Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
- Sent to:
This e-mail was sent to me after I put out "QST" on several Scouting News
Groups. See if there is anything in it that inspires you to look at Amateur
recruitment, a little differently. There is one callsign in here that
should interest some of you APRS fans... He's a Scouter (Adult Scout
One of my friends in Tullahoma, TN, Terry Bartholomew, NQ4Y, sent me
your name & email address. He & his club own a VHF repeater about 2
miles from our Council's camp in Grundy county, & they have helped us a
great deal to get some scouting and ham radio stuff going together, even
though he and the other hams in his club are not active scout volunteers
otherwise. Terry thought you and I might exchange notes and get some
scouting/ham radio ideas from one another.
BTW, we have some Troops from Florida escape the summer heat each year
and come to our council Camp Skymont. It's in a beautiful rural county
high on a mountain plateau, with hottest summer day temps of around
75-85 degrees. Our Troop favorite summer outing is our Whitewater
overnighter on the Hiwassee National Scenic River, with water temp about
60-65 degrees on the hottest summer day. "Refreshing" when you turn
your canoe over!
I'll copy below a message I sent last week, which sort-of re-caps 3
areas of things we've done in the past few months to further the ham
hobby in scouting. Maybe they'll give you some ideas. I'd like to hear
of other types of things that maybe you'all have done with the 2
hobbies, if/when you want to reply, at your leisure, of course.
Here's a little bit about my family. My son is age 15 and a Life Scout,
and got his KD4JGP license when he was 8 years old, before he started in
scouting at age 11. We both, (and my wife), hold tech licenses, and
we're not too active with local club activities, but use VHF & UHF
mostly on weekends. I'm a retired safety engineer, retired for health
reasons after a heart attack, limited in physical stamina. However, I
hope to go to Philmont this summer to the H&S conference in week #7,
never been to Philmont before. Do you happen to know if there's a
repeater which is close enough to be used there?
Anyway, Jon, we'd be glad to hear what you guys do with the 2 hobbies.
YIS, Jack Wright, KC4ZEK.
Subject: Your "Ham Radio and scouting" posts
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 07:08:08 -0400
From: Jack & John Wright <jwright@...>
To: ray@..., bruninga@...
Your posts of Apr. 25 and 26 were fwd. to me by local NQ4Y, Terry, who
apparently subscribes to whatever lists they were on. Please feel free
to re-post any of this reply to those lists, it might spread ideas.
YES, we've combined scouting and ham radio in Chattanooga, TN, in at
least 3 areas. I'll try to be brief after the FRS ideas below.
FRS and scouting:
I had not even thought of the positive action angle we should take on
this! A big "thank you" to Ray Vaughan, from Onelist, for his wisdom.
Last summer was the first year that a few Troops coming to our local
Council Camp Skymont had & used some FRS. I'll bet it's true
nationwide. Our camp does maybe 400 campers/week, X 7 weeks. Now with
normal proliferation, we should expect this coming summer that virtually
_Every_ traveling BSA Troop will have at least 1 kid/adult with an FRS,
some with many. What a positive fun/safety factor, if we recognize and
capitalize on it!? I'll bet the camp scout shop could even sell a few
to adults, during camp!
I had planned to post a large "Radio Commo" info sheet at our Camp
check-in building, listing local 2M/440 repeaters, tones, autopatch
codes, weather/other nets & times, etc. so that visiting ham
scouts/scoutmasters could get their warm-fuzzy radio feeling. This
could even extend to marketing for next year, 'cause some might return
to our camp just because we "do radio".
Now, I see that FRS coordinating info should be at the top of the
sheet! Like you said, Bob, Channel #1, tone #1 for a Troop-to-Troop
camp net, or emergencies. (Uh-Oh, now we may have to outfit a camp
staffer with an FRS to monitor 24/7, in addition to our camp VHF system,
which has multiple bases) But thank you both for the ideas.
1. Ham classes for scouts:
We did it last year, in my son's Troop. It started with a week-long "50
Miler" hike on the Appalachian Trail, when 2 adults and my son carried
HTs. They hiked in 2 groups, stayed in touch, and we talked to them @
noon & 8PM, over 200 miles away, through 3 linked repeaters. Called
local moms at home, reporting they were still alive. Enough were
"Wowed" by this, to generate a 7-week class of 7 adults and 9 boys. 5
adults and 3 boys passed Tech, but only 4 of these bought HTs, and use
them occasionally. Gordon West has taught classes of over 100 scouts in
Previous to this, our Council had about 16 adult volunteer hams (incl. 3
Scoutmasters, the Scout Executive, & 2 board members), and 1 scout ham
(my son). Now, we total about 20 adults and 5 scouts, that I know of.
We've designated a local "Boy Scout" repeater, 443.15MHz, and are
working on a link to Camp, about 70 radio miles from Chatta. in a rural
county. I hope this will encourage others to do the same.
2. Scouting, whitewater canoeing, & ham radio:
We have a popular scouting program, where the Council provides 12 ww
canoes, and any Troop can use them on the mountain rivers around here.
Us hams have methods of putting HTs in small zip-lock bags and mounting
them up on the shoulders of our PFDs. Our most popular river, the
Hiwassee, has a 3-mile stretch that is only accessible by trail, so we
use the ham freqs for coordination and an extra safety factor. Combine
your hobbies of whitewater, scouting, and ham radio!
3. APRS and Scouting!:
As far as we can tell, last Feb. we were the first to put several
trackers on hiking scouts. We had a Camporee at our Camp Skymont Feb.
20 & 21, '99, and the theme was Orienteering. Groups of 2 to 5 scouts
ran six O. courses, up to about 5 miles long. We digitized the topo
trail maps, with overlaid course checkpoints & instructions for each
team, on each course.
We enlisted the aid of our local APRS expert, Doug, W4LAW, some of his
good friends, and a few other local APRS-enabled hams. We put together
about 5 trackers consisting of Kenwood TH-D7s+various GPSs. Had a
portable digi on a 30' pole outside, and receiver/computer with large
monitor in the Dining Hall HQ. We re-played the track of each team when
they checked back in. Talk about scouts with eyes bugged out! We saw
them back-track when they missed a check-point, and even saw one become
"lost". The scouts/adults learned a lot, but we learned the most about
how, and how not to do this.
There are digital pix if anybody needs proof. We were, of course, seen
around the world, through the internet, from the woods of Grundy Co.
TN. It "Wowed" a lot of people, but we didn't blow our horn too far and
Feel free to copy and re-post any of the above. In the Scout Spirit,
let's spread these ideas around.
Jack Wright, KC4ZEK, jwright@...
Troop 30 Committee Member
Council H&S Committee member
Council Whitewater Committee founder & member
Silver Beaver '98
Thanks for that e-mail Jack...
Well I don't know about you all, but I am PUMPED! These two guys are moving
and shaking and are making it happen.
Each day we are getting closer to making it a reality here too. I have the
new hub antenna here at the house, and Matt (KA9RIX) in Ft. Myers, is
building us a new pair of repeater radio's. Dan (W4BNC) just dropped a
Grand on a new controller. We've gotten reports that Scouts are testing
again this month (trying to be the winner of one of ten new 2 meter
radio's). Summer camp is just around the corner. We made some money at the
Hamfest the other day. There will be no lightening this season.
Yours in Scouting & Amateur Radio
Jon Pearl W4ABC
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