In Casa Grande, Arizona, Dr. Ryan Southworth and his wife have developed a step-to-step guide to transform HEPA filters into high efficiency face masks. Wearing a mask whenever leaving your home has been shown to be an effective way to reduce the risk of aspirating the COVID-19 virus. Wearing a mask is also an important method of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 should you already be infected (possibly even unknowingly).
Be prepared and consider making these masks for everyone in your home and then wearing them.
As much as we all want to avoid COVID-19, we need to acknowledge the possibility that someone at home may become infected with the virus. As responsible people, we need to prepare for this possibility so that we are able to care for others and also reduce exposure to those outside our homes. Here is a checklist of items to consider having on-hand at home before you need them:
Prescription medication to last at least two to four-weeks
So what is a scout to do when sheltering at home, with no school, no sports, no scouting activities, ....???
A great use of extra time on your hands is to study to earn your very own FCC Amateur Radio Technician License!!! Earning your Amateur Radio Technician license allows you to operate radio equipment on the amateur radio bands.
Amateur radio is a really fun and interesting STEM hobby and is a great way to communicate during emergencies when other forms of communication fail (be prepared). It also prepares you for the largest scouting activity in the world: the annual Jamboree On The Air. With your technician license you can communicate with people all around the world with basic radio equipment or join in exciting radio contests or communicate using amateur radio satellites or even talk to astronauts on the international space station. One of my favorite radio contacts was with a science expedition in Antarctica!
You can study for your Amateur Radio Technician License online from home using hamtestonline.com. Many people find they are able to prepare with around 20 hours of studying. My Son Shea (KC2VSR) is an Eagle Scout and earned his license when he was 9 years old. You can earn your FCC license too! Once you earn your license it is yours for the rest of your life.
Scouts who earn their amateur radio license are eligible to wear the awesome BSA Amateur Radio Operator strip on their uniform. Earning your license is also an excellent way to work on your radio merit badge.
We recently encountered the latin phrase, "amici probantur rebus adversis" which is attributed to the Roman philosopher Cicero and translates to, "friends are proved by adversity". This gave us pause and we were reminded of the corollary, "a fair weather friend changes with the wind". Together these two sayings mean that we can judge who are our real friends (versus acquaintances) in difficult times.
Time and again radio amateurs have proved that they are indeed good friends to their communities facing adversity. Hams provide emergency communication services to help those in need. The Amateur Radio Service is there when all else fails. So too are the radio amateurs.
Kudos to you friends. We are grateful knowing you will be there when the going gets tough.