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  • Jeff Burns
    I would like to make a few comments about radio at summer camp. I have about 15 years active in Scouting and only started in amateur radio after I gave up my
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2002
      I would like to make a few comments about radio at summer camp.

      I have about 15 years active in Scouting and only started in amateur radio
      after I gave up my Scoutmaster position. If I were headed to summer camp
      this year I would definitely take my HT, but my portable HF station might
      get left at home. Adults at camp are often very busy. The last time I was at
      camp it was all I could do to ensure the health and safety of the troop.
      Admittedly, that week had extraordinarily bad weather conditions. New
      leaders especially should take advantage of the opportunity to learn all
      they can about scouting and get certifications such as Safety Afloat and BSA
      Lifeguard. So for any Hams out there that are new to Scouting, do not look
      at Scout Camp as your chance to catch up on your radio hobby. There is lots
      of non-radio stuff you should be doing at camp.

      If you are sure you will have extra time at camp go ahead and take a radio.
      Teaching the Radio Merit badge would be great, and should be well received
      by the camp staff. A short radio demonstration would also be good. A
      Scoutmasters talk about communications tools for scouts could be very
      informative to other leaders, and could be prepared before camp.

      The HAM RADIO AT CAMP document is good. It is important that Amateur radio
      not be banned from scout camps. I suggest deleting everything from "This is
      not to say that FRS " to the end. This stuff may be more controversial, and
      detract from the main purpose of seeing that HAM radio is allowed at camp.


      When I first saw Bob's suggestion I read them one time. After a short time I
      could not remember any of the details. As the discussion went on in this
      group I had to go back and reread the proposal. This tells me that the plan
      is too complicated. Scouters have way too much to do to study a radio
      operating procedure. If a plan is going to work it must be very simple.

      The plan also does not allow for interoperability with GMRS. GMRS license
      holders are allowed to communicate with FRS on the 7 shared frequencies.
      Therefore, scouts should be encouraged to use FRS channels 1-7. Discouraging
      the use of tones is good.

      One of the most likely reasons for FRS being restricted at a scout camp is
      that the camp is trying to use them for a communications tool. Obviously,
      having lots of scouts using the radios as toys would create unacceptable QRM
      for the camp staff. The cure for this is to get the camp a good licensed
      radio system. Hams can help with this.
      The local scout camp tried both FRS and CB and found both inadequate. After
      my local radio club sponsored a large JOTA event last year the council
      approached one of the hams for help. The camp now has a very nice VHF
      repeater system. That is one camp that will probably not have problems with

      Radio Chit
      The Tot 'n Chit, Fireman Chit, and Stove Chit are all used to control access
      to tools or activities that have great potential for bodily harm. Radios do
      not fit this category. I never used the Fireman or Stove Chit. Instead I
      just dealt with the occasional problems on a case by case basis. It always
      worked for me. However, some Scouters like lots of paperwork, and have
      enough help to keep track of it. For them a Radio Chit might be a good idea.

      Jeff Burns
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