Summer Scout Camp

I was an adult leader for my son Josh’s Scout Troop during their summer at Hidden Valley Scout Camp in Gilmanton, NH. I set up a field radio to introduce amateur radio to the 40 or so co-ed Scouts in Troop 119, Lexington.

From our troop’s campsite we made 47 two-way contacts to 6 different countries. Our most distant contact was from NH to Italy, 6,569 km.

Map of the world showing radio contacts made at Hidden Valley Scout Camp

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Xeigu G90 radio, log book and battery on a picnic table

Most afternoons during the week, I operated the radio in the camp site. Curious Scouts would come by to ask questions about what I was doing.

On Wednesday, I was able set up a pre-arranged contact with W1TEN, Greg who is another Scout Leader in NH.

A sked is a pre-arranged or scheduled contact between ham radio operators.

W1TEN was operating about 44 miles away from our campsite. Such a close distance for High Frequency bands meant that we would have to rely on ground wave propagation rather than sky wave propagation which is less predictable. Would it work? Would Greg’s station be in our radio’s skip zone?

The ARRL has an excellent paper on HF propagation called Radio Waves and the Ionosphere

It worked fine! Greg, some Scouts and I talked and learned about amateur radio together. We were joined by N1ATE, Nathan, who was the Radio Merit Badge Counselor at Hidden Valley.

When I was a teenager I worked at Katahdin Scout Reservation as a camp counselor for 4 summers. Nathan (N1ATE), mentioned above, is the son of a long time friend and coworker from those years. Spending time with Ben’s son Nate was a real privilege and brought back many fond memories of my own time as a Scout.

Greg had recently worked as a volunteer for K2BSA, Radio Scouting at the 2023 National Scout Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. He was well practiced in working with Scouts over the radio and conversing with them on the air.

JOTA, Jamboree on the Air is happening this October 20-23, 2023. You can learn more at

We operated for a few hours in the afternoon over the rest of the week. We had rain the last two days and I was usually operating with a couple Scouts sitting with me and helping by copying into the log book or adjusting the VFO knob.

Many of the radio operators were incredibly patient with the Scouts and spent time with the Scouts to explain radio concepts and ways to enjoy the hobby. I came away very grateful to them and proud to belong to the amateur radio community. Thank you!

I think we got some Scouts hooked. In the Fall we’ll be offering the Radio Merit Badge and I think we’ll have a strong turnout. The radio operators on the other end were really generous with their time and were patient as the Scouts talked on the air.

Here’s a photo of our nighttime operations.

List of the contacts made from our field radio

Date Time Frequency Call Sign
14/08/23 14:15 21.0MHz AA5RN
14/08/23 14:45 14.0MHz K4DX
14/08/23 15:15 14.0MHz K4EPH
14/08/23 19:50 21.0MHz EA7GX
15/08/23 19:05 14.0MHz K9ISB
15/08/23 19:06 14.0MHz KD9SZN
15/08/23 19:15 21.0MHz DK9BO
15/08/23 19:30 18.0MHz S52WW
15/08/23 20:10 14.0MHz KD9SZN
15/08/23 20:11 14.0MHz KB4LOA
15/08/23 20:11 14.0MHz KD9MSP
15/08/23 20:12 18.0MHz IU3BTY
15/08/23 20:54 18.0MHz LX90RTL
16/08/23 18:50 7.0MHz N2NNF
16/08/23 18:55 7.0MHz W1TEN
16/08/23 19:50 14.0MHz KA0EZE
16/08/23 20:04 14.0MHz N4TAT
16/08/23 20:25 14.0MHz NS9T
17/08/23 16:30 14.0MHz KC1YL
17/08/23 16:38 14.0MHz W5WB
17/08/23 16:45 14.0MHz AA4BC
17/08/23 16:58 14.0MHz KE8FHB
17/08/23 17:03 14.0MHz KD9TZ
17/08/23 17:23 14.0MHz KE8PZN
17/08/23 17:23 14.0MHz K8GQ
17/08/23 17:28 14.0MHz WA4VOC
18/08/23 14:35 21.0MHz KY4EJ
18/08/23 14:40 21.0MHz NC4ON
18/08/23 15:03 14.0MHz KB8SSH
18/08/23 15:03 14.0MHz KB8VON
18/08/23 15:05 14.0MHz KQ4KK
18/08/23 15:15 14.0MHz KC3RDV
18/08/23 15:25 14.0MHz WD5GNX
18/08/23 15:30 14.0MHz KC3ECY
18/08/23 15:58 14.0MHz K3IWI
18/08/23 17:30 14.0MHz KI5GTR
18/08/23 17:35 14.0MHz N9VFR
18/08/23 17:45 14.0MHz WD5GNX
18/08/23 17:48 14.0MHz AC4HI
18/08/23 17:54 14.0MHz N5MIG
18/08/23 17:59 14.0MHz KN4VGY
18/08/23 18:30 14.0MHz KD9TQH
18/08/23 18:36 14.0MHz N4JAH
18/08/23 19:35 14.0MHz WC4Y
18/08/23 20:40 14.0MHz KD9OBF
18/08/23 20:41 14.0MHz W9BDX
18/08/23 20:55 7.0MHz N1XXU