During the holidays, the Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club along with amateur radio operators from Miss Lou Amateur Radio Club supported the Radio Merit Badge at Avondale Scout Reservation, Camp Avondale. Seventeen Scouts were preregistered for the two courses to earn the Radio Merit Badge. The four hour course included instruction in the science of radio, how radio waves travel, radio protocols, antennas, safety, and career opportunities. In addition to the instruction, the Scouts had to complete block drawings of components for a radio station, use of schematic symbols explaining what they were used for, and draw the electromagnetic spectrum plotting eight radio frequencies of which four had to be within the amateur radio band. To complete the merit badge, the Scouts had an opportunity to conduct a 10 minute QSO using ham radio. HF and VHF stations were available to the Scouts. Contacts were made with Mexico City and Western Canada using Icom IC-706MKIIG into a inverted G5RV running 100 watts on HF. Also, contacts was made using the BRARC and MissLou VHF repeaters. Amateur radio operators (AROs) from both clubs assisted with this endeavor.
Upon completion of the course, seven Scouts earned their Radio Merit Badge and were challenged to go for their FCC Tech license. Avondale Scout Reservation, 1700 acres, is located 3 miles east of Clinton, Louisiana, and is the home for the Scouts from the Istrouma Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Council serves 13 civil parishes in Southeast Louisiana and Wilkinson County in Mississippi.
The Radio Merit Badge requirements have been updated for 2017. Here’s a quick preview of the changes:
A new option for the Radio Merit Badge is Amateur Radio Direction Finding. This combines orienteering and foxhunting and opens a new interactive component to this program.
In addition, cellular telephone topics have been added along with different types of radio modulation. Key requirement changes were dropping open, closed, and short circuits as well as schematic symbols and components as these are covered in the Electricity and Electronics merit badges.
Other revisions include: minor edits and reordering of requirements in the Amateur Radio option; Radio Broadcasting option now includes Internet streaming, regulations, and power levels; Medium Wave and Shortwave Listening option includes both types of listening as well as listening via streaming services on your smart phone.
BRARC Recognized For Their Work
The Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club was recognized at their January monthly meeting, by the BSA, Istrouma Area Council, for their work in teaching the Radio Merit Badge at the summer and winter camps held at the Avondale Camp in Clinton, LA. David Harris, District Scout Executive presented the award to Dick Burroughs N5KIP, and President of BRARC. Members that participated in teaching the camp included, Jon WA9JBR, Buddy N5BUD, Dick N5KIP, Brook N5DGK, Michael KD5MLD, and Daniel N5KHM. Twenty scouts participated in the classes held at the camps. The requirements for the Radio Merit Badge are similar to the Technician Class license requirements. BRARC setup a HF and VHF station so the scouts could meet the 10 minute QSO requirement for the merit badge.
The January meeting was held at the American Red Cross building. 36 members attended the meeting and the presentation by Daniel Smith N5KHM, entitled Robotics and Radio. Preceding the meeting, a VE examination session was held in which three individuals tested for their Technician and General Class licenses.
Radio Merit Badge – Boy Scouts of America
This past Christmas, December 27 through December 31, 2015, the Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club and LSU Radio Club provided Radio Merit Badge counselors and materials for Istrouma Area Council’s 2015 Winter Camp program at Avondale Scout Reservation. Seven Scouts participated and completed the requirements including carrying on a 10 minute voice contact using proper call signs and radio procedures. Proper logging of the radio contact and the signal report was demonstrated. Contacts were as far away as Chicago and New York. The Scouts who pursued the merit badge expressed an interest in learning communication technology as career pathways into astronomy, engineering, radio technical support, and military service. One Scout indicated that he would be taking the Technician Exam at the SELARC Hamfest in Hammond.
A big THANK YOU to Jeremy Gerald, AD5XY, Jon Reise, WA9JBR, Daniel Smith, N5KHM, and Dana Browne, AD5VC, for their support. If a Club member is interested in becoming a counselor for the Radio Merit Badge, please contact Michael J. Nolan, KD5MLD.
Boy Scout Avondale Summer Camp
BRARC conducted Radio Merit Badge classes at the Boy Scout Avondale Summer Camp in Clinton, LA. Two 6-hour classes were presented by a team of five BRARC members. Sixteen scouts completed the training, with three scouts completing all the requirements for the Radio Merit Badge. A required 10-minute QSO was completed on 20 and 2 meters, using a portable station set up by BRARC. The Boy Scout Radio Merit Badge has 9-requirements, all of them similar to the Technician Class requirements.