The National Scout Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Scout Reserve in West Virginia was a spectacular event for all things Scouting, outdoors, high adventure, and extreme sports. And, the K2BSA operation made its own waves — Radio Waves! If you didn’t follow the event via the K2BSA online media, I encourage you to check out the photo albums on the K2BSA Facebook Page and at the K2BSA website.

The amateur radio numbers are impressive — 2,600+ Scouts got in front of a radio and made contacts with hams across the country and in a few cases around the world; 351 Scout earned the Radio Merit Badge; well over 100 Scouts participated in ARDF — Foxhunting, finding hidden transmitters around the Summit Center; several Scouts assisted in launching a total of four high-altitude balloons; and  10 Scouts participated in a contact with the International Space Station! Through license exam sessions we also increased the population of amateur radio operators by 10 (nine technician licenses, 1 general license) and had four upgrades (two extras, two generals).

We had 40+ K2BSA staff members getting the station setup from July 10 to the official start of July 15. From that opening day until the close on July 23, our working hours were generally from about 7 or 8 AM to 9 PM, with Scouts present from 8:30 AM to around 5 PM most days. The commute for our staff members was a 1.8 mile hike up some steep grades and over crushed rock roads and trails, with a few thousand fellow commuters. It was a grueling event, but we did it for the love of Scouting and amateur radio.

I’ve assembled some photos below to give some idea of the operation at the Jamboree along with the broader sweep of activities. You can find a video of the ISS contact on YouTube.

Here's the morning view of Staff Camp as I set off on my commute to the K2BSA station.
Here’s the morning view of Staff Camp as I set off on my commute to the K2BSA station.
Here's the view trudging back to staff camp at the end of a very long day.
Here’s the view trudging back to staff camp at the end of a very long day.
Here's the view after the morning commute. Getting ready to go on the air.
Here’s the view after the morning commute. Getting ready to go on the air.
Once the truck arrived, they made quick work of antenna installation.
Once the truck arrived, they made quick work of antenna installation.
My Jamboree home for three week. My tent housed the K2BSA leadership team.
My Jamboree home for three week. My tent housed the K2BSA leadership team.
I got the top bunk. Worked out pretty well.
I got the top bunk. Worked out pretty well.
Here's my first look at K2BSA. 40x40 demo tent and 60x20 merit badge classrooms.
Here’s my first look at K2BSA. 40×40 demo tent and 60×20 merit badge classrooms.
These Scouts are from the Radio Merit Badge workshop getting their on air contact in the log.
These Scouts are from the Radio Merit Badge workshop getting their on air contact in the log.
The Scouts readily connected to the radio merit badge information.
The Scouts readily connected to the radio merit badge information.
You can readily see the enthusiasm from the Scouts as they are introduced to amateur radio.
You can readily see the enthusiasm from the Scouts as they are introduced to amateur radio.
Yes, it was wet at the Jamboree. But Scouts put it to good use!
Yes, it was wet at the Jamboree. But Scouts put it to good use!
Balloon filled with hydrogen and ready for lift off.
Balloon filled with hydrogen and ready for lift off.
Balloon launches were a highlight with Keith Kaiser, WA0TJT, guiding the Scouts efforts.
Balloon launches were a highlight with Keith Kaiser, WA0TJT, guiding the Scouts efforts.
Balloon poised for lauch and expected to ascend to 100,000 feet above Earth.
Balloon poised for lauch and expected to ascend to 100,000 feet above Earth.
K2BSA lost quite a few hours of operation to thunderstorms.
K2BSA lost quite a few hours of operation to thunderstorms.
Set up involved moving the satellite antennas into place.
Set up involved moving the satellite antennas into place.
Here's the satellite antenna in place for the ISS contact and other satellites.
Here’s the satellite antenna in place for the ISS contact and other satellites.
Getting the bucket truck to our station proved challenging.
Getting the bucket truck to our station proved challenging.
Ray Novak, N9JA, from Icom helped with the demonstrations --- who's having more fun? Ray or the Scout?
Ray Novak, N9JA, from Icom helped with the demonstrations — who’s having more fun? Ray or the Scout?
Nicely done signs to attract the Scouts to our operation.
Nicely done signs to attract the Scouts to our operation.

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Our K2BSA leadership working in a tent with mud floors and smiling!
Our K2BSA leadership working in a tent with mud floors and smiling!
Here's a good overall view of the station with the zip line in the background.
Here’s a good overall view of the station with the zip line in the background.
This is an aerial view of Camps A and B. There are three more of these camps for Scouts at the Jamboree.
This is an aerial view of Camps A and B. There are three more of these camps for Scouts at the Jamboree.
Here's our final FCC license testing session on a dark rainy evening.
Here’s our final FCC license testing session on a dark rainy evening.
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Jim-K5ND

Freelance writer and active Scouting volunteer. Retired publishing and communication executive who writes for fun and to finance his hobby, amateur radio.

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