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RE: [ScoutRadio] Re: Promoting Amateur Radio to Scout Leaders and Parents

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  • J. Gordon Beattie, Jr., W2TTT
    Hi Folks! Once you get passed the What is Amateur Radio? and How do you do it? questions of Scouts, parents and leaders, you are left with the cost issue
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 17, 2005
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      Hi Folks!

      Once you get passed the “What is Amateur Radio?” and “How do you do it?” questions of Scouts, parents and leaders, you are left with the “cost issue” which in these days of $500 computers and $250 iPods ring a bit shallow with me.


      So I decided to take a look at Amateur Radio from the perspective of a  Scouter, Parent, and with the help of my Scouts, the Scout, to see how “enlightened self-interest” could be used as a motivational tool for getting kids involved in Amateur Radio or at least plant the seeds of knowledge of the subject in them.


      Scouts and their parents often look at Advancement as the key element of Scouting.  This hurts me to say it, but with human nature being what it is, it should not be ignored. Merit Badges are something to consider when developing a Troop interest in Amateur Radio.  You can get kids to do good stuff if they see something (i. e. a Merit Badge) in it for them.  There are about 20+ Merit Badges which have cross-over skills derived from, or used in Amateur Radio.  They range from the academic (and Eagle-required) badges of Citizenship in the Nation and World to Pioneering and Orienteering.   Space Exploration and Astronomy have cross-over skills and concepts and of course, the Electricity, Electronics and Radio Merit Badges are complementary to the Scouting programme.  The reality is that there are many more and provide skill enhancement and reinforcement of the material to the Scouts.


      Second, you want to instill the skills and interest in serving others into your Scouts and perhaps into their families.  Amateur Radio has numerous opportunities for service though the National Traffic System as discussed here, Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, the Military Affiliate Radio System, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and various relief organizations run by the Methodists, Baptists, Catholics and others.   There are additional opportunities for providing communications on a routine basis through walk-a-thons, bike tours and the like run by numerous charities.  Kids, licensed or not, love to get involved in these events.  Quickly they see that what they are doing is important and exciting and instills the value of service to others in our young people.


      Our Troop’s planning conference last year was driven by the Scouts’ interest in developing a  “first responder” type of capability.  Two of our Scouts had recently completed their EMT training and several had expressed some interest in working or riding in charity bike tours.  We also had an unusual moment in the Troop’s age and academic profile where we had bright younger Scouts who could keep up (and sometimes exceed) the academic level of our older Scouts.


      As a background point, our Troop is a year-round tent camping Troop with a significant amount of traditional high adventure skill development (hiking, camping, backpacking, Leave No Trace) going on for Scouts of all ages.  Coolers are not a standard piece of equipment for most trips and the kids really love it.  We also make up for the lighter weight on the camping equipment side, and bring cool programme items ranging from Surveying equipment to Amateur Radio equipment.


      Our Troop embarqued on a multi-month Amateur Radio licensing course wherein the Scouts spent a little over an hour for about three months worth of meetings in the study of the materials and doing activities that reinforced and met the requirements for Electricity, Electronics and Radio Merit Badges.  We did this for about three out of five meetings and ended up with a bunch of  completed Blue Cards and three new hams!  This was successful because over half the instructors came from the Fair Lawn Radio Club and the Bergen Amateur Radio Association.  Their involvement made for a change in atmosphere because the boys had new faces in front of them, and not Mr. Beattie going “quack quack” all the time and once again.  There was an air of excitement and seriousness that made for the success.


      More boys are in the process of completing their licensing preparations and there is continuing excitement for Amateur Radio because now we have Scouts using their Amateur Radio equipment for everything from Troop logistics, to socializing, to the exploration of newer technologies like Amateur Radio use of high-power WiFi.  As we head toward our planning conference, there is some discussion of having the Troop work a Bike Tour as a service project, and possibly doing JOTA  and Field Day on our own or with a radio club.


