Over this past weekend (June 4th) myself and another Scouter went to this years Amateur Radio Conference in Seaside, Oregon. It is called SEAPAC. I had only been to this conference one other time and it was fun then.
If you do not know what Amateur Radio is, the American Radio Relay League has a good article with more information. I passed the Tech License in 2006 with my friend Doug Miner and was on my way. A few years later we both took a weekend course and upgraded to General. My first callsign was KE7JRE, it is now K7RUB. My main reason for becoming an Amateur Radio Operator was due to James Kim.
I have written about Ham Radio before and how I use it within Scouting. Mainly it was to teach the Tiger Cubs within Pack 221 the Communication section for their Badge. Since the BSA has changed the requirements for the Tiger Rank, there is not a need for my class.
So, what to do? Well, that has been on my mind for a while. I have always been interested in Radio at some level. I am just not very good at all the electrical stuff. So, it has been an uphill battle for me. I have several radios. A Yeasu 8800, VX-7R, 450D, 817ND and a ICOM 208. I also have several antennas. So, what does that get me. Well, two are HF and the rest are VHF/UHF. The 817ND is my portable HF Rig that is 5watts and teh 450 is my home 100watt unit. The 8800 is in my car, the VX-7R is the handheld and the 208 is in the house. I have a lot of firepower.
With this recent trip to SEAPAC, I stumbled upon a class called National Parks on the Air. Now, I know about Jamboree on the Air and Field Day and the National Jamboree having a Radio Station. But what is National Parks on the Air. Simply this: It is the ARRL’s way of celebrating the National Park Service 100th Year. There is even a Facebook Group for NPOTA!
The gentleman who taught the class is Norm Fusaro, W3IZ. He was great! Lots of stories about what to do, what not to do and how to get started. Watching the Facebook group, it is really very active and a lot of Hams are out there going to a lot of sites. Over the coming weeks I will be getting my HF Rig configured and ready to Chase a few and see how it works.
The other part of my adventure was based around how to get Radio into my corner of Scouting. Specifically within Skyloo and the Council. My friend Russ who came with me also has the same ideas on how to make this happen. We had a lot of conversations up to this point, but the drive to, from and onsite were pointed to how to make it happen.
One of my sojourns took me to the Multnomah ARES Trailer that was parked outside the Convention Center. This proved to be very eye-opening and rewarding. The Trailer was awesome. The people there answered all my questions and offered to help as much as they could. They just want to get Radio out to as many others as they can. They recognize Scouting and Radio to be a perfect fit. Russ is on the Clackamas ARES side, so many resources can be had.
I have a lot of work to do which includes a lot of learning and training and getting out and doing. As I look through the items that I need to know to join Multnomah ARES, there is a lot of training, understanding, field work and advancement to do. But, it all sounds and looks like Scouting to me. It is just another Wood Badge ticket waiting to happen.