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Author Topic: CW alive & well with the Boy Scouts  (Read 5648 times)
W5INC
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« on: July 03, 2012, 08:45:58 AM »

The Boy Scouts of America have just issued a "Morse Code Interpreter Strip" an official patch from the BSA. This patch joins several other "languages" that are now in the Interpreter Strip category. Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Sign language and a few others are now joined with the Morse code as languages for the Scouts to use to earn this patch.

 To earn this Interpreter patch, the Scouts have to carry on a 5 minutes conversation, translate 200 words from the written word, write a letter in the language and translate a 2 minute speech in the language. Morse code is a little different from these other languages so the BSA made some changes from this format for the Morse Code Interpreter Strip.

 To earn the new Morse Code strip, the Scouts must carry on a 5 minute conversation @ 5 WPM. Copy correctly a 2 minute message sent @ 5 WPM and must send a 25 word document @ 5 WPM without any mistakes.

 IMO, this is a great idea the BSA has come up with and this might be the time for the Amateur Radio community of CW OPs to do something positive to help in this worth while cause. I am working with the BSA here in the Houston area, trying to set up some HF stations for the Scouts to use while in their 1 week rotation at BSA camp grounds here in TX. I will be donating 4 hybrid HF radios along with some old straight keys, code practice oscillator, that is sitting here @ my QTH gathering dust and can be put to better use helping a new generation learn the code.

 If other CW OPs have old unused CW equipment sitting around their QTHs, gathering dust, why not donate this equipment to the BSA in your area (so you can see the results, hopefully in person) and get young folks involved in your passion for CW/Amateur radio. Instead of just talking about the demise of CW, lets do something about it and help grow a new "crop" of CW Ops that will keep this great form of communication alive and well, for many years to come.  Smiley This invite does extend to the small percentage of professional high speed CW OPs, whose egos are way overblown and have become legends in their own minds, IMO, can possibly join us mortals in supporting this cause . Wink
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 09:27:14 AM by W5INC » Logged
K7KBN
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 02:33:01 PM »

I note that the Interpreter Strip says "Morse Code", not "CW".  Scouts are doing something right!!
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 03:24:18 PM »

I note that the Interpreter Strip says "Morse Code", not "CW".  Scouts are doing something right!!

Right,  laughing Haloween cheese icone (  Cheesy  ) propose to the webmaster to change the title of this forum chapter to Morse Code, because CW is continuous wave, that is a sinewave carrier without any further information.

Above that when you say CW is on off keying of a carrier, myriads of codes are possible, one of them in international Morse Code. Hell has to have a place here for sure, and possibly teletype. Furthermore you can use Morse code with frequency shift keying, as was done in spark transmitters  that used the fact that a spark shows a differential negative resistance.

Bob
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 03:36:28 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged
K5MF
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 06:17:14 AM »

This is great.  I am glad to see it.  Let's see @ 5 wpm a 5 minute conversation will be comprised of about 25 words.  Not going to say much gut the fact is that 25 words of CW is a lot more than many hams can send.  Kudos BSA!

And can we please get off the CW/Morse Code trivial argument. The purpose of communications is to communicate.  And frankly it doesn't matter to me if we call it CW or Morse Code or Telegraphy, we know what the speaker means.  Those who get bogged down in trivial arguments of whether it should be po-tay-to or po-tah-to need to get a real life and take a look their own word usage.  I am sure we can all find technically inappropriate usage yet perfectly clear in meaning of words in our everyday conversations.

73's       Oh wait, 73 means "Best Regards"  so does 73's mean "Best Regardses?"

73

Tom/AE5QB
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W5INC
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 09:18:49 AM »

Quote
This is great.  I am glad to see it.  Let's see @ 5 wpm a 5 minute conversation will be comprised of about 25 words.  Not going to say much gut the fact is that 25 words of CW is a lot more than many hams can send.  Kudos BSA!

 TNX Tom AE5BQ and the other members who have posted their comments on this thread. Smiley

 The BSA is moving in the right direction on offering the Scouts a chance to earn an award and be recognized for learning the Morse code. I was fortunate enough to have a Elmer W2ZDV (SK) who took the time to educate me in the very fine art of Morse code/CW. I don't have the talent that Buck did in operating CW as he was very prolific and could send/receive code with the best of them. I still remember to this day the amazement I felt when Buck was running his HW-101 station at 40 WPM. It did make a impact on me and I wanted to be as good as my Elmer was.

