Four Rivers

Baltimore Area Council
Boy Scouts of America

Merit Badge Requirements
Radio Merit Badge

1. Explain what radio is. Include in your explanation: the differences between broadcast radio and hobby radio, and the differences between broadcasting and two-way communicating. Also discuss broadcast radio and amateur radio call signs and using phonetics.
2. Sketch a diagram showing how radio waves travel locally and around the world. How do the broadcast radio stations, WWV and WWVH, help determine what you will hear when you listen to a radio?
3. Do the following:
(a) Draw a chart of the electromagnetic spectrum covering 100 kilohertz (khz) to 1000 megahertz (Mhz).
(b) Label the LF, MF, HF, VHF, UHF, and microwave portions of the spectrum on your diagram.
(c) Locate on your chart at least eight radio services such as AM and FM commercial broadcast, CB, television, amateur radio (at least four ham radio bands), and police.
(d) Discuss why some radio stations are called DX and others are called local. Explain who the FCC and the ITU are.
4. Explain how radio waves carry information. Include in your explanation: transceiver, transmitter, amplifier, and antenna.
5. Learn the safety precautions for working with radio gear, particularly Dc and Rf grounding.
6. Do the following:
(a) Explain the differences between a block diagram and a schematic diagram.
(b) Draw a block diagram that includes a transceiver, amplifier, microphone, antenna, and feedline.
(c) Explain the differences between an open circuit, a closed circuit, and a short circuit.
(d) Draw ten schematic symbols. Explain what three of the represented parts do. Find three electrical components to match to three of these symbols.
7. Do ONE of the following (a, b,or c):
(a) Amateur radio
      (1) Describe some of the activities that amateur radio operators can do on the air, once
      they have earned an amateur radio license.
      (2) Carry on a 10-minute real or simulated ham radio contact using voice or Morse code;
      use proper call signs, Q signals, and abbreviations. (Licensed ham radio operators may
      substitute five QSL cards as evidence of contacts with amateur radio operators from at
      least three different call districts.)
      (3) With the help of a local amateur radio operator, talk to and properly log at least two
      Morse code radio contacts. Record signal reports. Explain how often amateur radio
      operators must give their call signs during a radio contact.
      (4) Explain a least five Q signals or amateur radio terms you hear while listening.
      (5) Explain some differences between the Novice Class license and the Technician Class
      license requirements and privileges. Explain who gives amateur radio exams.
      (6) Explain how you would make an emergency call on voice or Morse code. Tell why
      the FCC has an amateur radio service.
      (7) Explain handheld transceivers versus home "base" stations. Explain about mobile
      amateur radios and amateur radio repeaters.
(b) Broadcast radio
      (1) Prepare a program schedule for radio station "KBSA" of exactly one-half hour,
      including music, news, commercials, and proper station identification. Record your program
      on audio tape using proper techniques.
      (2) Listen to and properly log fifteen broadcast stations; determine for five of these their
      transmitting power and general areas served.
      (3) Explain at least eight terms used in commercial broadcasting such as Segue, cut, and
      (4) Discuss the educational and licensing requirements and career opportunities in broadcast
(c) Short-wave listening
      (1) Listen across several short-wave bands for two four-hour periods, one in the early
      morning, the other in the early evening. Log the stations properly and locate them
      geographically on the globe.
      (2) For several major foreign stations (BBC in Great Britain or HCJB in Ecuador, for
      example), list several frequency bands used by each.
      (3) Compare your morning and evening logs, noting the frequencies on which your selected
      stations were loudest during each session. Explain the differences in signal strength from one
      period to the next.
      (4) Discuss the purpose of and careers in short-wave communications.
8. Visit a radio installation approved in advance by your counselor (ham radio station, broadcast station, or public service communications center, for example). Discuss what types of equipment you saw in use, how it was used, what types of licenses required to operate and maintain the equipment, and the purpose of the station.

Merit Badge Counselors


Merit Badge List

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Most recent revision November 21, 1998