I am a Ham Radio Operator (K7RUB) and have used Ham Radio to help with a Tiger Go-See-It during my second year as Tiger Den Leader.
The boys needed fullfill the Communication part, but I just could not get them to a Radio or TV Station and even a Newspaper. So, I had to bring it to them. I used my hand-held radio to connect with another friend across town. After about 15 minutes of explaining what Ham Radio is, we made contact and the boys got to talk over the radio.
So, ever since then I have been working to bring Ham Radio to the Pack. I wrote about it March of 2010. I also had a plan about helping the Pack or members of the Pack the International Activity Badge. However, now it is getting close again to JOTA/JOTI and I am again working several angles to make it happen for those in the Pack to take part of. My hope is to find out before our calendar goes out for the year at Join Night.
What I will say about Ham Radio and Scouts, is it’s a great skill to have to compliment the “Be Prepared” philosophy. There is a Merit Badge (ARRL site)for it (BSA site), and even the Signaling MB was brought back. While a Scout might know First Aid, Emergency Preparedness and other skills, one major one is Communication during Emergencies. To me, having this skill and then taking and passing the FCC Technician License. It is a $10 test and the “Old Hams” love to see kids test through. I studied for about 3-4 weeks before I took my first test. I passed. Yes, I bought the books, but I did the online exam quizzes a lot. (This is one site, but I cannot find the one I used all the time….) I originally got my Ham License because of James Kim.
I figure that if your in an area that your hiking/camping and can at lest program in all the repeater stations that you might be able to hit, your closer to help than if you did not have one. The basic license of Technician allows this level of transmitting. You do not need a license to own a radio and listen. Just to transmit. However, in any emergency that threatens life, you can by FCC Rules & Law use any radio to transmit for help. You do not need to be licensed. The FCC allows this because, it’s an emergency.
Once I move over to Boy Scouts, I will become a Radio Merit Badge Counselor. If there is not a Radio MBC within your Troop or District, I would highly look into it. It would be a good skill and tool to have. The radios can be very inexpensive. I would also check with your local Ham Radio Club to see what they can offer as well.
In Scouting, we end emails and posts with “Yours in Scouting”. In Ham Radio we end it with 73. It’s Morse Code for “Best Reguards”.
Yours in Scouting, 73