Good News Everyone! Scouting is back to Amber in most parts of the UK! (local restrictions may still apply) Which means we can slowly start to plan events for within our sections related to amateur radio and other technology related badgework.
The current Guidlines in England we have to follow at the time of writing this post 3/4/2021 are there are no limits to group sizes where as previously we were limited to 15 young people and 5 adults not including carers. We are also not restricted to meeting places however moving around should try to be limited. Camping and over night stays are also off limits. We are also allowed to take part in various day trips to Zoo’s, Science adventure areas etc. However District and County large scale events are still out of the question.
What none JOTA radio activities can we do?
Execellent question! There are plenty of radio related activities you can do that either require a license or not. We have a few examples below of ideas and what badge work they belong too.
Beavers are the youngest main section that we have in the UK. Their communicator badge requires them to; Learn how to make a phone calle, Learn your phone number, Learn how to send an email or text message, spell your name in Morse code, semaphore, the phonetic alphabet, or using pictures and symbols and try to work out a simple message given to you in Morse code, semaphore, the phonetic alphabet, or using pictures and symbols.
We have available a morse code sheet in our Downloads Section which will help you to teach your Beavers morse code. Some activities you could do while the nights are still quite close is sending morse code using torch light and seeing if they are able to decode a message. There is also a useful and fun morse code video available on YouTube.
Cubs is the next section available to our Young People who are 8-10 1/2. Their communicator badge requirements involving amateur radio activities are; Write three simple messages using code, ciphers, invisible ink or semaphore. Try to work out three similar messages given to you, Pass a message to someone using amateur radio and Take part in JOTA or JOTI.
Sending messages using codes can easily be adapted for Cubs to be able to send a receive morse code using torch light. There are also morse code training aids available on Ebay for around £30 which will allow the Cubs to actually produce morse code onto a speaker and allow another Cub or the entire Pack to translate the messages.
You could also invite a local ham to your group to demonstrate amateur radio and allow the group to speak to other radio amateurs on the air. You could always try and arrange a schedule with another Scout Group somewhere else around the world. An easy way to do this would be to use Talkgroup 907 on FreeDMR.
Even though large scale events aren’t going ahead just yet. JOTA and JOTI can be run on a small scale with your group. Get in touch with you local amateur radio group for some help in setting up a small scale station. Just remember overnight stays are not yet allowed to go ahead.
Scouts is for 10 1/2 to 14 year olds and they should mainly aim to complete these independantly. Where this is not possible then activities should be ran with support by the leaders of the section. To gain their Communicator badge they will automatically be given it once they have completed an amateur radio license (Foundation, Intermediate or Full) If they have not been able to gain their license then with the support of a licensed full amateur then they need to log 25 different amateur radio stations. Learn how to tune a simple communications receiver. These can be purchased as ready made kits off Ebay. Give an example of a typical greetings message such as call CQ CQ CQ and then starting off with their Call Sign and Name. They are also expected to be able to explain how HF and VHF radio waves travel around the world.
They also need to learn the phonetic alphabet which can be found on how Downloads page along side knowing 8 Q code signals. They also need to be able to recognise UK call signs for example G8, M6, 2E1 etc as well as some from the near continent for example F5, EI8, DE6 etc. They also need to visit an amateur radio station (Easily done at events such as JOTA) And finally learn the regulations around the use of amateur radio equipment.
Explorers and Network
Explorers and Network don’t have their own communicator badge. However gaining their amateur radio license will help them to sign off learning a new skill for the various Cheif Scout and Queen Scout awards.
We’re interested to hear what activites you have ran for your section. Use the comments section below to let us know! Maybe we can feature it on the website.