Promoting ham radio in scouts

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

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  1. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's how you get Scouts (or any youth) interested in ham radio: show them how slow and out of date texting is:

    MI0YLT likes this.
  2. MI0YLT

    MI0YLT Ham Member QRZ Page

    You could also tell them the short form texts they are using comes from CW.
    MI6PYL likes this.
  3. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Be realistic.
    You should not START with QRP.

    Operating QRP takes skills you seldom get from reading manuals and taking tests, it takes good propagation and if not (you need) an EXCELLENT antenna and most of all lots of patience.
    Besides , some hams cannot be bothered to dig your pipsqueak signal out of noise anyway.

    It won't do in "instant gratification society" wanting to see immediate results , especially with yutes.

    It is hard to promote simplicity - AKA CW - when you can have computer aided communication.
    Perhaps start with slow scan TV?
    I'll get out on the limb here - but kids are more computer savvy that an average ham.
    Impressing them , dumbing them down, with crystal controlled CW they will loose interest quickly and will probably run you out of town. I would.

    73 Shirley
  4. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Also consider who the scouts will be talking to. Would they rather communicate with adults they don't know in other countries or with their friends and peers. My gut says says the latter will win out.

    If that's the case then a few QRP sets in the hands of fellow scouts spread around a campground will have a much greater chance of holding their interest.

    The pitfall to avoid is to think what interests us as adults will interest them.
  5. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are you still looking for equipment?W5BIB is offering some basic level transmitters and receivers for just the cost of shipping:
  6. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Also consider who the scouts will be talking to."

    That alone dooms "just communicating" aspect of ham radio in today's world.
    Kids are taught from toddler age not to talk to strangers.
    Let's be honest - just reading mail on QRZ can give you idea about weirdos among us.

    I my view yutes should be guided along the technical aspects of ham radio and let them "grow into" yakking mode if they stick with it .

    And before some wise guy come back to say "and what are YOU doing for the cause?"
    Just bought two FireFly SDR kits in Houston swap meet, one for gramps and the other for "computer crazy" grandson. He is already making plans how to run it using Raspberry Pi!

    BTW he is a scout.
    73 Shirley
  7. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, they are fine talking to adults in other countries or different parts of the US. Part of that is having adults worth talking to, but that's usually no problem once they find out you have a group of Scouts at your end. They go out of their way to make it a worthwhile endeavor.

    After one JOTA event I sent out a QSL card to one station we had contacted. What came back was a pack of cards with each scouts name in the call field.

    The kids get it, they may seem jaded by their text messages and fancy phones, they understand this is something different.

    One thing, get them involved from the beginning. Don’t have them visit a setup station, get them involved in setting it up. Under supervision of course, let the erect the antenna, either a vertical with radials, or a dipole up in the trees. Connect the coax, even placing the radio on the table and plugging it in. I know these sound like simple tasks, but they are doing something, now they have a vested interest in how this setup performs. When operating, let them tune around looking for signals.

    It makes a big difference getting their hands in it.
    KD2ACO and N1BCG like this.
  8. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    At our JOTA station last year, there was a delay in getting the traditional JOTA station set up. I was there to counsel the merit badge, but I had a few minutes, so I quickly set up a QRP station outside, with the antenna consisting of a dipole hastily put in a tree with the apex at about 6 feet, and the ends touching the ground. In short, it was a pretty minimal station.

    The group that was gathered around at that time was Cub Scouts, so maybe they were more easily impressed than older scouts. But they did seem to be interested. There was some contest going on, and they did seem to be somewhat impressed to hear a bunch of beeps, followed by me telling them what state those beeps came from, and that the guy in that state heard my beeps.

    The few scouts who have shown some interest in radio, including one who got his license, seem to mostly appreciate the fact that they can bounce signals off the ionosphere and have them land in various places around the world. Most are uninterested, but a few of them are.
  9. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I keep wondering if Scouts would be more engaged if they knew how to use Morse Code to communicate "secretly" among themselves. I've found that kids become interested when they learn something they can use. Even using dot and dash hand signals can convey detailed messages silently.
  10. KA2CZU

    KA2CZU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I did a field day with my son's unit, and pulled in friends from the local club who were more than willing to come setup an entire station, with the scouts help, ran classes, did merit badges "in the field"... a full scout weekend.

    The best way to start is to target the JOTA or Field Day and team up with others that have equipment and are willing to help. It makes no sense to try and purchase gear for the scouts, unless you already have a core who are interested.

    Just my opinion and glad to hear you're trying to help out!

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