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.