K2BSA at 2001 Jamboree

The National Scout Jamboree was held July 23-31, 2001, at Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Virginia, as have the previous five Jamborees since 1981. At K2BSA, we had a staff of 44, under the direction of Ed Dudley WA4ISI and Ray Moyer WD8JKV. The staff was further divided into a Merit Badge Midway crew (Bill Burns WA6QYR in charge), the station operators (Gene Keys WB4NLM and Dan Moore KA8DRR, shift supervisors), a license class / VE testing section (John Cross AB5OX) and the “other” group (Jerry Friedman WA2FQA, Russ Mickiewicz, N7QR and myself, Mike Brown WB2JWD). 

The Scouts’ first day at the Jamboree was Monday the 23rd, but the K2BSA staff began arriving a week earlier. Although the lack of electricity slowed things down, we were ready to go by the time the power arrived on Saturday the 21st.

“Other” staff Jerry WA2FQA and Russ N7QR assemble one of the beams – we had single banders for 40, 20 and 15, and a tribander as well.

Bill WB9CAC assembling the tribander.

By Sunday afternoon, the entire staff was assembled.

Rappahannock Power’s bucket truck helps raise the 20M beam.

A new feature at the 2001 Jamboree, courtesy Brian N5ZGT, was hidden transmitter hunting, using “tape measure beams”.
Above, Josh KF4HJO helps a Scout find a transmitter

A Scout tries out the “K2BSA helmetcam” brought by Ray WD8JKV. The pictures were remarkable, if the movement made them a bit nauseating.

This was the first time Jamboree participants earned their ham licenses, and had their new call signs in time to make first contacts with K2BSA before the Jamboree was over. Above, the first three new hams at Jambo 2001.

Of course, the primary purpose of K2BSA is to introduce ham radio to Scouts, preferably by getting them on the air. Here are a few of the many Scouts who overcame mike fright to talk on the radio.

Andy KF4NVE demonstrates satellite tracking to Scouts at the K2BSA “Special Modes” station. Contacts were made through a number of satellites, and many more were heard.

The K2BSA tent

One of the rainy days at the Jamboree – and the lines of dripping Scouts waiting to get into K2BSA. Satellite antenna in foreground, with raindrops.

K2BSA turned out to be waterproof, unlike the housing tents. There’s nothing like the pitter-patter of raindrops on your sleeping bag to make a Jamboree memorable…

The Jamboree was, as usual, a huge undertaking. With the largest participation at a single Jamboree since the 1960’s, the resources were strained to the limit, but nearly everyone coped with an attitude of “get the job done”. A few particular memories:

  • Meeting many friends and acquaintances from my 27 years of Scouting, including some I hadn’t seen for years, and others I only knew from overseas events.

  • The mess hall staff member warning us not to eat the mystery meat at dinner…

  • Having a staff member lose a loaned piece of equipment at an arena show, and while we were searching for it, learning that a Scout had turned it in to lost-and-found. Visiting his troop, and having them refuse our offer of a pizza party as a reward. Scouting does work!

  • One of our other staff members having a lost digital camera returned from lost and found with a new picture added, reading “You’re Welcome! The transportation staff…”

  • Loaning my spare HT to our newest ham Scout, and hearing it on the repeater continuously for the next three days.

  • An inch of standing water under my bunk… for three days…

More pictures…

One of the more interesting modes at this Jamboree was SSTV. For the first time, we were able to really demonstrate it, thanks to the SSTV speaker-mic from Kenwood, and software for the PC to decode the pictures (at right).
I was able to send pictures around the K2BSA area, and quite a bit further, using the Kenwood mike on a handie talkie. At far left, Billie WB8TRK at the Mosby Road Staff Mess Hall, in a first test of the system, when I was able to send pictures of the night’s meal to salivating staffers back at K2BSA.
This year’s “super contact” was with the International Space Station. Seventeen Scouts got to talk to astronaut Susan Helms.
K2BSA youth staff acted as operators for the Scouts talking to the space station – above, Brian N5ZGT helps a Scout.
The K2BSA “Mars Rover” Amateur TV demonstration was back again, with a twist. The Scouts were set the problem of steering a radio-control truck around a course set up outside the tent, as in 1997. This time, though they were looking for “Martian fauna” (stuffed animals). When an animal was found, it had to be identified in a “field guide” and checked off on a list.

