The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the development of Radio both began at the beginning of the twentieth
century and share a common public service ethic. Wireless Merit Badge was one of the earliest BSA merit badges
when established in 1919 and changed to it's current name in 1923.
Merit badges give Scouts the opportunity to explore a hobby or vocation to see if it interests them. They are not
designed to make them proficient in an area. We should not expect Scouts who complete Radio Merit Badge to be fully licensed
hams, any more than we expect those who complete Engineering Merit Badge to be able to construct a railroad bridge.
However, Radio Merit Badge is a natural lead in to a Technician License prep course.
The target audience will be young men aged 12 to 15 who may or may not be terribly interested in radio, but are
interested in earning a badge to advance in Scouting. In order to give each student attention, a class size of ten
or less is recommended to start, but can be a bit larger if there are sufficient instructors.
While every boy is different,
as a rule they like adventure, excitement, activity and learning things. Their attention span is short, so no topic should
be more than twenty minutes. Breaking things up between mental activities, such as learning Q signals, and physical activities,
such as hunting a hidden transmitter maintains interest. Remember that this is our opportunity to sell radio as
An obvious question is "what about Girl Scouts? " While there's no reason the course couldn't be co-ed, the US
Girl Scout program does not currently have a radio oriented badge. One solution is for Girl Scout leaders who are hams
is to petition their local GSUSA Council to create a "council own" Radio proficiency badge. The techniques for doing
this can be found from your local Girl Scout Council.
Merit Badge Requirements