K2BSA: Amateur Radio Fun in the Warm Virginia Sun
The 2010 National Scout Jamboree -- celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America -- was held July 26-August 4 at Fort AP Hill in Virginia. According to ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Director and K2BSA Station Coordinator/Manager Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, ham radio was a big part of the event that attracted more than 43,000 participants from across the nation and around the world.
K2BSA has been a fixture at the BSA National Jamboree since the 1970s. This year, it had three elements: a demonstration station, licensing classes and VE exams, and radio merit badge instruction. The station was on the air on both VHF and HF -- 70 cm, 2, 6, 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters -- utilizing at least 10 transceivers and as many monoband Yagis or dipoles atop 60 foot tall telephone poles, to make contacts using modes and methods such as phone, CW, PSK31, meteor scatter, IRLP, D-STAR, APRS and satellite. “K2BSA made thousands of QSOs,” Mileshosky told the ARRL. “We put a dual-band repeater on the air held a nightly net for Jamboree participants who brought their handheld transceivers to the Jamboree.”
Mileshosky said that nearly 6000 youth scouts -- 13 percent of the total Jamboree attendance -- received thorough exposure to ham radio, touring the K2BSA station and getting on the airwaves. Six lucky scouts conducted a memorable contact with astronaut Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC, aboard the International Space Station (ISS) before a crowd of Jamboree participants.
“We held Technician license classes and two VE exam sessions daily, resulting in 147 new Technicians, 33 Generals and 8 Amateur Extras,” Mileshosky said. “210 scouts earned their Radio merit badges, too.”
One of those 147 new hams is Lt Col John Haefner, KJ4WRN, Commander of Fort AP Hill. “He learned of K2BSA’s presence and visited the station to inform us of his longtime desire to become a ham radio operator,” Mileshosky explained. “Making time in his busy schedule, he self-studied, and ultimately became a General class ham. Thank you for your and Fort AP Hill’s support, Lt Col Haefner!”
Mileshosky said that support from the ham community and manufacturers was also abundant: “Manufacturers such as including Icom America, Yaesu USA, Ten-Tec, Heil Sound, MFJ, Cushcraft, HyGain, Buckmaster, HRO, XGGCOMM, Quicksilver Radio Products and Array Solutions loaned the K2BSA operation a lot of equipment. Icom America’s Ray Novak, N9JA, and Yaesu’s Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV, both traveled to the Jamboree to observe and assist with K2BSA’s operations. The ARRL also provided significant support, including VE exam materials, license study manuals for loan to Jamboree participants, other publications, as well as the enthusiasm of longtime K2BSA staff member and QEX Editor Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, who served as ARRL’s staff liaison.”
Calling K2BSA’s operation at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree “a resounding success,” Mileshosky thanked everyone who worked K2BSA while it was on the air, with special thanks to all scouts and Scouters who attended the Jamboree. “All eyes are on 2013 when the next National Jamboree will be held at its new permanent location: the Summit Bechtel Family National Scouting Reserve, located adjacent to the New River Gorge National River Park in West Virginia,” he said. “We look forward to K2BSA to once again carry on its tradition of introducing thousands of youth to the extraordinary hobby and service of Amateur Radio.”