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Bugs and Telegraphy

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  • James Wades
    Hi Everyone: I have been monitoring some of the threads here on the forum, and today it hit me that some of you might be interested in the following events: As
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 20, 2008
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      Hi Everyone:

      I have been monitoring some of the threads here on the forum, and
      today it hit me that some of you might be interested in the following

      As many of you know, the "bug" was the preferred tool of the Morse
      (land-line) telegrapher from its inception until the last commercial
      Morse circuits in the US and Canada closed in the 1970s and 1980s.
      The Bug is ideally suited for use with the American Morse Code, which
      was the version of Morse utilized by land-line operators in North
      America; the nature of American Morse being such that it contained
      three different length "dashes."

      Periodically, Morse operators gather from around the US and Canada for
      various events. One such event is the annual "Morse Day", which takes
      place on the last Saturday of April in honor of Samuel Morse's
      birthday. During this event, Morse Telegraph Club Chapters throughout
      the US and Canada are linked together via a nationwide telegraph hub
      system, which permits land-line Morse communications between multiple
      offices using standard telegraph instruments.

      Another event, which will take place in 2008, is the International
      Telegraphers Reunion at Montreal, Quebec on May 31. Telegraphers from
      throughout the US and Canada will gather for a meeting and telegraph

      At the 2006 International Telegraphers Reunion at Dearborn, Michigan,
      we had a telegraph office set up with multiple operating positions
      going "full-out" all evening long. It was quite an experience to see
      former railroad and commercial telegraphers burning up the wire as
      they renewed friendships and conversed at a good rate of speed! Just
      the sound of multiple telegraph sounders operating simultaneously in
      the same room created an atmosphere, which was like taking a step back
      into the past. Of course, every operating position had a bug!

      The reason I mention these events here is that the participants in
      this group obviously have an interest in Bugs, and many undoubtedly
      have an interest in the history of Morse and radiotelegraphy. These
      events provide a rare (and diminishing) opportunity to meet
      individuals who were actually employed in the telegraph industry and a
      rare opportunity to see the use of a bug in the hands of a skilled

      For more information on these events, feel free to contact me. You
      may also let your "fingers do the walking" by visiting the Morse
      Telegraph Club website at:


      For some insights into the activities of a typical active Morse
      Telegraph Club Chapter, visit: www.floridamorse.com (By the
      way, the "album" section is particularly fun!)

      I hope this was of interest to some of you, and 73!

      Jim, K8SIW

      James Wades
      International President
      Morse Telegraph Club
      611 East Park St. No. 110
      Carbondale, IL. 62901

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