Scouting and the Radio Amateur
July 1967 QST Article
Boy Scouts of America was formed in 1910 in conjunction with
The Boy Scouts Association in the UK. Per their 2007 website statement,
"The aim of
the Association is to promote the development of young people
in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual
potential, as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members
of their local, national and international communities." Part of
being a Boy Scout is earning merit badges by performing certain
community services and by
proficiency at defined tasks. Radio proficiency is one such merit
badge. In order to earn the Radio merit badge, along with certain
other projects the Boy Scout must participate in either Amateur
Radio, Broadcast Radio, or Shortwave Listening. This article
reports on amateur radio activities across the globe. The Scout
oath is, "On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and
my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all
times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally
July 1967 QST
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Scouting and the Radio Amateur
Jamboree-on-The-Air The Year Round?
Edward A. Gribi, Jr., * WB6IZF
FCC Chairman Rosel H. Hyde has recently said "Statistics seem to
suggest ... some lack of interest in the amateur service by our
youngsters ... (This situation) ... does require our earnest attention"
(QST, April, 1967, p. 61). O.K., so we need to keep the younger
fellows coming along to keep amateur radio progressing. How do we
go about approaching these youngsters and whetting their interest?
One of the best ready-made avenues is via the Scouting movement
- with over four million active boys in the U. S. between 8 and
Scouts operate at LA1O, Oslo Technical School, Norway
The radio amateur should look on Scouting as one of
the several areas in which he may implement the "service" aspect
of the amateur service. Certainly one of our purposes is to create
enough interest on the part of boys so that some may become amateurs.
However, we can't expect all boys to be equally motivated. Simply
by exposing boys to amateurs and amateur operation we will be molding
their image of amateurs as "cool heads" instead of "those nuts that
wreck TV." And certainly the amateur has many capabilities that
can be of vital aid to the Scouting program.
Some of these
areas where we've helped in the past include providing communications
for various Scouting events and training boys in code and electronics.
Besides expanding these services future possibilities might include
help in the formation of Scouting nets to let Scouts and Scouters
get to know each other better. The Jamboree-On-The-Air event is
doing that already but it only happens once a year. Perhaps our
goal should be Jamboree-On-The-Air year round. Let's take a look
at specific aspects of possible amateur radio service to Scouting.
Cub Scouts - These 8- to 11-year olds are full of fun and
enthusiasm. They're organized into small Dens with a Den Mother;
and a group of Dens makes a Pack led by a Cubmaster. Their three
ranks, Wolf, Bear, and Lion, are gained by accomplishing a series
of achievements and electives. Under electives are such things as
"Make and use a crystal set" and "Make and operate a radio using
one or more tubes." Lots of opportunity here to dig through your
junk box to help a boy make a radio. A Den Mother would probably
love to have you invite her Den to your shack even if they do no
more than talk to another Den across town on two meters.
Remember, though, that whether Den Mother, Scoutmaster, or Council
Scout Executive you may find the person has little idea of what
amateur radio may do for them. You may have to use some low pressure
salesmanship with persistence.
Boy Scouts - Boys 11 through
17 may become Boy Scouts by joining a Troop and passing the Tenderfoot
tests. Patrols, run by boy leaders, comprise a troop with the adult
Scoutmaster in overall charge. Advancement through set requirements
gains Second Class and First Class rank while set requirements plus
elective merit badges gain the Star, Life, and much coveted Eagle
rank. Emphasis in the early stages is on outdoor achievements but
in the higher ranks the sky's the limit! (The Space Exploration
merit badge was recently introduced.) The First Class Scout, among
other things, is required to "send and receive at least 20 words,
using either international Morse or semaphore codes and necessary
procedure signals." There are merit badges on Atomic Energy, Communications,
Electricity, Electronics, Radio, and Signaling, to name those where
an amateur might most likely help. Of the seven requirements for
the Radio merit badge, a current amateur license is a substitute
for the code requirement of 5 words a minute. Amateurs are always
welcome in Troops to help boys with the First Class code requirements
and to act as merit badge counselors.
