Radio Scouting, 1919


According to the National Eagle Scout Association database, on this day 95 years ago, November 29, 1920, Scout Jack Wilkins  of 715 North Boulevard, Atlanta, a member of Troop 15, became an Eagle Scout.  This achievement was reported in the Atlanta Constitution, December 4, 1920.  This, however, wasn’t the first time this Scout had appeared in the newspaper.

In 1919, Mr. Wilkins, then 15 years old, was featured in Atlanta’s Sunday American, and the article was reprinted in the November 1919 issue of Radio Amateur News, with the photo shown here.

The article, entitled “Scout Jack Wilkins is a Young Marconi” reports that Wilkins had completed his station and was able to receive radiograms every night from Arlington, Key West, Florida, and other government stations, as well as ship stations along the Atlantic seaboard. His station, described as efficient and orderly, used a four-wire antenna. Since American amateurs were still off the air, the article reports that Wilkins was waiting impatiently for permission to “throw on the rotary gap and send 15,000 volts flashing into the air bearing his messages.”

I didn’t find any record of Wilkins holding a license in 1920, so it’s unclear as to whether he was able to unleash that rotary gap. The article reports that he was also working on a portable set to use in connection with scouting activities.

The article also identifies another scout from the same troop, Welsh Geeslin, who had operated a station before the war.


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