 I am hoping sometime here in the near future, to be able to have a much better CW operator then myself give a live demonstration to the Scouts. To actually see a Master CW OP at work, might just give some of the younger folks the same amazement I felt when I seen high speed CW work for the first time. You sure can't grow a crop without planting seeds. Just maybe this BSA program will plant some seeds and the AR ranks can add some new OPs to the CW portion of the bands.   Smiley
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KC1BMD
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 07:37:56 AM »

W5INC: I know this is an old post but I knew "Buck" when I lived in Elmont, NY. My dad was in the Navy (WWII radio operator) and got me started with his old "78's" to learn the code. Along with another Elmer, Buck helped me get started with my first station as a Novice, and later General (Heath DX-60B + VFO and Hammarlund HQ110). Now, after stupidly letting my license expire (WB2HMX) when I went to college, some 40+ years later I went back to get my ticket last year (General, for now). I'm challenged now in a condo (attic fan dipole) but I'm able to get out, even if one CO detector near my 2nd floor shack complains. I remember Buck's station! I recall he had the real high power stuff in a cage with high voltage signs. His voice used to just boom and blast everything in my radius on AM (I didn't have SSB on my rig and was maybe a half a mile from his shack). He was super fast on the bug and just blew me away. I was also in Scouts (Eagle/OA), Troop 199, Elmont, NY. I wonder, did you live in the area or maybe Buck moved elsewhere later?

73!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 04:25:51 AM by KC1BMD » Logged
K6RAU
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2015, 12:58:48 AM »

Here's a link to a code course for beginners that was transmitted in the 1950's on 160 meter AM to help scouts learn Morse Code in meeting requirements for the (then) Signaling Merit Badge:

       http://www.pdarrl.org/K6RAU/ 
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KC1BMD
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2015, 03:23:27 AM »

Thanks! That is fantastic! Somewhere I still have my sash with that merit badge on it.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2015, 04:06:56 AM »

And don't forget the best part, signaling with your flashlight in Morse between tents after lights out at Boy Scout camp.
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KC1BMD
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 04:27:03 AM »

W5INC: I don't see any recent activity. Are you still here?
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K7KBN
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2015, 11:04:48 AM »

I dug out my old copy of the "Handbook for Boys" - Sixth Printing, 1953.  Here are the requirements for the Signaling merit badge at that time:

1. Make an electric buzzer outfit, wireless, blinker, or other signaling device.

2. Send and receive in the International Morse Code, by buzzer or other sound device, a complete message of not less than 35 words, at a rate of not less than 35 letters per minute.

3.  Demonstrate an ability to send and receive a message in the International Morse Code by wigwag and by blinker or other light signaling device, at a rate of not less than 20 letters per minute.

4.  Send and receive by Semaphore Code at a rate of not less than 30 letters per minute.

5.  Know the proper application of the International Morse and Semaphore Codes; when, where and how they can be used to best advantage.

6.  Discuss briefly various other codes and methods of signaling which are in common use.

[Footnote]  A Second Class Scout must first qualify for First Class Scoutcraft requirement 6.  This required knowing Morse (including procedure signals), sending and receiving a message of 20 words over a distance of at least 100 yards by sound or light.

There was a Radio merit badge at that time also.  If you held a valid amateur license, you were exempted from all the merit badge requirements except for drawing a wiring diagram for a one-tube receiver, explaining the purpose of each part, and then actually BUILDING the receiver and demonstrate its function by receiving at least five different stations.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KC1BMD
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2015, 11:32:05 AM »

Those were fairly stiff requirements for a young guy. I know I got the Signaling badge but left scouting before I got the Radio badge. I then went on to get my Novice and General in High School. I'll have to look for my Eagle sash to be certain. I'm sure I saved that somewhere.
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K7KBN
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2015, 01:14:57 PM »

I've mentioned my troop's Assistant Scoutmaster before - retired Master Chief Quartermaster USN.  He learned us kids up good and proper in sound Morse, flashing light Morse, and semaphore.  He wasn't at all familiar with "wigwag", which I believe was developed by scouts for scouts.  Probably wrong on that, but once we explained that, as the Germans say, "Dot's right!", he had no problem with it.  At Camporees and some extended long-distance hikes through Southern Nevada and the foothills, Troop 88 was always the go-to bunch for communicating.  We even tried smoke signals, but with the variable winds across the desert, that was pretty much a non-starter.  The other guys in the troop would assume we were cooking lunch and try to verify that with a LONG wigwag flag!
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Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
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