The station at Circle 13 Scout Ranch in the Kern River headquarters
is the only communication for this remote California camp. Last
summer it proved its worth relaying messages to anxious parents
in the Los Angeles area when a bus break-down prevented several
units from leaving the camp for home until a day behind schedule.
Perhaps you can't take several weeks off during the summer, but
how about providing your mobile or portable set-up at a Camporee
or for a weekend at a Scout camp?
Scouts operating from the high school station near Salzburg,
Explorers - A boy going
into high school and reaching age 14 may then join an Explorer Post.
Emphasis in Exploring is on boy organized and conducted activities
with a boy-elected President and other leaders, with adults participating
as Advisors and consultants. Posts are classified as "general interest"
or "special interest," with special interests ranging from aviation
to zoology. The two types of Posts overlap activities in that they
all attempt to provide experience for these teenagers in social,
vocational, outdoor, personal fitness service and citizenship areas.
Several Explorer Posts have amateur radio as a specialty and quite
a few have specialties in electronics and other scientific fields.
Post 1, King City, California, has amateur radio as a specialty
and its activities may be more or less typical of a meshing of amateur
and Scouting fields. Half of the members are licensed, mostly Technicians.
Club station license, WB6SBL, is held and the Post owns equipment
for capabilities from 80 through 2. Post members have participated
in SET exercises, Jamboree-On-The-Air, a local fair, have visited
Oscar headquarters and electronics manufacturers, and have used
amateur gear on several activities including 55-mile backpack hikes
and beach trips. Activities for the immediate future include providing
communications at a District Camporee and at a Council-wide Explorer
Road Rally over a hundred mile course. While amateur activities
are included only insofar as members' interests dictate, all members
have been exposed.
Sea Exploring - This branch used to be known as "Sea Scouting" but
it is now the division of Exploring that is involved in boating,
seamanship, and other marine activities. Little has been done in
the past by amateurs in this field, but it requires little imagination
to envision the services amateur radio could perform.
Scouts of the U.S.A., visiting the Johnston Historical Museum
at the National Headquarters in New Brunswick, N. J., spoke
to brother Scouts in 17 countries and 43 of the United States,
over K2BFW, the Hq. station of the Boy's life Radio Club.
Trustee of K2BFW is W2GND, shown interviewing Scouts. K2BFW
had over 1500 c.w. and phone QSOs during the JOTA weekend.
- This event was organized 10 years ago out of the thought that
amateur radio might provide a vehicle for Scout to Scout communication
for that vast majority of Scouts who will never have an opportunity
to participate in the great National or World Jamborees. Of course,
in the process it will expose many youngsters to amateur radio as
an avocation and a service and to the general field of electronics.
The Ninth Jamboree, October 22-23, 1966, was a great success
in spite of its coinciding with a major DX contest. More than 3000
stations were known to have participated from 67 different countries.
U. S. participation, heretofore modest, showed a fantastic tenfold
jump over prior years with at least 1500 stations participating,
Through the layers of QRM, U.S. stations succeeded in having many
successful QSOs with other U. S. and Canadian stations and an occasional
DX "catch." Participants will long remember the beautiful evening
round table on the high end of 40 when Scouts from the east coast
were talking with brother Scouts in Canada, the midwest, and the
is the 60th anniversary of the Scouting movement and it will be
commemorated as the 12th World Jamboree convenes August 1-9 at Farragut,
Idaho. The World Jamboree will have its own station, K7WSJ, operative
during the entire period. Jamboree-On-The-Air will be the weekend
of August 5th and 6th. As before, the basic purpose of J.O.T.A.
will be to provide a medium for Scouts to talk to other Scouts wherever
they may be. If you're interested in serving Scouting, this event
is a "must." Make your plans now to have one or more local units
at your shack sometime during that period. Or arrange to take your
mobile rig in to your Council's Scout Camp and string some dipoles
from pine trees.
The Boy Scouts World Bureau report on 1966
J.O.T.A. suggests that the aim of the 1967, J.O.T.A. should be "A
WORLD-WIDE NETWORK OF SCOUT STATIONS IN 1967." Is this aim too ambitious
for amateurs and Scouts and Scouters to accomplish?
Explorer Post 1, King City, California 93930.