Boy Scouts participate in Jamboree over the air
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Boy Scouts Troop – participated in a national Jamboree without leaving Copperas Cove on Saturday.
Approximately 100 adults and scouts attended the National Jamboree Over-the-Air and Internet on Saturday at High Chaparral Park. The six-hour event was a chance for scouts and others, under the supervision of the Copperas Cove Repeater Club, to contact other scouts using both old and new technology.
“A lot of the crew came in early to set up, so they could understand the layout of the antenna, the function of the antenna, the equipment,” said Scoutmaster George Covert.
There were five stations, but Covert said they will plan to expand the stations next year and that this was their “proof of principle” year, so they’ve seen there’s interest in the event.
Covert said this is the 60th year for the National Jamboree On The Air, but this is the first year this troop has participated in the event in more than 20 years, at least, but nobody remembers the last time this was held by the Boy Scouts in Copperas Cove.
Interest for the vent was piqued when Covert’s crew attended the field day at the park in June, decided they liked what they saw, and put together Saturday’s event with the help of the Repeater Club and the Boy Scout’s sponsoring organization, VFW Post 8577.
One of the goals for the Jamboree was to keep track of the different places with which they were able to make contact. Some of the locations with which the scouts and radio operators made contact were Lakeland, Fla., California, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The scouts operated under the direct supervision and with assistance from licensed radio operators like Budd Johnson, one of the repeater club members present on Saturday.
Johnson has been a member of the Copperas Cove Repeater Club for three years and received his first license in 1966 when he was in high school.
“My motto is, it’s a hobby with a purpose. So, with that said, I direct all my interest through emergency management,” Johnson said, who added that he is currently an amateur radio liaison for the city of Copperas Cove and Coryell County, as well as Fort Hood emergency management. He thinks it is important that the scouts get to see another way to communicate, particularly in the case of an emergency.
Part of Saturday’s event was showing the scouts the protocol of talking on the amateur radio.
“They wanted to talk, but you can’t talk on top of somebody else,” he said.
Caleb Callahan is one of the Boy Scouts who used the radios on Saturday, and said he’d like to try it again.
“Someday, maybe I’ll get my own radio and license,” he said. “It’s good to know there’s another way you can contact someone. I think the old technology is the best.”
Scouts like Callahan had the chance to make the rounds through three radio stations, one internet station, and see a homemade antenna class, as well as see how solar-powered batteries and equipment are utilized, something that comes in handy an emergency, Covert said.