The 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
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 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 (visit ARRL
for info). All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Scouting and the Radio Amateur
Jamboree-on-The-Air The Year Round?
By Edward A. Gribi, Jr., * WB6IZF
Scouts operate at LA1O, Oslo Technical School, Norway
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.
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.
Scouts operating from the high school station near Salzburg,
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Posted November 1, 2021
(updated from original post on 6/4/2013)