Amateur Radio and Scouting

Spring Camporee

Boy Scouts Include Amateur Radio in Spring Camporee

The Riverside District in South Brevard County, Florida, recently incorporated amateur radio as a part of its camporee.   The event was attended by 100 Boy Scouts from eight different troops.  At these events scouts compete in various skills like map and compass, fire building, cooking, etc.  This year Troop 314 from West Melbourne, the host troop, decided to include Amateur Radio as one of the events. 

As a part of the camporee competition, scouts compete in patrols normally consisting of about five members.   At the amateur radio event, scouts received points for listening to an overview of Amateur Radio and actually talking on the air. Jan Heise, K4QD, organized the event with the help of his grandson Aaron Ludwig, KJ4UQS, and members of the Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society (PCARS).  Both Jan and Aaron are members of T-314.  Jan obtained special event station callsign K4R (for Riverside District).  They set up an HF station capable of contacting amateurs (often called HAMS) around the world, and a VHF station used for local area contacts.

PCARS members John Gerstner, K4LRP, and Marty Grove, KJ4LQX, came to the camporee and performed most of the HF operating while Aaron did the majority of the VHF operating and provided the Amateur Radio overview.  As a special treat, Chuck Green, AD4ES, flew his four passenger plane overhead while Eric Smitt, K9ES, operated both HF and VHF talking to scouts at the special event station. 

Scouts at the camporee were very interested in the Amateur Radio station, and almost all of them wanted to talk on the radio.  The group used primarily 20 meters on HF, and on VHF they used the PCARS 146.85 wide area repeater.  It was great to hear scouts say, “Wow, I just talked to Germany.” or “Hey, that guy is in Canada.”  Everyone agreed that the special event station was a success.

Merit Badge Resources

ARRL Service to Scouting Award

Nominations are being accepted for this award authorized by the Boy Scouts of America's Community Organization Awards Program.  Leaders to be recognized for their contribution bringing Amateur Radio to scouts through various scouting activitties and venues can be nominated for this award.  ARRL members can complete the nomination form and submit it to their ARRL Section Manager to authroze ARRL to issue the award certificate.  Receipt of the  ARRL Service to Scouting Award entitles the leader to wear the BSA Square Knot emblem. 

Other Resources

  • Learning Morse Code

    Scouts often enjoy learning and practicing Morse code. Find tips on learning Morse code and its history on our Learning Morse Code resource page.

    CWGet software, is a program to decode Morse code (CW) via sound card to text. It can work as a narrow-band sound DSP-filter also. All you need is a receiver and computer with a sound card. A 30-Day Trial is available.

    Find more information on strategies for teaching kids Morse code on our Youth Outreach page.

    Boy Scouts can now earn the Morse Code Interpreter Strip. Interpreter strips are worn on the uniform to indicate a proficiency in a language and to allow Scouts to be identified who can help with language translation. Now Morse code qualifies for this designation.morse_code_strip.jpg

    To review the requirements, view the Morse Code Interpreter Strip.

  • Articles & Other Information

    • Scout Radio Yahoo Group and Radio Scouting UK are great places to make contact with other counselors, arrange scheduled contacts and share ideas.
    • For information about ongoing Scout nets as well as JOTA refer to the World Radio Scouting Pages.
    • Amateur Radio in Scouting & Other Young Peoples Groups, by Mel Goldberg N6MEL. Goldberg relates his experiences and how he promotes Amateur Radio in Scouting and among young people.
    • Operation On Target is a great mountain-top experience that centers around hiking to a mountain summit and signaling to other scout units
    • Regulatory rules applying to control operators during operating events and activities involving un-licensed operators can be found in Dan Henderson’s comprehensive FAQ page, Who’s in Control of Your Station?
    • Search for listings of other youth groups that want to set up schedules at Youth Skeds.
    • Girl Scouts do not have a formal program to guide the study of Amateur Radio.  Each local troop may decide on its own area of interest.  An example of one concept for a Girl Scout Amateur Radio Patch: A Proposal.
    • Rapid RDFing: An Introductory Scouting Activity, by Stan Pozerski, KD1LE
    • Printed flyers describing Amateur Radio the Scouting audience to use as hand-outs at Scouting events or other public events are available from ARRL. Please review ordering information.
    • To listen to a recorded satellite contact with Scout Troop 340 in Minden, NV on August 28, 2007 via AO-51 click here. Recording is courtesy of KI6IUC.
    • To listen to the contact between Boy Scouts at the Prairielands Council Space Jamboree Camp and Astronaut Clay Anderson on board the International Space Station on October 6, 2007 click here.
    • To watch a video of Illini Space Jamboree’s September 13, 2008 contact with Astronaut Gregory Chamitoff KD5PKZ aboard the ISS, click here. The ISS contact was conducted via telebridge and assisted by Nancy Rocheleau WH6PN and Dick Flagg AH6NM from Hawaii, with local set-up by Brian Walker K9BKW. The video was produced by Brian Walker and Austin Walker KC9EVS.
    • Scouts (BSA and GSA) from around the Midwest enjoy yearly Ham Radio events at Space Jam,

  • Hands-on Kits, Projects and Activities to Explore Radio

    Explore GeoFoxing, the newest Radiosport that combines fox hunting and geocaching.

    Review the classroom resources, including kits and projects offered through ARRL's Education & Technology Program for additional ways to explore radio concepts with Scouts.

    Review suggested youth outreach activities for more ideas.

  • Promoting Amateur Radio with Boy Scouts

    Field Day is a great opportunity to offer Scouts a hands-on opportunity to experience ham radio in a fun activity. You can combine the Boy Scout Merit Badge program with Field Day activities.

    Learn More

  • Scouting Organization Websites

  • Amateur Radio Operator Rating Strip

    Within a twelve month span over 6,000 Amateur Radio Operator Rating Strips have been sold.  To find out more about these strips and their meaning please click here.