Everyone knows the Boy Scouts' motto: Be Prepared! But what many don't know is that the Boy Scouts have their own ham radio station, K2BSA — and a radio badge program that scouts can earn by learning and applying emergency radio basics.
They also host The Jamboree on the Air event, the largest scouting event in the world, all operated by amateur radio. In 2011, nearly 750,000 Scouts were involved operating from over 6,000 stations in 150 countries around the globe. It takes place on the third weekend of October annually, October 21-22, 2012 this year.
The 48-hour event gives scouts the opportunity to make contacts with radio operators at long-distance and provides experience in emergency communications. Scouts can also contact the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. From the American Radio Relay League:
On Saturday, October 20 at 1:32 CDT (1832 UTC), the K2BSA/5 operation has a scheduled contact via the ARISS Program with Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, aboard the International Space Station. The contact will be streamed live over the Internet.
In addition to the six K2BSA stations, other National Scouting Organizations will also be on the air for JOTA. “HB9S, the station at the World Scout Bureau in Geneva, Switzerland, has a big operation planned, as does GB2GP at Gilwell Park in London,” Wilson told the ARRL. “Others, such as JA1YSS in Japan, 5Z4KSA in Kenya, VK1BP in Australia and PA6JAM in the Netherlands, might be on the air, too.”
Radio amateurs do not have to be registered to get on the air during JOTA. In addition to the World Scout Frequencies, the BSA has listed a US frequency guide that includes frequencies for 80-6 meters (SSB, CW and PSK31), 2 meters, 70 cm and D-STAR, as well as dedicated IRLP and EchoLink nodes.
To learn more about K2BSA and Jamboree On the Air, Click Here.