Thursday, October 27, 2005

Also Wigwagging

Besides the imagery wrapped up in “semaphore,” I confess I was a Boy Scout. I recall desperately trying to earn the Signaling merit badge at summer camp long ago, in North Georgia. Even though we called it “wigwag” in those long, hot summer days, I knew the word “semaphore” – it was in the manual.

Requirements for the Signaling Merit Badge:
1. Know the proper application of the international Morse and semaphore codes and when, where, and how they can be used to best advantage.
2. Make an electric buzzer outfit, radio transmitter, audio oscillator, blinker, or other signaling device.
3. Send and receive a complete message of not less than 35 words in the international Morse code by buzzer or other sound device at a rate of not less than 35 letters per minute.
4. 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.
5. Send and receive a message by semaphore code at a rate of not less than 30 letters per minute.
6. Discuss briefly various other codes and methods of signaling that are in common use.

Sorry to report, I failed these tasks utterly – despite my Daddy’s help and encouragement. Maybe that’s why the Signaling merit badge (#103) was discontinued by the Boy Scouts of America. On the other hand, maybe it was the fax machines.

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