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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.

Commercial Kits

  • MFJ Enterprises

    The web address for MFJ Enterprises is

    The MFJ-8100K Shortwave Regenerative Receiver Kit - $79.95 (moderate)
    This is a fine, attractive regenerative receiver kit that will stand up to the best of them. The regenerative receiver was the intermediary between the crystal and superhetrodyne in the evolution of radio.

    Price last checked 1/18/2011.


  • Ten Tec

    The web address for Ten Tec is

    • T-KIT No. 1054, Regenerative 4-Band SWL Receiver Kit - $39.00 (moderate)
      Suggested Enclosure-Plus Pak, No. 1000B, $19.50
      This great little receiver is excellent for clubs, classes and family activities. Band coverage: 49 Meter SWL band, 40 Meter ham band, 31 Meter SWL band, plus exciting 12-15 MHz tuning for daytime shortwave listening, 20 Meter ham band and all those other magical shortwave sounds. The sharp-looking front panel gives the "real radio" look right away: dress up your project later with a case and knobs, and perhaps a speaker. You can enjoy the basic kit just by hooking up 9 to 12 volts DC, setting up a modest wire antenna (10 feet or more of hookup wire) and plugging in your own stereo headphones (1/8" plug). Features convenient push- button bandswitching, on-off switch, "on" LED, tuning, volume, regeneration control.

    Note: Prices last updated 1/18/2011


  • Ramsey Electronics

    The web address for Ramsey Electronics is

    • Crystal Radio Set - $9.95 (beginner)
      The Crystal Radio Set needs no batteries or reliance on modern semiconductor devices. You'll build a set similar to the ones built by early radio pioneers, using parts that are considered crude by today's standards. What a thrill to pull signals out of the air on such a simple radio. The detector uses an actual piece of Galena. The manual encourages experimentation with other detectors, even a pencil lead or an old razor blade, similar to the "fox-hole" radios of World War 2. Requires no soldering.
    • Tunable FM Stereo Transmitter - $44.95 (moderate)
      Just connect a cassette deck or CD player and you're on-the-air with a school, dorm, camp, home, church or neighborhood FM station. Can be received with any FM receiver. No FCC License required.
    • AM Transmitter - $34.95 (moderate)
      Operates in the standard AM broadcast band and is easily tunable to any clear spot on the dial in your area. No FCC License required.

    Prices last updated 1/18/2011

  • Small Wonder Labs

    The web address for Small Wonder Labs is

         The 'Rock-Mite' design grew out of my desire to offer a 'one-evening' CW transceiver kit which would be both affordable and easy to construct. The Rock-Mite is a crystal-controlled direct-conversion transceiver available for 80M, 40M, 30M or 20M. $29.00 (moderate)

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!
  • Affiliated Club Search
    This page will help you find an ARRL affiliated club near you.
  • The Xtal Set Society
    Crystal Sets? Yup, you’ve found an entire site about building Crystal Sets.
  • Stay Tuned
    Crystal radio and Tube Web site