When you see a bunch of boys huddled around an electronic device, you might hint at an Xbox, Sony PlayStation or Nintendo as the center of attention. But it wasn’t video gaming that brought Pack 66 Webelos to a meeting on Oct. 3, 2015 on a Saturday afternoon. It was ham radio.
Pack 66 Webelos are always prepared, now more than ever. They are now equipped with the knowledge of amateur radio and the ability to CQ CQ DX “calling all stations located in a different continent to the caller.”
This year, Pack 66 Webelos—Joshua S., Elias M., Adrian G., Roman B., Degas P., and Will A—were able to participate in the California QSO Party (CQP), which is held every year on the first weekend of October. CQP has traditionally opened the annual contest season by providing an opportunity for contesters to prepare for the ARRL November Sweepstakes.
Joshua S., Adrian G., and Will A. were tasked with setting up a 20-meter antenna on their own with no instructions and did an amazing job. The other Webelos, Roman B., Degas P. and Elias M., helped assemble the station and hook up the antenna so that a signal would broadcast. Once this was completed, the scouts were on the air. During this competition, Pack 66 Webelos were able to reach 14 states and one country—W6TA in California, W7WA in Washington, N7MZW in Wyoming, W2YC in New Jersey, K4BAI and N4PN in Georgia, AB4GG and NA4K in Tennessee, WX4G in Florida, K3WW in Pennsylvania, K9CT in Illinois, NN5XX in Arkansas, W5WMU in Louisiana, K5TR in Texas, VA7RR in British Columbia, K0OU in Missouri and KE8FT in Michigan.
To be able to achieve this new found knowledge, Dr. Travis Williams from AF6WU, graciously volunteered three hours on Oct. 3 to teach these willing Webelos. Dr. Williams is a 30-year veteran of the Boy Scouts of America and has been a licensed ham operator since 1997, mostly because of the influence of his scouting role models. Today, Dr. Williams uses his American Radio Relay League (AARL)-affiliated club station, KT5BSA, as a program feature with Monrovia Cub Scout Pack 66, which enabled our Webelos to get on-air. He has been very successful using the radio programs for scouts’ advancement, learning, public service and emergency preparedness opportunities that are not otherwise available within the BSA. Dr. Williams is also a volunteer with the LAFD and Los Angeles Disaster Communications. Along with his many volunteer roles, he is also a member of the American Radio Relay League (AARL), Los Angeles Section.
Dr. Williams designed a program to give on-the-air experience to Pack 66 Webelos and hopefully foster their interest in getting a license of their own. It is also intended to give older hams a chance to share their station and love for amateur radio with their children.
Ham radio and elementary school education are synergistic. Through ham radio, Cub Scouts develop and utilize strong academic and affective skills. They learn geography, science, technology, communications, language arts, mathematics and social skills. Ham radio provides unique opportunities to engage in authentic, interactive scientific discoveries and cultural connections world-wide. Ham radio is a wonderful vehicle to increase Cub Scouts geographic knowledge as it provides endless opportunities to learn about and experience the interrelationships between people and the environment. This increased awareness of location and better understanding of place around the world nurtures a rich appreciation for unique cultural connections near and far.