Another welcomed GUEST POST – AE5JU on Boy Scout Jamboree on the Air
|BEARS W5BMC Jamboree on the Air
The BEARS (Bayouland Emergency Amateur Radio Service – W5BMC) had the great pleasure of hosting 15 Boy Scouts and their Scoutmasters at the BEARS station for Jamboree on the air. They spent about 2 hours with us while we showed them everything from generator and antenna tower to cases of MRE’s, bottled water, and 1st Aid Kit. “Be Prepared” is the Scout motto, and so it is with the BEARS.
The Scouts were all courteous, attentive, and just good kids. They raised their hands to speak and asked some very good questions. Just good kids.
We explained the use of, and differences between broadcast radio and amateur radio, propagation and use of HF, VHF/UHF radio, and various modes of operation. I flashed through my personal stack of QSL cards, showing contacts all over North, Central, and South America, the Carribean, and Europe.
We brought the Scouts into our radio room and listened on 20 meters, then dialed through 17 meters, and on up to 15 meters, making note of the stations working JOTA. One ham, VE3AXW on 17 meters, really caught my attention in the way he was working the JOTA stations, talking to the Scouts. I remarked, “This is the guy we want to try to talk to.”
While waiting our turn to contact VE3AWX we explained various ham terms used, comparing terms such as QSL or 73 to texting terms like LOL or K. I pointed out the map on the wall showing the numbered areas, and the Scouts quickly found the “3” area in Canada.
When we heard Tony give his 73 and finish his contact with another station there was finally a pause. I called, “VE3AXW, this is AE5JU” and Tony came right back us.
Tony VE3AXW is a class act! He talked to a number of the boys who patiently waited in line for the mic to be passed to them. The Scouts got to see that you really can talk to other countries, in this case over 1100 miles, with just 100 watts from a radio (Icom 718) that can be purchased for about the price of a laptop computer, with a homebrew wire antenna (80-10m Windom).
As the Scouts talked to Tony after a few exchanges each would say, “I’m handing the mic to the next boy.” And Tony would do it all again, asking about Radio Merit Badge, interest in ham radio, how long a scout, age, etc. And “So, what do you think about ham radio?” And the Scouts asked Tony some good questions, too.
Tony will be sending enough QSL cards so that each Scout who participated will get his own card.
We have arranged for some of the Scouts to take license classes.
Also, for the Scouts to earn their Radio Merit Badges one of the required activities is SWL. They have to listen for a total of four hours in both daytime and evening sessions. We have arranged the loan of an Icom R75 and my Field Day antenna, along with some suggestions of frequencies and times to listen.
At the end, Jackie KA5LMZ (BEARS President) and I signed cards confirming the Scouts had completed part of their Radio Merit Badge requirements (a visit a radio station).
All in all, a great learning experience for the Scouts.
No Scouts were injured or killed in this activity.