Archive for Radio Scouting

February 2018 JOTA Newsletter Available

We've just posted the February 2018 Jamboree on the Air Newsletter. You can find it at this link — February 2018 JOTA Newsletter. Or click on the nearby image. You can also find the past issues there.

K2BSA/7 at Dad and Lad Event in Cascade Pacific Council

Norman Royce, KD6IFF, has provided an after action report on his operation of K2BSA/7 in early February 2018. There's quite a few best practices at play in this description that can probably help your upcoming operation.

I ran a STEM station for radio. Here's insight into what worked along with examples you can follow.
Science - How Propagation Works
  •  Foils with diagrams work best
  •  Used a "Ball thrown against a Ceiling" as an example and then they understood the radio waves bouncing off the different atmosphere layers
    •  D-Layer = Living-room ceiling
    •  F-Layer = Gym ceiling
Technology - Morse code keys through the years...from old straight keys to newer paddles.
  • Make sure they have a buzzer of some sort attached
  • I forgot that the first time I used code keyers as an example and the first comment I got was "They don't make any noise."
  • Arduino Iambic Keyer project in a clear case for the 2 button is also great for pointing out the technology that can be used.
Engineering - Engineering can be explained with multiple examples
  • Differences in power levels to radio sizes
  • Comparison of home-made antennas to manufactured
  • How to generate power so you can charge your battery box when standard power is down
    • Had examples for Gas Generator and Solar Panel on site
    • Explained that water and wind power are the main sources of power for all of Oregon
Math - Tape Measure Antenna hanging on a 1/8 in rope Tape Measure Antenna_Data Sheet
  • They work as a Pack to complete the quiz at this link Tape Measure Antenna_Quiz
  • Have the rope long enough that they can slide the tape measures to the distance for a 10M dipole
  • When done explain that since these tape measures are metal we could actually attach the radio and talk over this antenna
  • The tape measure antenna is built using 2 of the 33ft x 1" wide tape measures secured to a plexiglass backer
    • 33ft tape measures are available at Harbor Freight...lets you get to 40M (Quiz Question #2)
    • 25ft will also work....lets you get to 20M (Quiz Question #2)

Revised Radio Merit Badge Pamphlet is Available

The revised Radio Merit Badge pamphlet that matches the requirements that became effective on January 1, 2017 is now available.

It is order number 642986 and shows a 2017 copyright and printing. Make sure you pick up the correct version.

Here's the link to the Supply webpage — Radio Merit Badge pamphlet.

K4C 2017 JOTA Report

This station report was provided by Rob Rousseau, KI4BKE, for the K4C operation in the Black River District of the Occoneechee Scout Council in North Carolina. It's a great example of operating a top notch JOTA event and providing an excellent report.

Black River District JOTA 2017 Report

In late June, ARRL posted an article announcing the theme for the 60th Jamboree On The Air - "60 Years Connecting Scouts." Rob Rousseau, KI4BKE, Cubmaster of Pack 66 realized this coincided with his District campout. First he checked with the campout organizers and they were interested in having a JOTA station. He contacted a couple of local Amateur Radio Clubs first to see if there was any interest in a JOTA station at the campout. Fortunately Brian Knox, KK4BK, President of the South Wake ARC responded positively. Another member, Chris Pickar, K4CLP, and Carl Rasmussen, KM4GDU, of Boy Scout Troop 320 also volunteered. In addition, YouTuber John Brier, KG4AKV of Space Comms, volunteered to do a special AMSAT satellite contact demostration during the event.

Be Prepared!

Rob met with Chris early on to start brainstorming on what to do, bring, etc. Both and had calendars to follow which helped immensly. Chris had printed out the new ARRL posters for display - Rob designed a QSL card and ordered JOTA patches through his Occoneechee Council Scout Shop. He also ordered several free brochures from the ARRL to handout. Chris also registered a special 1x1 callsign for the weekend, K4C for their Apex location. In addition, Chris also registered our JOTA station and received our JOTA ID (JID) - 6US89F. An on-site visit was made beforehand to get an idea of where to put equipment and antennas (and check for power!).

A few weeks before the event, local Gary Pearce, KN4AQ of Ham Radio Now, did a great episode (#347) of JOTA's 60th anniversary - Rob relayed this to his fellow operators and scouts to get an idea of what to expect and tips.

Day of Event:

Setup began at 8am and by 9am was ready for guests. Several groups came by first thing in the morning and kept our operators very busy. Brian, Chris and Carl ran radios while Rob did an introduction to radio and kept counts for the JOTA report. Pizza was delivered to the group during a much needed break for lunchtime. The 1:10pm satellite demo with AO-85 went really well with three contacts while several families and scouts watched with intense interest.


  • Have a JOTA station at a Cub/Boy/Girl Scout campout.
  • Space out stations & antennas further apart if possible. Some bleed over was experienced.
  • Phone mode was more popular than Digital. The boys really enjoyed talking to someone.
  • Have a Check-in/Introduction table if possible. This will help with crowd control and with JOTA report. We had several large groups show up in the morning. If you have a couple of HF or VHF/UHF stations going, you can space the groups out among them.
  • Have lots of chairs available.
  • Have a local simplex talk-in frequency for Hams and Scouters with HTs.


132 Cub Scouts, 25 Boy Scouts, 3 Girl Scouts, 5 amateur radio operators, 15 visitors.

Here are a few additional links to help with your next Jamboree on the Air event.

JOTA Countdown — Planning guide including a complete calendar for your preparation.

JOTA Event Tips — Insight into planning, publicizing, and operating your JOTA station.

JOTA Station Reports Best Practices — Lots of insight on preparing your station report.

Radio Scouting Brochure — Download for printing a handy brochure explaining all the elements of amateur radio in Scouting.

Radio Scouting Quick Reference Card — Handy card for phonetics, Q-signals, conversation starters.

Radio Scouting Poster — Poster for use at any event to explain aspects of amateur radio in Scouting.

Station Operations — Recommendations for station operations gained at the K2BSA Jamboree station.