BSA Radio Merit Badge – Requirement Nine – A1

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Requirement One
Requirement Two
Requirement Three
Requirement Four
Requirement Five
Requirement Six
Requirement Seven
Requirement Eight
Requirement Nine-A1
Requirement Nine-A2
Requirement Nine-A3
Requirement Nine-A4
Requirement Nine-A5
Requirement Nine-A6
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NOTE:  Radio Merit Badge gives you the options for requirement 9 of learning about Amateur Radio, Broadcast Radio or Shortwave Listening.  Most Scouts choose the quicker Amateur Radio option, so that one is shown right here on the main pages. 


But if you wish to do the Broadcast Radio or Shortwave Listening tracks instead , just click on the links below to complete those alternative set of requirement 9 requirements to finish the Merit Badge.

Click Here to jump to the alternate 9b. BROADCAST RADIO requirements instead.

Click Here to jump to the alternate 9c. SHORTWAVE LISTENING Requirements instead.


9. Do ONE of the following (a OR b OR c):


(1) Tell why the FCC has an amateur radio service. Describe some of the activities that amateur radio operators can do on the air, once they have earned an amateur radio license.

Amateur Radio is a hobby where people help others, learn about radio and have fun. It’s called Amateur Radio because the frequencies can’t be used for commercial (money-making) purposes.  It’s also called “Ham Radio”

The FCC has an Amateur Radio Service for:

  • Volunteer service – (community service and disaster help). A Scout does a good turn daily – here’s another way.
  • International goodwill  – A great way to talk to people in far away lands.
  • Experimentation  – If you want, you can build your own radio equipment, and many hams build their own antennas. Some hams have come up with new inventions, such as FM, SSB, Packet Radio, Automatic Position Reporting Systems.
  • Communication skills   – Because only one person can talk at a time, you learn how to listen!
  • Self-training  – You can learn by doing.

Fox Hunt – Photo Courtesy of

Hams do lots of things!  A few are:

Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) is the third weekend every October when Scouts all over the world talk to each other on ham radio.

DX – Lots of hams like to talk to other hams around the world and collect postcards called QSL cards to prove they did it. It’s a great way to have fun and learn about geography.


Contests are held many weekends when you try to contact as many people from a certain place or in a certain way.


Public Service at parades & special events – Ham radio operators are often the best people to help with communication at large community events, from small carnivals all the way up to the Boston and New York City Marathons.


Disasters – Hams are often called on to help during fires, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters. At these times, telephone lines and cell phone sites are often damaged or overloaded, and ham radio is the only reliable communication.


Skywarn – National Weather Service uses Hams to report severe weather.


Digital Communications –  Some hams hook their computers to their radios so they can send electronic messages, sort of like wireless e-mail.


Camping communications are easy even in the backcountry when you need to get help or just let the folks back home know how things are going.


65 Great Things about Amateur Radio