The BSA’s National Awards, Insignia, and Uniforms Committee has advised us that the Amateur Radio Operator Rating Strip has been discontinued. Here’s the message from John Duncan, Volunteer Chair:
The BSA recognizes that our uniform remains an important method in our program delivery. It follows that we must be good stewards of the limited space available on the uniform. It is wonderful that there are so many organizations, certifications, ratings, and professional credentials that are so well aligned with Scouting’s core values, as evidenced by a high volume and continuing flow of similar requests for uniform pieces to identify current military, military veterans, civil servants, doctors and other medical professionals, EMTs, firefighters, law enforcement, clergy/faith leaders, environmental professionals, and others. The view of the committee is that while all such professions, certifications and ratings are laudable, the BSA uniform is not a proper way to recognize any of these. Instead, guidance in response to such proposals is generally what the ARRL has already done — creation of a national-level Award for Service to Scouting, approved for inclusion as part of the community organization knot.
While this is disappointing news, we can take consolation that we had a good run with the rating strip. Moreover, the existing rating strips can continue to be worn on the uniform. Here’s the information shared by the Awards, Insignia, and Uniforms Committee:
All discontinued Boy Scouts of America uniforms and insignia may be worn in keeping with the applicable uniform and insignia guidelines as of the time of their production, so long as condition of original insignia does not detract from the neatness of the uniform. Exact reproductions or “private issue” insignia are not authorized for uniform wear. Furthermore, existing supply will continue to be sold until exhausted, so for the passionate followers, consider buying a lifetime supply now! Although the diagrams errantly created and communicated broadly via Bryan on Scouting never made it into a Guide to Awards and Insignia, existing awards may continue to be worn as depicted in those diagrams, in keeping with this guidance.
Given this information, it’s probably time to stock up on the patches from BSA Supply. It’s order number 617431.
The details for uniform placement and requirements can be found at https://k2bsa.net/operator-rating/
The BSA Scout Shop no longer has the patches in stock. So, we have published a listing of alternative patches including noting that official patches are available on eBay. You can find more at https://k2bsa.net/operator-rating-strip-alternatives/