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ps56k

Ham Radio for Scouts

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Wonder if there are any other Hams that have managed to take their rigs on a campout and got the Scouts interested in Ham Radio, or even Morse Code ? We have two Hams in our Troop, and we have thought about doing the JOTA in October, along with dragging a rig to our indoor/cabin camping weekends, and something during good weather.

 

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As you can tell from my username I am trustee to a Scout club station here in San Diego. At our council Scout Fair I have organized demonstration stations at a Radio Merit Badge booth on the midway there. Each year we have had more than 150 boys go through the booth, work on the merit badge, and each make radio contacts on HF SSB, and 25 of the boys staffing the booth earned the badge. The merit badge is a good goal but I have found that is difficult enough, and none of the boys (except my own sons) have been willing to study toward getting a license.

 

If you are looking for a good website to teach Radio Merit Badge check out Bill Jeffrey's AA6J worksheet pages at

 

http://www.qsl.net/aa6j/radiomb/index.html .

 

Bill has been a major contributor to the MB booth at Scout Fair here.

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ps56k-- Every time I bring my radio to camp outs the boys will gather around the radio. Most of the time it would be after dinner and around the camp fire to hear from other scouts or hams in the area. They get interested and ask about gettig a lic and a radio,. The big thing is the cost -- I wish I could find a source for them. KCOMFJ

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SCOUTLDR: Good One!!! I never thought of a ham radio as a gameboy --- I guess if you didn't know what a ham radio was or what you can use it for, you would compair it to a gameboy. What do troops say about cellphones ?

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I have a unique situation. At the end of each meeting, I move to my 2 meter rig and join the Monday night emergency net run by a local club. The boys and their dads hang around and ask questions. We have had great interest in the JOTA from the hams and the scouts. As a result, the SM and I have talked about learning Morse code as a project. This is also a good motivation for me to get my code and upgrade.

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When I was a Scout the Morse code was a requirement, either using a flasher or key with a sounder... BSA even sold official sets made by Fleron (I collect old ones today). And we also did Myer 2-element wig-wag flag signaling. These interests led me to get a ham license in 1961 and start putting together my own transmitters from junk electronic parts, design and build my own radio teletype equipment and then even television sets. Eventually I completed an advanced degree in electrical engineering from UCSD, and was a member of the design team to earn an Emmy Award in television technology in 1986 for the VideoCipher scrambling system. You never know what can be achieved by Scouts when they get interested in new activities and continue to be involved.

 

There are new digital modes in ham radio such as Winlink (Pactor on HF or VHF), IRLP internet gateway technology, ham satellite packet communications, and APRS position reporting (combine that with Orienteering) that could spark the serious interest of modern Scouts. By demonstrating the networks of mountain-top FM repeaters using the ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency System) ham radio is very clearly distinguished as not a toy like a Gameboy. And in an emergency the cellphones are the first method of communications to become overloaded and quit working. Even just starting by teaching the proper radio protocol and network control for FRS two-way radios during a hike can be lots of fun for Scouts... and lead to interest in ham radio as a valuable and fun activity.(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)

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I am an Assistant Scoutmaster and a Pack Committee Member. Our local Ham Club (JARC) has been involved with JOTA for several years. I am N3HUP and bring at least a HT to every campout. I have lugged the HF rig a couple times. The Scouts get more interested when I hook up the laptop and do digital modes like SSTV and DSSTV. They even enjoy PSK and other CHAT TYPE modes. Try hooking up a digital station and you will get alot of interest from scouts. Hope to see plenty of you on the air for JOTA. 73's de N3HUP

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KA5RDH here.

 

I grew up in HAM radio as both parents were HAMs and participated in the local radio club. My dad was out scoutmaster and we used HAM radios driving to/from campouts to keep in touch with each other. Much better than CBs. These days FRS/GMRS seems much easier, although those bands are getting crowded in some areas.

 

 

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yeah... when I was a Scout, we had so much more in the Scouting Handbook - now, it's so watered down and so many old skills have been stripped out that the Scouts don't even know these other topics even existed... Also, in todays world, I guess many of those topics were tagged as obsolete. Morse, signalling, tracking, trail signs, etc - Today - if you want a random chat with a person, try a chat room, or even a VoIP phone call like on Skype, or any of the IM services. And yeah, they have FRS radios, so a walkie-talkie (HT) is no big deal anymore. And video, same deal as a webcam now, camera phones, etc...

Tough to compete with today's mainstream technology.

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