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Science Fair/Merit Badge Projects


The following is a list of projects that can be used for scouting merit badges or science fairs. The projects are designated with degrees of difficulty.

Some of the projects are from the pages of ARRL publications, such as QST Magazine, and some are from commercial manufacturers.

These projects can also be used as part of a larger "History of Morse Code", "History of Radio", or "How Radio Works" presentation.


Requires minimal soldering and has few components.


Greater number of parts, some soldering skill and greater attention to detail required but still a good "first project" with some supervision.


Recommended for someone who has built a project of this nature before. Kits are available, but instructions assume some knowledge.


Homebrew Projects (scratch built)

Homebrew (scratch built) 

  • The MRX-40 Mini Receiver (advanced)
    QST September 1997, pp. 59-60
    A tiny 40 meter amateur band Morse code receiver barely larger than a half dollar.
  • The Crystal Radio (advanced)
    QST December 1997, pp. 56-57
    The simple crystal receiver described in this article works surprisingly well. Demonstrate a radio that has no obvious power source whatsoever!
  • The Neophyte Receiver (advanced)
    QST February 1988 pp. 14-18
    A simple 80 or 40 meter amateur band AM, Morse Code (CW) and Single Side Band (SSB) receiver.

Web Links

  • ARRL Introduction To Ham Radio
    Here's your invitation to a friendly, high-tech hobby that's got something fun for everyone!
  • SAREX: The Space Amateur Radio EXperiment
    With the help of Amateur Radio clubs and ham radio operators, space shuttle astronauts have been speaking over the ham airwaves while in orbit. They are talking directly with large groups of the general public, showing teachers, students, parents and communities how Amateur Radio energizes youngsters about science, technology, and learning.
  • ARRL Scout Handbook
    This booklet will tell you how to get started with Scouting and JOTA. Let's GO!
  • Stay Tuned
    Crystal radio and Tube Web site

Transmitting Without a License

The FCC allows very limited unlicensed transmitters for use by hobbiests in the 160-190kHz band,  the AM Broadcast Band, and the FM Broadcast Band.  Educational institutions can now obtain permission from the Office of Engineering and Technology to conduct telemetry in the FM Broadcast band using custom transmitters.  This document contains the relevant rules.


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