56th JOTA: October 19-20, 2013Jamboree on the Air provides the opportunity for millions of Scouts around the world to meet on the air via Amateur Radio. Get ready for the 56th year of this annual on-the-air event!
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.
The following resources will provide ideas for Amateur Radio activities. You’ll find resources that are specifically focused on the Boy Scout Merit Badge as well as general activities to engage Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in the exploration of Amateur Radio.
The Boys Scouts of America Radio Merit Badge curriculum was revised January 1, 2009. You can review the new curriculum and the changes to the curriculum on the US Scouting Service Project website and order a new four-color pamphlet with a complete description of the Radio Merit Badge program directly from the BSA online store.
You'll find everything you'll need to instruct the Radio Merit badge on this resource page developed by Gary Wilson, K2GW, Radio Merit Badge Counselor, Mercer Area District, Central New Jersey Council Boy Scouts of America. Includes ideas on how to sell radio to kids, logistics and planning tips, how to organize lessons and activities, visual aids and hand-outs for instruction.
Gary Wilson K2GW has supplied current information about becoming a BSA Merit Badge Counselor.
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.
To review the requirements, view the Morse Code Interpreter Strip.
- Scout Radio Yahoo Group and Radio Scouting UK are great places to make contact with other counselors, arrange scheduled contacts and share ideas.
- Scout Radio Youth Yahoo Group is a great meeting place for those who are in Scouting and interested in Amateur Radio or the Radio Merit Badge.
- 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, www.spacejamboree.com
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.
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.