Radio Merit Badge Day
Radio Merit Badge at Summer Camp
Why Hams Are Needed!
Boy Scouts and Radio
Merit Badge Requirements
Presentation Materials
Suggested Event Activities
Planning Considerations
Logistics and Checklists
Publicity and Scheduling
Sample Event Publicity Flyer
Hints and Cautions
Suggested Timetable
Radio Merit Badge at Summer Camp
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Help get Radio Merit Badge offered at your Scout Camp

Scouts earn many of their merit badges at summer camp, so getting a Radio Merit Badge program established at your Boy Scout Council’s camp is also essential. 


Of course, the goal to strive for is a permanent ham shack at the camp and a licensed ham on the staff as a merit badge counselor. But you may have to start small so let’s slice the problem into manageable parts.


Establishing a Radio Merit Badge counselor at summer camp


If you look carefully at the requirements, you’ll see that a licensed ham is only needed for the control operator of the on the air contact.  And while a long distance HF contact is best for generating excitement, the on the air contact can be as simple as a two meter conversation across the camp or on the local repeater and meet the requirement.


So the person teaching Radio Merit Badge at the camp doesn’t have to be a ham.  Many camps now have science and technology programs, so Radio Merit Badge is a natural fit there.


Approach your local council and ask that they offer Radio Merit Badge at their camp.  Work with them and assure them that the ham community will help them.  Show them the instructional materials here.  Offer to help a staff member get their license.  If your club can afford it, you might offer to make a contribution to the camp if they do this.


Making the on the air contacts.


Assume that the scouts are being taught by a staff member who is not a ham.  The scouts will need to make an on the air contact sometime during their week at camp to finish the badge.   So work up a schedule of local hams that will drive to the camp after work to let the kids talk on their mobile or portable rigs.  Most camps only operate for 6-8 weeks in the summer, so a few hams can easily divide this among them.  Encourage all hams attending the camp as leaders or Scouts to bring their rigs with them as well.


Establishing a camp ham shack


Having a permanent ham station at the camp establishes a presence and reminds everyone about Radio Merit Badge.  It provides a place for visiting hams to offer the badge or on the air contacts with a minimum of fuss.  Here’s what’s needed in order of importance.


1. Location – First you need to identify a location.  The best is a lockable room or building, preferbly right in the busiest part of camp.   But even a corner of a dining hall or lodge used for other purposes is fine to start. 


2.  Antennas – Even if you don’t have equipment, having a permanent antenna and feedline allows visiting hams to quickly connect their own rigs and get on the air.  Consider a multiband HF dipole and a 2 meter vertical to start as antennas that will work without a tuner with any rig.  The initial goal is just getting the Scouts to talk to someone, not win the WPX contest, so think simple to start.


3 Equipment - Once a lockable cabinet or room has been found, ask for donations of used working equipment.  Begin with an HF transceiver, two meter rig, and power supply.  Keep it simple for a visiting ham to quickly understand.  Use Anderson Power Poles on your 12VDC connections to ease set up and allow a visiting ham to easily substitute their own rig if they’re more comfortable with it.


4.  Documentation - A station binder showing how to connect and disconnect everything is essential.  Include copies of the equipment manuals as well.  

To help you get a permanent station established, loaner HF equipment is available for your initial year of summer camp . See for more details

Link to the BSA National Radio Scouting Committee HF Station Loan Program

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