Scouting and Amateur Radio: Why Get a License?

This symbol is presumably recognized worldwide...

Before the days of the internet, Radio was one of the biggest, quickest, most cutting edge methods of communication; and, coincidentally, Ham Radio was born at about the same time as Scouting. Naturally, early Scouts found Ham Radio to be a very effective way to exercise the Scout Motto: Be Prepared! And it still is today. Even in the “modern age” we are still at the mercy of a natural disaster or martial attack to bring our communication to a stand-still. Ham Radio is naturally suited to emergencies like that. The fact that it is a method of wireless communication, that it is not daunted by long distances, and that it can be powered in a variety of ways; makes it an invaluable resource, one that is not going to be unneeded any time soon.

Many Scouts throughout Scouting’s history have been licensed Ham Radio Operators, and any Scout today can become one.

If you would like more information on Amateur (Ham) Radio, go to: http://www.arrl.org/

"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.

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

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!

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.

Yours in Scouting and 73's

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