Posted: August 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m afraid it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. Life has been keeping me very busy! In addition to Boy Scout events, college courses throughout the summer, and finishing up my Eagle Project, I’ve also been busy with a new daily blog called ‘Scouting Rediscovered’.

(http://scoutingrediscovered.wordpress.com/)
Speaking of my Eagle Project, my Eagle Project is the installation of a Ham Radio Repeater for disaster preparedness and emergency communications. I wrote up a little bit more about it over on ‘Scouting Rediscovered’, so I’m going to repost it here.

Coming up this October, there will be the next Jamboree on the Air. This is something you definitely don’t want to miss. I will be volunteering down in Irving Texas at the National Scouting Museum for the fourth year now, so maybe you can catch me over the radio. If you have anything about Ham Radio and Scouting that you would like to see a Blog post on, just leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. In addition, although I’m not able to post on here as much as I would like to, I’ll be making several posts as we ramp up to the Jamboree. I hope you enjoy this post on Eagle Projects. As always, I love hearing any comments, so please don’t hesitate to leave them.

Scouting Rediscovered

Eagle Scout Badge, Type 9

In the Boy Scouts of America, the Eagle Scout Rank is the highest Rank attainable. The Rank of Eagle Scout has a long tradition of great men and leaders who have earned it. If you want to know more about the statistics and great tradition of the Eagle Scout Rank, this infographic pretty much says it all.

In 1965, a requirement was added to the Eagle Scout rank:

5. While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.

Since then, this Eagle Scout Service Project has come to be almost the defining achievement of the Eagle Scout. The way it is chosen, the subject, the leadership skills it requires, and the amount of work needed to complete it have all been testaments to the new Eagle’s willingness to serve and his ability to lead…

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Ham Scout Central

Ok, it’s been a little while since my last post; I apologize for that, but hopefully it gave you some good time to study using the resources I listed in the last post. Now, my goal for this site is not to give you a complete, stand-alone resource for getting your ham radio license; that is why I listed several resources on the last post. Rather, my goal is for this site to be a guide, a place that will give you a road-map of how to get your ham radio license, as well as a place where Scouts who are hams, and just hams in general, can get together to get the most out of this great hobby.

So in this post, I will first tell some information on taking the ham test, and then I will show some pictures of my own ham/scout gear.

II. The test

1. Where:

There are several options when it comes to where to take your ham test. The first thing you need to know is that tests must be administered by volunteering licensed amateur radio operators who are accredited by a V.E.C. (Volunteer Examiner Coordinator) and who are at least General class for the Technician’s test. These test administrators are known as VE’s (Volunteer Examiners) and administer the test in a team of three. These people are unpaid, nevertheless, there is a small test-taking fee for processing and materials. As I mentioned before, the best way to find a location to take your test is through your local ham radio club. Another place they are often found is at ham-fests, or conventions of ham radio operators which happen periodically all over the U.S. Check on arrl.org to find one near you.

2. When:

When you’re ready! I would say that you are ready if you are comfortable with the new knowledge that you’ve gained and are consistently passing three out of four simulated practice exams. You can take free practice tests online here.

II. Some of my gear.

I hope that the info above was helpful. Now I would like to show you some pictures of my scout/ham gear, including my general and technician’s licenses:

 

My Scout/Ham GearHere is some of my Scout Gear along with my General and tech licenses, and my Radio: a Yaesu FT-60

My radioA close up of my radio

my antennaHere is my 2 meter quad antenna

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed the pics and info on this post. I will see you again in about a week!

Yours in Scouting and 73’s


This symbol is presumably recognized worldwide...

Image via Wikipedia

OK, now that you are (hopefully) convinced that it is worth your while to get your Ham Radio License, I will explain the first steps to take.

1. If you are a Scout, Get your Radio Merit Badge.

Although earning the Radio Merit Badge will not automatically get you a Ham Radio License, it will give you a great introduction to Radio and give a lot of information that will help you.

Here is my page on the Radio Merit Badge.

2. Get some study resources.

If you haven’t read my page on getting your Ham Radio License, I suggest reading it now. In summary, in order to get your Ham Radio License from the Federal Communications Commission, you  need to pass a test administered by V.E.C. accredited Volunteer Examiners.