      For a recent Round Table, I prepared a talk on this subject and have included the text at the end of this message.  It needs to be updated as many Scouts and Scouters have made additional suggestions which I have not yet had a chance to add.




      73 & YIS!

      Gordon Beattie 



      SM T139, Bergenfield, NJ

      SM T316, National Jamboree 2001

      Crew Advisor, Philmont 2000, 2004

      WoodBadge NE-II 88…I used to be a Bobwhite…


      Why Amateur Radio For Your Troop Program?


      Ask yourself if there was a program outline that could enhance:

      ·        First Class Skills

      ·        Service to Others

      ·        Troop Logistics

      ·        Troop Esprit de Corps, and

      ·        Merit Badges…NO... LOTS OF MERIT BADGES,


      and provide different learning experiences using

      ·        Auditory

      ·        Visual

      ·        Written, and

      ·        Hands-on skills using


      exciting activities for Troop and Patrol Meetings or Outings,

      wouldn’t you want to do it?


      Well, Amateur Radio has these features and you can do this in your Troop.


      Specific benefits:

      • First Class Skills need to be sharp to assemble antennas and supports using your knots, be ready with an expansion of your “Ten Essentials” in case your help is needed on short notice, gain an appreciation for National and Local government and how they function.


      • Using radio equipment you can provide communications to others at Charity Bike Tours and Walk-a-thons, and in service to those in need such as the Red Cross.


      • Use radio equipment to improve the coordination of Troop and Patrol Activities


      • Use the radio licensing process as a goal for each Scout to further bind them to the group through on-the-air casual communications 


      • The training course and subsequent use of the equipment also enhances elements of the following Merit Badges:  Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Climbing and Rappelling, Computers, Energy, First Aid, Electricity, Electronics, Emergency Preparedness, Orienteering, Pioneering, Plumbing, Radio, Space Exploration, Surveying, Weather, (alas the now retired Signaling MB, too!)


      • YES! THAT’S 17 + 1 ! ! ! !


      Why Amateur Radio For Your Troop Program?


      How do you get it done?

      ·        Contact a local Amateur Radio Club and ask for their help

      ·        Have someone who knows something about the subject…

      o       OJT is OK…just stay 1 chapter ahead! J

      ·        Get video course materials – Gordon West is pretty good

      ·        Go to a class at a Community School, Amateur Radio Event or Gordon West School


      How do you get on the air?

      ·        Depending on interests you might buy a VHF/UHF radio or an HF/VHF/UHF radio

      ·        Build your antennas – kids love to play with stuff they made

      ·        Build some of your training tools – Even if they aren’t interested in Morse Code, kids love to tinker & play games with practice oscillators that can be built for < $10.





      A compilation of Training Resources

      Contact Gordon Beattie at 201.314.6964 or email to w2ttt@...


      American Radio Relay League (Amateur Radio’s National Organization

      Publication: “Now Your Talking”  




      Callsign Lookups and other Licensing Information



      Fair Lawn Amateur Radio Club



      Bergen Amateur Radio Association



      10/70 Repeater Association




      From: ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Gary Wilson
      Sent: Saturday, July 16, 2005 1:46 PM
      To: ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [ScoutRadio] Re: Promoting Amateur Radio to Scout Leaders and Parents


      --- In ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com, kimbare <kimbare@h...> wrote:
      > I am not sure exactly what k2gw was asking

      My post was a suggestion that Ham radio operators in other states
      send a similar e-mail to their own area's Boy Scout Leader mailing
      lists so parents and relatives have an easy way to generate NTS
      messages to the Scouts.

      As was pointed out, most parents don't even know about Amateur
      Radio.  By providing them with an e-mail address of a traffic
      handler and a sample type of message, the traffic handler can easily
      convert them into NTS format and send them on their way. 

      I limited myself to the CNJ Council as I don't know if I could
      really handle the entire country myself.  If you want to send a
      similar e-mail to the mailing lists of any or all of the other five
      BSA councils in NJ, it would be great.


      Gary, K2GW

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