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 straight."
July 1967 QST
These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the
ARRL's QST magazine. Here is a list of the
QST articles I have already posted. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
See all available
vintage QST articles.
Scouting and the Radio Amateur
Jamboree-on-The-Air The Year Round?
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 18.
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
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.
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.
Jamboree-On-The-Air - 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
1967 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
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?
* Advisor, Explorer Post
1, King City, California 93930.