Now don’t let the word “test” scare you off. If you have the right study materials and are willing to put a little work into it, the test is really not that hard.  I have several study materials that I personally recommend:

a. The ARRL publishes some really informative books to get you started.

b. Studying on the computer is a breeze with Ham Test Online.

c. In Gordon West’s Study materials, he demystifies Ham Radio and makes it fun and easy for the intimidated.

3. Join a local Ham Radio Club.

On the ARRL website you will be able to locate a Ham Radio Club near you.  Having a local community of Ham Radio operators to encourage and help you will be invaluable. Also, when the time comes to take your test, they will be able to point you to the VE Testing location.

Well, I hope that this will give you a good idea of the first steps needed. I am going to go now, but I will be back soon with more information. Stay Tuned! And if you have any questions, feel free to email me at: hamscoutcentral@openmail.cc

Yours in Scouting and 73’s

 

This symbol is presumably recognized worldwide...

Image via Wikipedia

 

All right, after browsing the resource pages, you are probably wondering where I am going to go now with this site. Well,  first off, I am going to  write a series of articles (posts) about the best way to get your Ham Radio License based on my experiences and particularly targeted toward Scouts ( although anybody can use my suggestions.) I am going to use a question and answer format to step you through the process over the next few weeks, and , for the first post, I am going to answer this question:

Why should a scout (or anybody for that matter) get a ham radio license? What is it good for?”

Good question!

Actually, there are many reasons why someone would want to have a ham radio license. But, for the sake of brevity, I am only going to list the top ten reasons why I think someone (a scout in particular) should get his ham radio license.

10. Developing communication skills

Have any of you suffered from a fear of speaking in front of an audience or over the telephone? I know I have. And very likely, unless you are a really outgoing person, you will feel a little nervous when you first talk on the air. As you keep going, however, that nervousness disappears.  Soon,  you will find that Ham Radio is a good way to prepare you to speak confidently and clearly to both people you know, and people you don’t know alike.

9. Community

Ham Radio is a great way to meet people in your local community. You may not know it, but within a half-hour’s drive from where you live there is a thriving community of Ham Radio operators that would love to get to know you and answer any questions that you may have about Ham Radio. Also, through those people you meet, there may open up other doors and contacts that will be helpful with other aspects of your life.

8. Technical knowledge

If you’re not big into electronics, don’t sweat! It takes very little technical knowledge to get your license. On the other hand, you will need to know some basic electronics in order to pass. That is a good thing! Knowing the building blocks of all the  electronic gadgets that surround us can come in quite handy sometimes. Also, for those with an interest in electronic communications, Ham Radio proves an effective way to gain much practical knowledge and experience .

7. Opening doors

As with any new skill or knowledge, a  Ham Radio license can open many new doors in the future regarding business and  social activities.

 

Merit badge (Boy Scouts of America)

Image via Wikipedia

 

6. Merit Badges

For those of you in Boy Scouts, a Ham Radio License can help with a handful of Merit Badges, including (but not limited to): Radio, Inventing, Signaling, Citizenship in the World,  and Electricity.

5. Community Service

In or out of Scouting, Ham Radio is a great way to volunteer and serve your community. There are many ways you can use a Ham Radio License to get community service hours (more on that later.) Besides, it beats cleaning up yards or picking up trash along the side of a road!

4. Events

There are many fun events relating to Ham Radio such as the JOTA, Contests, Field day, and much more.

 

International Space Station on 20 August 2001

Image via Wikipedia

 

3. High Tech

Because Ham Radio operators are not centered on pecuniary gain, they are constantly implementing the latest, cutting-edge technology into their hobby. As a Ham Radio operator, you can do things such as: operating with PSK-31, talking to the International Space Station, bouncing signals off the moon,  and sending live videos over the airwaves!

 

Solar-powered Amateur Radio Station in tents. ...

Image via Wikipedia

 

2. Emergency Communications

When cell phones go down, when internet fails, when power goes out, you can count on Ham Radio. From local disasters to the 9/11 tragedy,  from deadly tornadoes to hurricane Katrina, Ham Radio has played a crucial role in getting information in and out of a disaster area. Ham Radio saves lives,  and it has a long track record to prove it.

1. On a more light-hearted note, it’s just simply a whole lot of  fun!

If you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself and feel the thrill of your first contact, and it will stay with you and give you years of enjoyment.

So, bottom-line, don’t take my word for it. In the upcoming series of posts, I am going to step you through the process of getting your first license in the most quick and painless way. So stay tuned in !

Yours in Scouting and 73’s