Another take on getting kids into amateur radio

August 24, 2012 Dan KB6NU

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been swapping e-mail with a guy looking for some materials to help him get Boy Scouts interested in radio and in getting their ham licenses. He wrote:

I was wondering if you had thought about applying your approach used in “A No-Nonsense Amateur Radio Study Guide” to the Scout merit badge with the chance of getting a license during the JOTA [Jamboree on the Air] weekend.

Any thoughts on an approach that could be used on the “day” level that could help the scouts get enough licenses in a troop to experience the benefits’ of Ham Radio?

We need to come up with a program that will help 10- and 11- year-olds in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and even high-school kids get licenses.

Unfortunately, most of my efforts along these lines have not been successful. I once did a “ham radio club” at a local middle school, but after a whole year, none of the kids got their licenses. I attribute this to the fact that the club met only once a week and I didn’t get a whole lot of support from the school or the kids’ parents.

I also suggested that someone come up with a study guide specifically for kids. My “No-Nonsense” study guides are pretty good for adults, but I don’t think they’re all that great for kids.  Nor are the one-day Tech classes I teach. I have had kids take the class and get their licenses, but in general, teens don’t do all that well in them.

Thinking about all this gave me another idea. Kids do seem to like the Elenco Snap Circuits kits. Perhaps we could come up with modules that could be used with those kits that would introduce kids to amateur radio specific and get them interested that way.  Any thoughts? Did those old, 100-in-1 kind of electronics kits that you used to buy from toy stores or Radio Shack have any projects that could be construed as ham radio projects?

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