Re: [ScoutRadio] Not much luck...
I have been at a BSA camp every Thursday for the past five weeks. There are
two more weeks to go this camp season. Am QRV from 12:20 PM local till about
6:30 local. During the six hours, there are perhaps 30 minutes total with
the mike button pushed down. Most of my time is spent explaining ham radio,
telling how to get into the hobby, talking about Venturing Crew 73,
explaining the public service aspects of ham radio, listening to visitor's
stories, answering questions, etc.
It takes about 20 minutes to bring a Scout from zero understanding of ham
radio to making a contact, if all goes well. The odds are against us making
contact with other BSA camps, although we have on occasion. We are
especially happy to make contact with anybody who has ever had anything to
do with scouting. Sometimes we get lucky, like the time we spoke with an
adult who had some Philmont stories to recount. Earlier this year, we lucked
onto a 16 year old scout from NJ with a license who was trying for WAS. We
gave him Ohio. No big deal, but it sure made the boys happy. I put them all
on the air with the NJ Scout.
Camp antennas are not the best. Slopers and inverted V's are the general
rule, with just 100 watts. We don't have a 70 foot tower with a tribander
(yet!). Lots of what we do during the day is pure NVIS. Around suppertime,
when most scouts drift away, the good sigs from Europe start to come in.
That's when I kick back and take great pleasure working from a site with
very little power line QRM.
Am glad you had a good time with your camp radio experience. There are
plenty of interesting people in ham radio with stories to tell that will
engage the Scout groups.
73 de NX8J
We operated from Woodruff during the week of June 24-30 (we were in
Campsite 10, just up from the dining hall). While we made just over 200
contacts on or about the SCCP frequencies, we made no scout camp
contacts. I counted about 15 contacts with scouts/scouters who were
operating from their home QTH, but no scout camp contacts. So our
experience was not so different from yours. Most of our contacts were
up and down the East Coast, and into the Midwest. A few contacts on 20
were into G and OZ land. The majority of contacts were on 40m, with a
good number on 20m as well. We also made 22 contacts on 80m. We were
running an FT-857D on an AGM battery, with a 100+' doublet strung
between two trees at about 40'.
We will try again next year!