This past weekend (Nov 8-9) we had the opportunity to bring Scout radio to many new people. In order to accomplish this we had to split up the WD9BSA regulars. The activities started Saturday morning. Our VE team assembled to conduct the last scheduled licensing session for the year. They were pleased to report that Brian N9BSW successfully upgraded to Extra Class. They also have plans to assist with licensing at the conclusion of a couple upcoming Scout Technician Class license classes. This has been a successful year for the VE team with 31 people attending our free testing sessions. We presided over six test sessions and issued 33 element exams, of which 27 were passed. 22 of those tested were Scouts or leaders. Many thanks to all those who’ve volunteered with this effort.
At the same time that the VE team was preparing for the test session we had an away team headed up to Cary Camp in Lafayette. This camp is part of the Sagamore Council and was host to the Area 6 Venturing Crew conference. There were Crew members there from all over Indiana and as far as Cincinnati, OH. Think of this as a camporee for Venturing Crews. We estimated there were at least 50 kids in attendance. The first order of business was to erect a mast and prepare to check-in to the annual Simulated Emergency Test using the local ARES repeater. Some of the kids helped Tom accomplish this task. I was still driving at the time so I was able to check-in as mobile.
The Crews were all split up and to form three groups. This allowed them to intermingle and make new friends as they competed in their activities–something different than what I’ve been used to at Boy Scout camporees. The amateur radio demonstration station was one stop on their way through the various activities. Tom provided several battery powered field stations to display and also had the mobile command unit (aka big red truck) to show off. After lunch we raised a short windom-style antenna to make some HF contacts. We had several adults and kids come back through to check that out, too.
We were able to get a lot of good feedback and information for the future Venturing Crew we hope to start. Two boys expressed interest in joining it. I think we hooked them when we put them on the air with a station in Venezuela! We also made a few other stateside contacts but limited our contacts so as to save batteries for the whole day. Our next order of business will be to have an open house where we can hopefully recruit enough kids to charter our own crew. Wouldn’t it be great if we could be Crew 7373 or some such!
Our final activity was the monthly station open hours held on Sunday from 2-7 PM. We hope that this can become a regular meeting time and location for the Crew. Our next open hours will be held December 14. The upcoming open house is still TBA. We’re looking forward to finishing up an excellent 2014 at the station. Be sure to spread the word anytime you can about the station. Our success in 2015 will rely on it.