Promoting ham radio in scouts

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by W2PSK, Dec 10, 2016.

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  1. W2PSK

    W2PSK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I hope it's ok to post this here. If it's some sort of rules violation, I apologize. I don't post in these forums too often so I may have missed the rules. I have set up a GoFundMe page to try to raise funds to purchase amateur radio equipment for the local Boy Scout troop and I wanted to present it here for anyone that may wish to help us out. The page is here: and this is the content of the page:

    I am the scoutmaster for Boy Scout troop 83 in South River, NJ. I am also an Amateur Radio Operator (W2PSK). I want to bring the world of amateur radio to my scouts. To do that, we need a portable radio, antenna and associated accessories. I don't have the money to personally purchase these items and the troop doesn't have the extra money to spend on it.

    I would like to purchase modest equipment that can be used to get us on the air from our campsites. This includes a YouKits TJ2B portable HF SSB radio: as well as two dipole antennas for 20 meters and 40 meters. I will also need to purchase coaxial cable for the antennas and possibly a second rechargable battery pack.

    Amateur radio is an integral part of the BSA experience. There is a yearly event for the BSA and amateur radio called the Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) in which scouts from around the world take to the airwaves to learn about radios and talk to other scouts. There's a radio merit badge as well as an amateur radio patch you can wear on your uniform if you are a licensed operator. Adult leaders can even earn the "Amateur Radio Service to Scouting Award".

    Will you help me achieve my goal of bringing amateur radio to the troop? Any equipment purchased with these funds will remain the property of Troop 83 and will be in control of a licensed operator at all times.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
  2. WX5DC

    WX5DC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a TJ5A that I would part with at a low price for such a cause. I am a Scouting alumnus, and an Eagle.

    Don N4RTB
  3. W2PSK

    W2PSK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the offer, but I have no funds to put towards this. Anything donated will become property of the troop. If I had the extra cash, I'd go ahead and buy a new QRP rig and a dipole but I'm not sure my wife would agree that is an acceptable expenditure. :)
  4. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here are two additional possibilities...

    - Have the scouts build a Morse Code set with a battery, piezo buzzer, and a key crafted from a block of wood, screws, and a strip of metal. The appeal is that they can communicate in code with a set they built (you can't build an iPhone) ;-) Two of these connected via a long wire between tents can be fun, particularly if they are talking about things they think are important, such as "someone's coming!"

    - Is there an inexpensive MCW transmitter kit they can make? I'm thinking something that uses a dual oscillator chip to generate a tone modulated 530 kHz signal that can be picked up on a nearby AM radio. Two of these sets and they're communicating wirelessly!

    My guess is that the biggest challenge is to earn and maintain their interest. We as amateurs tend to think ham radio is "the bees knees" so everyone else should too, but your scouts are going to need to recognize a benefit that means something to them.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  5. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  6. KG7YTS

    KG7YTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am not sure how scouts work, but you may be able to get funding from a main BSA headquarters.
  7. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    BSA headquarters does not fund units. Council or District cannot supply funds either. Troops are self supporting or receive help from their sponsoring organizations.

    Andrew, I would not recommend that radio for introduction to ham radio. QRP SSB is not the place to start. For $300 you can find something used and using the scouting angle might get a reduced price.
    MI0YLT likes this.
  8. KG7YTS

    KG7YTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    What makes it not a good place to start? Just out of curiosity? I am starting with one of those qrp transceivers.
  9. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you want to get somebody else interested about amateur radio, in this case showing Scouts how it works, you want to make a lot of contacts. It's easier to do that if you are not restricted by low power. I've done a few JOTA events, and the boys were excited to talk to other stations including Europe. We were using 100W. If they see you trying and having difficulty completing contacts, they will lose interest fast. You need positive outcomes to keep them.

    QRP can be fun. If you want to start that way, go for it. You only have to keep yourself happy, not a group of 12 year olds.
    MI0YLT likes this.
  10. WF4W

    WF4W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think it's a great idea - but one that should be made possible by the scouts and their families. My son is only in cub scouts so the interest isnt quite there although they all love their FRS talkies :)

    If I were you, I'd ask your local club for assistance but I'm sure the club's 'jurisdiction' overlaps several packs so they may not be able to provide dedicated equipment

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