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Boy Scouts' Radio Merit Badge Requirements to Include Direction Finding:

from The ARRL Letter on January 5, 2017
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Boy Scouts' Radio Merit Badge Requirements to Include Amateur Radio Direction Finding Option:

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have updated the requirements for the Radio Merit Badge for 2017, although a formal announcement is pending the publication of the 2017 Boy Scouts Requirements pamphlet. A new option for the Radio Merit Badge is Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF). ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, said he's "really excited" about the move, and he credited Jamboree on the Air Coordinator (JOTA) and K2BSA trustee Jim Wilson, K5ND, with being the "spark plug" behind the ARDF addition.

"Jim visited a training session at the USA ARDF Championships in Texas last April and realized what an excellent activity that on-foot hidden transmitter hunting can be for Scouts," Moell recounted. "Working with Brian Coleman, KB0MAP, Jim authored the new ARDF Radio Merit Badge syllabus, which was then reviewed by several leaders of US ARDF community."

A first draft of the new merit badge pamphlet is anticipated later this month or in early February. Moell said the new merit badge requirements should become effective just in time for the July 2017 National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, where an ARDF course and equipment will be available to Scouts of all ages. He also hopes there could be a role for ARDF in JOTA.

The Radio Merit Badge ARDF option combines orienteering and foxhunting, and opens a new interactive component to this program. Other new Radio Merit Badge options include cellular telephones and different types of radio modulation.

Key requirements being dropped from the Radio Merit Badge include open, closed, and short circuits, as well as schematic symbols and components, because these are covered in the Electricity and Electronics Merit Badges.

The BSA also made some minor editorial changes and reordered requirements for the Amateur Radio option. The radio broadcasting option now includes internet streaming, regulations, and power levels. A medium-wave and shortwave listening option includes both types of listening, as well as listening via streaming services on a smartphone.

The BSA has posted a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Scouts are encouraged to follow the new requirements, although the guidelines may allow use of the previous requirements in some cases.


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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Boy Scouts' Radio Merit Badge Requirements to Include Direct  
by ZENKI on January 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Why not introduce a License class for young kids only.

The UK or Australian Foundation license would be a good model with a restriction that the license expires after 5 years if they dont upgrade.

It would at least get them on the air on a restricted basis and wet their interest in ham radio.

Make the license a 25 watts HF license with access to the 80,40,30(CW), and 15 meter bands with 25 watts of output. This would include the 144 and 440mhz bands

If they pass a 8 WPM CW exam they can use a full 100 watts on their allocated bands. This license should not be open to any adults because in the case of many other countries all that it attracted was a lousy bunch of cb'ers wanting to break every rule in the book.
Boy Scouts' Radio Merit Badge Requirements to Include Direct  
by WS4E on January 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
My concern is this will increase the COST of doing the MB and materials needed.

As a MB Councillor who has done the Radio Merit Badge personally, before we could always just use my own personal shack to have some QSO's to have some fun on the air and meet the old requirements while they got real world experiences of a SSB, and Digital on-air QSO's in my shack.

Now this will require investment in a radio-FOX, as well as receivers for the participants.

I actually do have a fox I built for my club's field day a few years ago, and a few HT's that can be used, but not every ham who would probably be interesting in being a councilor would have this gear.

RE: Boy Scouts' Radio Merit Badge Requirements to Include Di  
by WS4E on January 6, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Another concern.

They have added the RDF stuff as an option that TOTALLY replaces the existing Amature Radio portion and eliminated the things like these that actually provided a base knowledge of amature radio:

Tell why the FCC has an amateur radio service. Describe activities
that amateur radio operators can do on the air, once they have earned an
amateur radio license.
(2) Explain differences between the Technician, General, and Extra Class
license requirements and privileges. Explain who administers amateur
radio exams.
(3) Explain at least five Q signals or amateur radio terms.
(4) Explain how you would make an emergency call on voice or Morse code.
(5) Explain the differences between handheld transceivers and home “base”
transceivers. Explain the uses of mobile amateur radio transceivers and amateur
radio repeaters

They should have KEPT those requirements, and instead made the RDF participation merely an alternate to the existing QSO requirement.

This was obviously rushed just for the National Jamboree, and not well thought out.
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