested and keen for years to come - a hobby that is now old in years but is always offering scope for new ideas and experiments.


Amateur Radio began before there were any short-wave bands on radio receivers — indeed before there was any radio as we now know it. But there were many young people who were interested in “wireless telegraphs” and began to experiment with all sorts of simple apparatus. These amateurs, or “Hams” as they are often called, later discovered that messages could be sent all over the world on low power, by using the “short—waves” which professional engineers had said were useless.

Today, although many official stations use the short—waves, certain wave—lengths are set aside by almost every country in the world for amateurs, so that they may continue their good work. In the United kingdom alone there are more than 10 000 people who hold a special licence from the Postmaster—General to operate an amateur transmitting station. There are even a number of enthusiasts who possess amateur stations fully equipped for transmitting their own television pictures. Throughout the world, there are more than 350 000 licensed radio amateurs. Apart from these, there are also many thousands of young people who, though not yet operating their own transmitters, share in the excitement and interests of Amateur Radio by listening to and building short—wave receivers, so gaining the knowledge and skill needed to obtain a licence.


Many well—known expeditions have used Amateur Radio stations to help keep them in touch with the world. For instance, the famous Kon—Tiki raft was regularly in contact with American and European amateur stations while it drifted across the Pacific Ocean.

Then again, amateurs have frequently provided emergency communications services in towns stricken by natural disasters, and have aided in the rescue of survivors from crashed aircraft and ships in distress. In the two world wars their operating and technical knowledge was widely drawn upon by the Services. During the Congo emergency in 1960, radio amateurs were, for sometime, responsible for practically all messages coming out of the troubled areas.

In recent years, in order to provide an efficient emergency service, the Radio Amateur Emergency Network has been formed overseas and operates in conjunction with the British Red Cross Society, the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade and the Police Forces.


Amateur Radio must surely be the only hobby ever to have been defined by an international treaty drawn up by 90 nations. This was at the International Telecommunications Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.A. during 1947, when Amateur Radio was defined as "A service of self—training, inter—communication and technical investigations carried on by duly authorised persons interested in radio technique, solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest”.

Most amateurs, however, would probably define their hobby more simply as “the practice of two—way, short—wave radio communication not as a business or means of profit but as a spare—time hobby pursued for the pleasure to be derived from an interest in radio technique and construction, and for the ensuing friendships with like—minded individuals throughout the world”.

It should be noted that the term “amateur” is, strictly speaking, applied only to persons who hold official licences to operate transmitting stations, though there are of course many thousands of individuals who follow the hobby purely as listeners - such persons are known as “SWL’s” (short—wave listeners).


To become a transmitting radio amateur, a licence issued by the Postmaster—General is required. Before this can be issued the applicant must (a) Pass a written examination set on the Radio Amateur Regulations and the required technical knowledge ... and (b) Pass a practical Morse Code Test to prove his ability to read and send 12 words per minute for 5 minutes.

Contact the Radio Society of Rhodesia, Matabeleland Branch, P.O. Box 1372, Bulawayo, or telephone 67089 (business hours) or telephone 62443 (evenings). The Society would welcome your enquiries and assist you in every respect.


The following is designed to help you understand and enjoy JOTA by explaining some of the terms and procedure used by the operators. So let’s begin by explaining:—
RIG : The radio equipment, i.e. transmitter and receiver.
SHACK : The building in which the rig is situated.
ANTENNA : The aerial (and there are niany types).
QTH : The town (and often the country) from which the operator is working.
HANDLE : Operator’s Christian name or nickname.
Let us assume that our station is now all ready and the operator wants to make contact with another station. He will send out a CQ call either by phone (speech) or morse and as most of JOTA is on phone it will sound something like this:— ‘CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ this is ZE1GPS ZE1GPS over and listening’.

However, as we are mostly interested in Jamboree stations the CQ’s will often be followed by the word “Jamboree”. In that case the call would be like this:- ‘CQ Jamboree, etc., etc., this is ZE1GPS ZE1GPS óver and listening’.

If the caller has reason to believe that reception conditions at the receiver’s end are poor he may give the call sign by using the phonetic alphabet in which case it would be said thus:— "Zulu Echo 1 Golf Papa Sierra
Z E 1 G P S

and he may also use this mode of getting across names, etc. If our operator gets a reply from someone he will return to him saying something like this: ‘ZE2XYZ ZE1GPS thanks old man for answering my CQ. You’re putting out a fine business signal 5 and 9’. Then he would carry on a normal conversation.

Now let’s explain a few more things:- When replying to whoever answers, our operator would give the answerer’s call sign followed by our’s as shown above, The term “old man” is used by radio amateurs between themselves no matter what age they may be. The term “fine business signal” means that it is good and clear, whilst the figures 5 and 9 indicate the degree of readability and signal strength.

Now here are a few more terms worth understanding:-

ROGER : Means the message is understood.
QRM : Interference from other stations.
QRN : Interference from atmospherics, unscreened electric motors, hair—dryers, etc.
QSB : Fading
QSO : Radio contact.
QSL : Usually refers to the cards exchanged between two stations which have had a radio contact. (For JOT1\ we use a special QSL card).
QRX : Stand by (In other words - Wait a minute).
73 : Kind regards, best wishes, etc.
88 : Love and kisses.

A Alpha
B Bravo
C Charlie
D Delta
E Echo
F Foxtrot
G Golf
H Hotel
I India
J Juliet
K Kilo
L Lima
M Mike
N November
O Oscar
P Papa
Q Quebec
R Romeo
S Sierra
T Tango
U Uniform
V Victor
W Whisky
X X-ray
Y Yankee
Z Zulu

A .-
B -...
C -.-.
D -..
E .
F ..-.
G - -.
H ....
I ..
J .- - -
K -.-
L .-..
M - -
N -.
O - - -
P .- -.
Q - -.-
R .-.
S ...
T -
U ..-
V ...-
W .- -
X -..-
Y -.- -
Z - -..

1 .- - - -
2 ..- - -
3 ...- -
4 ....-
5 .....
6 -....
7 - -...
8 - - -..
9 - - - -.
0 - - - - -


1 Unreadable
2 Barely readable, occasional words distinguished
3 Readable with considerable difficulty
4 Readable with practically no difficulty
5 Perfectly readable


1 Faint, signals barely perceptible
2 Very weak signals
3 Week signals
4 Fair signals
5 Fairly good signals
6 Good signals
7 Moderately strong signals
8 Strong signals
9 Extremely strong signals


Why not learn Morse - and learn it properly. It could be very useful and you would get a lot of fun out of it once you built up some speed.

Why not do the Slow Morse Class put out by ZE1JBY from about mid-May to mid-September every Monday Tuesday Thursday & Friday on 3.55 mHz from 6.15 to 6.45pm. You can get it on an ordinary transistor with a small aerial strung out to a tree in your garden. See me for the know-how. Its easy.

Why not use the information in this little booklet for a Patrol Quiz about twice a month before JOTA.
Why not get your Scouter to run a whole Troop Quiz with him as Quiz Master, giving points to Patrols for correct answers.
DON’T say "I CAN’T". There is a little girl of 14 in New Zealand who is a fully licenced RADIO HAM.

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Acknowledgements:-The Radio Society of Rhodesia - Matabeleland Branch