Monday, 14 September 2009

Morse Code Advocacy

This Saturday gone was hard work, but great fun. I delivered a talk and teach-in to forty-eight 10 - 12 year-old Junior Sea Cadets, along with their twelve adult and senior Cadet team leaders at an Adventure Camp. I presented a potted history, a practical demonstration of current amateur radio usage and then let them loose with keys and oscillators. The kids loved it. They were given a copy of the code, on an A5 sheet, and they sent me their names. I divided them into three-member sub-teams and gave one group the task of composing a distress message, while the other three were shown more about amateur radio. When ready, the distressed group sent their message, and the 'helpers' decoded it and responded...

There was a wide spectrum of interest; some Cadets wanted to know if they could talk to aliens, others wanted to know where they could get keys and beepers. I think a couple of them may be hooked, and we might hear them in future when they have their Foundation Licences.

I had to return home late Saturday evening for domestic reasons, but I've had reports that there were flashing-light Morse signals passed from tent-to-tent after lights-out. Seeing how Morse can capture the imagination of these youngsters, I'm wondering if more could be done to raise the profile of what remains one of the most efficient ways of moving information around our planet. I wrote a short pamphlet about it, and I'm considering writing an extended monograph for just this purpose.

As I often say in this blog, more follows...

No comments: