Area Scouts Learn about Amateur Radio

It is that time of the year again. The days are getting shorter, leaves are turning, fall and winter ham projects await, and Scouts gather for their October events.

Scout Leaders and MCWA members Doug Tucker (KD9PQI) and Bill Wacaser (KD9GIU) hosted a special Scouting event on October 18th to coincide with the annual Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA). The event was held at the Crystal Lake Nature Center and followed strict COVID-19 safety procedures, which included a limit on attendees, use of hand sanitizer, mask wearing at all times by everyone, and observing social distancing practices.

KB3LKM and two scouts
Desmond (KB3LKM) and two scouts at the portable HF station

After an interactive and engaging presentation and Q&A, the scouts were broken into groups of two and then visited five exploration areas that showcased various aspects of amateur radio.

Six meter SSB communications:  Scouts were able to get on the air and make contacts on 6m facilitated by John Dewey (KA9CAR). John was assisted by remote operators Pierre Berube (K9EYE), Dean Hettel (WD9FOO), Dennis Ryan (KA9PUC) and Mike Salak (KC9Q).

Two meter FM communications:  Gary Dembski (W9GD) guided the scouts as they reached out to contact local amateurs, which included Pierre Berube (K9EYE), Rob Fesus (KD9KZW), Mike Salak (KC9Q), Jen Van Zieleghem (KD9FMJ) and Dave Whaley (NT9E).  

Amateur Radio and the Internet: Ralph Iden (WB9ICF) demonstrated how the Internet complements amateur radio operations. The scouts learned about APRS, DMR, PSKReporter and OpenWebRx.

Portable HF Operations:  Desmond Sharpe (KB3LKM) showcased his QRP transceiver running off of a battery, thus showing how amateur radio can be used in the field.

AllStarLink: Dave Holmgren (K9AT) brought his ClearNode hotspot and demonstrated how it is possible to communicate not only locally, but reach out and converse with amateurs around the world. A highlight was a QSO between the scouts and Les Emanuel (2E0LRV) from Redditch, Worcestershire, England.

I am really happy the boys enjoyed the event and feel honoured to be part of your Scouting Jamboree on the Air event.
– Les 2E0LRV

It was a successful event by all measures. Doug and Bill are planning a series of follow-up classes to prepare the scouts for getting their amateur radio licenses.

Sam Lounsberry from the Northwest Herald visited the event and wrote an excellent story which appeared in the Herald the next day.

Crystal Lake Boy Scouts tune in to amateur radio operation