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Northampton Scout Amateur Radio Group

Radio Scouting Badge

How and when it all started

The Northampton Scout Amateur Radio Group had its first meeting in 1981 and spent its first few years moving around local Scout troop huts and then into a local School where the caretaker was a very active short wave listener. (I remember spending many hours in his shack Ed.)

During the early years the group used to travel on Saturdays to the Radio Station at Gilwell Park, helping them to run courses and entertain Scouts and visitors from all over the world.  When we first started going to Gilwell it was decided  to move the radio station from its old location on the Branchet Field to its present location at the back of "the Lid".  Erecting antennas, carrying out major building work and rewiring  taught us a lot.

These lessons became invaluable a few years later when our dream became true and NSARG had the offer of a building that we could call our shack.

The only trouble was we had to dismantle it, move it from the other side of  town and rebuild it at the Scout training ground.

So with the help of the Overstone Service Team and a few of our friends from Gilwell Scout Amateur Radio Group we started the task on the Bank holiday weekend in August 1985. After a lot of swearing, loss of blood, and good old Scout initiative the building was moved to its present location; by the end of the weekend the building was half re-erected.

The hard work had only just begun. We had two months to have the building operational for JOTA (Jamboree on the Air). We spent most evenings and weekends working on the interior of the building and on the Friday of Jota we were operational.

The group uses the callsigns:  G6NDS, G0NDS and GB4NDS.

The group runs courses for Scout Radio Communicator, Scout Electronics, Scout Radio Communicator Instructor and  Information Technology Staged badge courses. In recent years our membership has expanded to cater for all sections of the Movement. A number of Cub Scouts have joined the Group and we now have our own specialist Explorer Scout Unit. Our range of Activity Badge courses is expanding to cover the requirements of badges available to the Beaver, Cub and Explorer sections as well as improving our Scout section training.

In addition to courses for Activity Badges, the Group has organised a number of courses for Scouts to obtain their own Amateur Radio licences and we have several Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced licensees amongst our members.

The group was formed to give the Scouts of Northampton the opportunity to learn about Radio Scouting and associated technology based activities.  Many have obtained their own amateur radio licences and some have gone on to follow careers in the radio, electronics or computer industry.