Radio Merit Badge Day
Planning Considerations
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Planning a Radio Merit Badge Event

Staffing

A minimum of three knowledgeable hams are needed, one of whom is registered BSA Radio Merit Badge Counselor. All should be willing to work with teenage boys, enthusiastic and knowledgeable in basic radio.

While other hams can instruct, the actual signature on the Scout's merit badge application card must be by an approved BSA Radio Merit Badge Counselor. Counselors must be registered and approved by their local BSA district or council. Therefore, a BSA Merit Badge Counselor must be identified and present during the one-day event to sign the boy's merit badge cards.

One way to do this is to ask your local council for the names of local Radio Merit Badge Counselors. Another is to post a message in your local Amateur Radio club  newsletter to ask them to identify themselves. Both methods should be used.

Becoming a Radio Merit Badge Counselor

More Radio Merit Badge Counselors are always needed. The duties aren't much more than running this event once a year. Hams wishing to register as counselors should contact their local BSA Council office. Phone numbers are available in your local white pages or on the Internet at www.bsa.scouting.org.

Individuals who wish to serve as merit badge counselors should submit the BSA Merit Badge Counselor Information form (No. 34405) and an adult leadership application (No. 28-501) to the local council service center. (Both forms can be downloaded at www.scouting.org/forms.)

Merit badge counselors must be at least 18 years old, proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation or avocation, able to work with Scout-age boys, and registered with BSA.

Counselors must agree to follow the requirements of the merit badge, making no deletions or additions, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts; have a Scout and his buddy present at all instructional sessions; and renew their registration annually to continue as a merit badge counselor.

Facilities

The best location for the class would be a radio club that has a classroom and shack. However, in many cases, local hams who are adept at portable operations can arrange a ham station at a classroom facility.  Consider a science museum that has other electronics exhibits.
 
If you want to run a large event for up to sixty Scouts, you'll need three classrooms (one large enough for all 60) and room for three radio stations.  The boys are divided into 4 patrols and rotate through the three classrooms (where the instructors teach their module 4 times) and on air stations.  It requires keeping to a tight schedule, but it does work.

Having a VHF station as well as an HF station will ensure that boys get to make their on the air contact even if propagation is poor.  Arrange to have some hams standing by on local repeaters to talk to the boys. 

Summer Camp

The course can also be run at a summer camp as one hour classes over three days or evenings.  Scouts also make appointments with the counselor as buddies to make their on the air contacts sometime during the week.  This avoids the "large group just watching someone else talk" issue.

Administration

A flyer advertising the course should be distributed about three months in advance. Scouts pre-register a month in advance and are instructed to read the Merit Badge pamphlet and to start work on their chart of the electromagentic spectrum as this takes the longest to do in a classroom setting .

Student Workbook

It's optional, but a student workbook for Radio Merit Badge for each student makes it easier for your students to complete the badge. Student workbooks that follow the three class structure and PowerPoint slides can be found on this site and in the files area of ScoutRadio on Yahoo groups.
 
Here's a link to another simple workbook based on the requirements the Adobe PDF document.

Radio MB Student Notebook in Adobe PDF

Finances

Little expense is incurred in offering the course.

To encourage participation, the course should normally be offered without charge to the Scouts.  If a small registration fee is used to ensure attendance, consider refunding it, crediting it towards dues in your organization or as a credit to a Technican License study guide for those Scouts who complete the badge.

Logistics and Checklists

Radio Merit Badge Day