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
demonstrating 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
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."
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. As time permits, I will
be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
See all available
vintage QST articles.
Scouting and the Radio Amateur
The Year Round?
By 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 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 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, Austria.
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 far west.
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 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?
* Advisor, Explorer
Post 1, King City, California 93930.