Radio Scouting Needs You!
San Diego Imperial Council Radio Scouting Funding Campaign

You can give one time or monthly, any amount you choose. $5.00 a month from 10% of the ham radio operators in San Diego County would enable us to bring our Radio Scouting program to all 6,000 Scouts in our Council.

Who What and Why

WB6BSA is the call sign for the Scout radio operations for the San Diego Imperial Council. There are over 6,000 Scouts in our Council – Cub Scout Youth Boys & Girls ages 5 - 10, Scouts BSA Boys & Girls ages 11-17, Venturing/Sea Scouts Co-ed ages 14-20, and Exploring Youth Co-ed ages 14-20.

Scouts from the Girl Troop 555 in Point Loma outside Old Radio Room

Cub Scouts Getting on the Air at JOTA

WB6BSA needs the ongoing support from the amateur radio community in San Diego and Imperial counties in order fund our monthly expenses for Internet and the SimpliSafe security system, scale our radio operations, and equip the WB6BSA Lab and Makerspace at Camp Balboa.

As many of the local ham radio operators have heard, the old radio room at the Scout headquarters at Camp Balboa built in the late 1950s had fallen to disrepair. It is infested with termites and had a bad mold problem in the walls. If that wasn’t bad enough, the old radio room was broken into in 2022, and the 1980s and 1990s vintage radio gear was stolen.

The response to these events from the Radio Merit Badge counselors was to apply for a grant through the non-profit Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC). The scope of the grant was to cover the cost of two 10x12 sheds, HF, UHF/VHF radios, antennas, a solar/battery systems, and a security system that would not require permits from the City of San Diego.

We received the grant in July of 2023 and the volunteers got to work to build the base foundations for the sheds, install the sheds, paint the sheds, implement the solar/battery system, and get the Flex 6400 HF rig set up in time for JOTA 2023 in October. We operate the last Saturday of every month and support the Radio Merit badge several times a year. We have Wood Badge tickets from adult leaders that are developing programs for Cub Scout age youth, and the program for hands-on project based activities for Scouts that pass their FCC Technician/General/Advanced exams.

Volunteers in front of WB6BSA Radio Operations Room and Lab/Maker Space at Camp Balboa

Boy Scout in front of Flex 6400 during JOTA 2023 in new Radio Room

Radio Scouting Volunteer installing roof mount tower on WB6BSA Radio Operations

Now we must keep the progress going by starting this funding campaign to cover expenses that the grant did not cover, such as ongoing expenses for the Internet and SimpliSafe security system, HTs for Scouts that pass their license exam, and the equipment for the lab and makerspace for Scouts to use for hands-on projects, such as the TARPN Nino TNC.

For you old timers reading this that are Scouters, you may remember when Morse code was a requirement for the Second Class starting in 1911, and First-Class Scout rank in 1927! OK – a few of you may not remember that far back when the Boy Scout handbook had an address in New Jersey that you could use to mail order the parts to build your own transmitter and receiver, and directions to put up an “aerial” between trees that was 60 feet high in your backyard. The Morse code requirement for Scout rank advancement ended in 1972, and for many of us that was one of the best years of our life for rock ‘n’ roll music and ham radio.

Yaesu FT 101 Party 1972 and the best Rolling Stones album of all time!

The WB6BSA Radio Scouting program is based upon three merit badges: Electronics, Programming and Radio, followed by passing the Technician and General license exams. With your help, we will leverage the facilities and equipment that the ARDC grant made possible and grow our program by increasing our outreach to all 6000 Scouts in San Diego and Imperial counties. All donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact wb6bsa@sdicbsa.org 

You can help!