Radios for Scouts (or the end of HAM radio?)
- Sorry for the subject line, but was just at Best Buy and ALL of the FRS
radio MFRS are now selling 5W (5 Mile) FRS/gmrs* radios. Notice the
"gmrs" in small print and the asterix which you have to search on all six
sides of the box to see in very tiny print (license required).
These are going for $99 a pair with all channels and CTCSS and 5 Watts.
And remember that there are GMRS repeaters in most places.. THus, WHO
NEEDS HAM RADIO when you can buy an HT with repeater coverage at office
depot or best buy? (Thank heavens we still have HF)
My personal response to this commercialization of WIRELESS began a few
months ago when I began taking a USGS topographical map to my kids SCOUTS
and SCHOOL Club meetings and getting the kids to put pins in the map to
identify their QTH. Soon it was clear that many if not most were
clustered well within a mile of each other. MOST already had "walkie
My objective here is to set up a "NET" time when they can call and find
others in their group on the air. By educating them FIRST before we begin
these nets, each kid will be assigned a "callsign". For my kids scout
troop it will be "995-AJ" or on initial call up, "This is Troop-995-AJ".
A combination of the troop number and the kids initials. For his school
radio club we are forming (Severn School) it will be "Severn-AJ"
We will practice calling and net operation in the clubs and at the
meetings before we do any ON-AIR operation. THus when NET time comes, we
will have an orderly group of kids that can use the radio properly.
IF YOU DONT TRAIN THEM FIRST, you will have bedlam! Kids want to make
noises and just yell into the radio. We must educate them first. Radios
can be valuable if people konw how to us them. As HAM radio operators we
must rise to this challenge or soon even FRS will be useless...
I stongly feel that getting them to use CALLSIGNS is the first BIG step:
TO give their FRS callsigns some significance and permanence and to
encourage them to use them, One of their first club projects is to
use a computer to print a QSL looking like card with their "callsign" on
it. When they begin to identify with that call, then I am certain we will
see them use them and be proud of them.
Then hook-line-and-sinker we reel them in to our local KIDS amateur radio
club... to upgrade... and get a real callsign...
P.S. By organizing a radio sub-group in each group that my kids are
involved with and other neighboring troops (all of which overlap back
into the same geographical area) soon we will have enough kids in the
area and on the air to achieve critical mass of being able to raise a
QSO without the organized NET. THIS is our farming grounds for future
HAM radio operators...
Many in HAM radio do not agree with this approach. But we have to do
de WB4APR, Bob
- Call me crazy but why not just have them get their Tech lic?Then I
think it would be alot more fun then family radio.I bought a family
radio just beacuse it was cheap and my gf and I can talk to each
other while I fish at a local lake.She uses the family radio I use my
dual band radio.I think the family radio are really a joke.
- On Fri, 30 Nov 2001 nickjmills@... wrote:
> Call me crazy but why not just have them get their Tech lic?Then IBecause it is more important to get them on the air first and teach them
> think it would be alot more fun then family radio.
good radio procedures (even if it is FRS). I have formed lots of kids
interest by brining a large USGS topo map to scout meetings and letting
the kids put pins on their QTH. Surprising, many live easily within a
mile of each other and can QSO with FRS.
I also just formed a club at my kids Middle school and got 20 kids signed
up to take an afternoon after school Radio Course. Again, first step will
be to get them on the map with pins and then participating in an FRS
on-air weekly night net. AFTER having spent a whole session talking about
procedures and use of callsigns.
Each kids homework assignment is to make a QSL card with his FRS callsign.
We assign them CALLS using their TROOP number and initials. For the
school, they use the school initials and grade. Thus my son's 6th grad
call is SS6AJB and his troop call is 995AJB. In order to make sure there
is a critical mass of people on the air at "net" time, its the same
channel for ALL these overlaping groups so that everyone will find someone
within a mile of their house.
Then after the newness of that wears off and they see the HAM HT demos,
then they will all want to upgrade to get greater range by becoming a HAM.
But it is imperitive that they get used to using CALLSIGNS always. This
is step 1.
The rest will follow...
de WB4APR, Bob