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Radio merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1923
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 093
Requirements revision: 2002
Latest pamphlet revision: 2001


Radio requirements

  1. Explain what radio is. Then discuss the following:
    a. The differences between broadcast radio and hobby radio.
    b. The differences between broadcasting and two-way communications.
    c. Radio call signs and how they are used in broadcast radio and amateur radio
    d. The phonetic alphabet and how it is used to communicate clearly.
  2. Do the following:
    a. Sketch a diagram showing how radio waves travel locally and around the world. Explain how the broadcast radio stations, WWV and WWVH can be used to help determine what you will hear when you listen to a shortwave radio.
    b. Explain the difference between a DX and a local station. Discuss what the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) does and how it is different from the International Telecommunication Union.
  3. Do the following:
    a. Draw a chart of the electromagnetic spectrum covering 100 kilohertz (kHz) to 1000 megahertz (MHz).
    b. Label the 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, citizens band (CB), television, amateur radio (at least four amateur radio bands), and public service (police and fire).
  4. Explain how radio waves carry information. Include in your explanation: transceiver, transmitter, receiver, amplifier, and antenna.
  5. Do the following:
    a. Explain the differences between a block diagram and a schematic diagram.
    b. Draw a block diagram for a radio station that includes a transceiver, amplifier, microphone, antenna, and feed line.
    c. Explain the differences between an open circuit a closed circuit, and a short circuit.
    d. Draw eight schematic symbols. Explain what three of the represented parts do. Find three electrical components to match to three of these symbols.
  6. Explain the safety precautions for working with radio gear, including the concept of grounding for direct current circuits, power outlets, and antenna systems.
  7. Visit a radio installation (an amateur radio station, broadcast station, or public communications center, for example) approved in advance by your counselor. Discuss what types of equipment you saw in use, how it was used, what types of licenses are required to operate and maintain the equipment, and the purpose of the station.
  8. Find out about three career opportunities in radio. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
  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.
    2. Using proper call signs, Q signals, and abbreviations, carry on a 10 minute real or simulated radio contact using voice, Morse Code, or digital mode. (Licensed amateur radio operators may substitute five QSL cards as evidence of contacts with amateur radio operators from at least three different call districts.) Properly log the real or simulated ham radio contact and record the signal report.
    3. Explain at least five Q signals or amateur radio terms you hear while listening.
    4. Explain some of the differences between the Technician, General, and Extra Class license requirements and privileges. Explain who administers amateur radio exams.
    5. Explain how you would make an emergency call on voice or Morse code.
    6. Explain the differences between handheld transceivers and home "base" transceivers. Explain the uses of mobile amateur radio transceivers and amateur radio repeaters.
    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 audiotape or in a digital audio format using proper techniques.
    2. Listen to and properly log 15 broadcast stations Determine the program format and target audience for five of these stations.
    3. Explain at least eight terms used in commercial broadcasting, such as segue, cut, fade, continuity, remote, Emergency Alert System, network, cue, dead air, PSA, and playlist..
    1. Listen across several shortwave bands for four one-hour periods - at least one period during daylight hours and at least one period at night. Log the stations properly and locate them geographically on a 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 daytime and nighttime logs ; note the frequencies on which your selected stations were loudest during each session. Explain the differences in the signal strength from one period to the next.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2014 Edition (BSA Supply No. 33216 - SKU# 619576)

The text of these requirements is locked and can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Radio is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Radio requirements. has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks,
Webelos workbooks, and Cub Scout workbooks.
  1. Per the BSA: "You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject." Pamphlets (books) are at local Scout Shops and online at
  2. "Get a signed Merit Badge application from your Scoutmaster." An online, printable Word doc file version is available.

Requirement resources

Related awards

See also

Boy Scout portal
Varsity Scout portal
Venturing portal

General Merit Badge information

External links

Aids for Counselors and Scouts

- Radio Merit Badge Website -

ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League)

To dig deeper into radio, consider the amateur radio Technician license at the ARRL links below.

FCC (Federal Communications Commission)

NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration)

ITU (International Telecommunication Union)



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