Radio Merit Badge

May 11, 2009

Radio Merit Badge

Volunteers from three counties in our area organized a Radio Merit Badge workshop Saturday for Scouts from several troops. Scouts learned the basics of amateur radio and wireless communications, how Scouts and amateur radio operators used to have to know Morse Code, and the best way to raise a CQ on a ham radio.  They went on a fox hunt and talked to some friendly operators over the air.

Radio merit badge offeres 3 options:  amateur or ham radio, broadcast radio, or shortwave listening.  Our Council summer camp offers the broadcast radio-option, which is quite popular with the Scouts.  However, we brought in a sheriff’s deputy to demo his mobile radio setup during Jamboree-On-The-Air (JOTA) and several of our guys expressed interest.  This workshop gave them a chance to engage in something a bit more active and practical.  It would certainly fit right in to a search and rescue camp-o-ree or weekend exercise.

The most difficult part of the workshop, at lest for the younger scouts, was the electronics.  The badge requires some basic understanding of radio waves and electronic circuitry.  And be sure to double-check the merit badge requirements, as they changed quite a bit for 2009.

Old Civil Defence logo

The merit badge counselor / workshop organizer volunteers with a local county emergency management office for disaster-related communications.  Other instructors included a police officer, a weather watcher, and a local retired Scouter.  The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) had extensive information on ham radio, as a hobby or profession.  Your emergency management office (check with the County) could be a good source of radio merit badge counselors, in addition of course to the Eagle-required Emergency Preparedness merit badge.  Give ’em a call or drop an email, by land-line or wireless.

Be prepared.


p.s. My Science teacher at Agassiz Junior High ran a ham shack in his classroom.  I never took the license test, but I’ve always remembered that world of adventure over the air.


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