Not really Martian fauna, but strange nonetheless…

Left, Shelley K2BS

Right, Chris NK8V

A few more memories:

  • I ran into a troop leader as I walked back from K2BSA on the first day of the Jamboree. I asked her how she liked the Jamboree so far, and she was walking on air – “where else can you go, and everyone you meet says ‘hello’ and asks how things are going? And means it?”

  • Sixty seven check-ins at one night’s Jamboree net.

  • The many, many Scouts who couldn’t stop grinning as they came back to K2BSA to report passing their license exams.

  • The many other Scouts experiencing the wonder of the first time a voice from around the world responded to them.

  • Susan Helm’s voice coming back from the International Space Station in response to our call. Scrambling to change radios, as it was obvious the omni antenna on the back-up radio was working better than the beam (don’t think anyone noticed).

  • While waiting for the ISS pass to start, asking the Scouts clustered closely around the antenna, “have you ever heard of microwave ovens?”… and watching them all fade backwards…

  • The Scout on stage at the closing show who couldn’t light his juggling torches, and the applause when he left the stage… and the comment from the Scout in front of me, that “it doesn’t matter that he couldn’t make it work, it took guts to get up on stage in front of 50,000 people”.

  • The 85 year old Assistant Scoutmaster at the closing show playing “America the Beautiful” on the Singing Saw… and 35,000 Scouts spontaneously starting to sing along.

  • Forget the rest of it – just seeing an 85 year old ASM gives me hope that I can make it…

Still more pictures…

Bill’s merit badge midway crew taught a record number of Scouts at this Jamboree. At right, some pictures from the Midway operation.

Building projects

Merit badge classes

Completing the operating requirement at the “Ed Dudley Memorial Lounge” outside the K2BSA station tent.

Mark VK6ZEO gives an Australian award to Ray WD8JKV

John AB5OX presents the “K2BSA Elmer Award” to John KX1X


K2BSA 2001 Staff

K2BSA Director: Ed Dudley WA4ISI
Staff Advisor: Ray Moyer, WD8JKV
ARRL Liason: Larry Wolfgang WR1B

K2BSA Station:

Shift Supervisors:
Gene Keys, WB4NLM
Dan Moore,  KA8DRR

Station Operators:
Josh Brown, KF4HJO
Kevin Coyne, KB2ZVQ
Nat Davis IV, N4EL
Billie Dickson, WB8TRK
Ron Doyle, N8VAR
Bill Ellis, WB9CAC
Mark Gaynor, VK6ZEO
Andrew Harper, KF4NVE
Bob Johnson,  K3RC
Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT
Matt Schwaab, KC5SIX
Steve Sears, WE9A
Art Steinke, WB9JKZ
Mark Thompson, N4TIR
Shelly Weil, K2BS

Special Modes: Chris Anderson, NK8W

Merit Badge Midway:

Bill Burns WA6QYR (manager)
Josh Abramowicz, KB3GOG
Mark Abramowicz, NT3V
Emily Davis, KA4BSA
David Gaddis, KE4KPC
Allan Koch,  KA8JJN
Kirk Kridner, KV5Q
Dianne Marshall, AL7FG
Bill Mills, KC4AA
Tom Moak, WW5H
Bill Morine, N2COP
Paul Partin, N1AME
John Pise, KX1X
Frank Striegl, KA2TNZ
George Weber, KA0BSA
Carl Werntz, WA3ZZU
Jason Zeibel, KD4MML

Licensing Classes 

John Cross AB5OX (Licensing Coordinator)

Billie Dickson, WB8TRK
Bob Johnson, K3RC
David Gaddis, KE4KPC
Gene Santoski, K9UTZ
George Weber, KA0BSA

Technical Support/Setup/Misc. Activities – “Other”:
Mike Brown, WB2JWD
Jerry Friedman WA2FQA
Russ Mickiewicz, N7QR