Hello from Chicago. Hope everyone is enjoying time outside, especially with Field Day upon us.
I'm looking for some ideas to incorporate radio into a survival exercise with my Boy Scout Troop.
Each December, we take to the back woods of Michigan for a weekend survival camp. The boys dig trenches, build shelters, and sleep in the snow. They make their own meals with limited provisions. It's an individual effort and the boys learn that they can make it using the Scoutcraft they know.
This year, I plan to bring along my Field Expedient Station (FT-817ND, Chameleon Emcom III Portable) without digital. Just phone for simplicity.
My first thought is to demonstrate how to build a hasty antenna deployment. Maybe an end-fed inverted Vee. Simulate a distress call (not sure how I will do that). Try to make contact in the daytime (groundwave) and night (skywave).
I would appreciate any input you have.
Morse code with flashlights! Then have them try to decode slow code on the radio...
And as for simulating a distress call, perhaps you can prearrange a call with a ham you know. Have the scouts provide you with coordinates from a map or gps. Make it vary clear on the air that it's an exercise or simulation and make the information passed benign so that other hams don't get excited by tuning into the middle of the QSO.
If you can set up a 60 or 80 meter wire you can be pretty sure of solid local QRP contacts using NVIS.
I suggest not using words like "Mayday" or SOS in Morse... Even for a simulation, and even with a warning.
Agreed! Avoid real distress calls!
A simulated emergency call should have some goals to be met to prove that the exercise was successful though. When organizations like ARES demonstrate their abilities to public service agencies, they have to show the value of the radio by proving that important/life saving communications can reliably be handled by their radios. They do this by transmitting non-important but equally challenging messages. Things like your coordinates are a good test of successful communication since it's something that can easily get messed up in the transmission with all those numbers (number don't have context to help fill in the blanks), and it's something that would likely have to be transmitted in a real crisis. It also involves other survival skills like being able to read a map or use a GPS, so it ties the radio in with the rest of the outing.