DOT 'N DASH ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH SET


the Wanderling


"One day I was snooping around his shop going through his junk, the little guy that I was, when I came across a small rectangular piece of wood that looked all the same as having been a mousetrap at onetime, but instead had coiled wires and other electrical stuff mounted on it with printed words identifying it as a Dot 'N Dash Telegraph Set. The old man told me it was one half of a two part set that when hooked together with wires and a battery could, by using a series of dots and dashes, send messages back and forth between two or more people over long distances."




The "his" in the "One day I was snooping around HIS shop" as found in the opening quote above, referred to an old man, or at least to me he was old, who was the grandfather of the girl next door. The girl, probably age 14 or so, worked for my mother, either babysitting or watching my brothers and me as we played in the neighborhood. The old man, her grandfather, was sort of a Rube Goldberg inventor type guy that seemed like he could fix or build anything. His shop was a junk filled top-to-bottom floor to ceiling detached dirt floor single-car garage in the backyard of the babysitter's property. He was always collecting, working on, and making all kinds of things he said was to thwart the "impending invasion," meaning by the Japanese. The missing or second half of the Dot 'N Dash mousetrap set was never found, although I did nail the half we had to one of the garage-wall studs so we wouldn't lose it in case we ever found the other one, of which we never did. The old man did however, show me how to make a telegraph key using a few nails and stuff and that in the end actually worked.[1]

As for the electronic stuff like the Dot 'N Dash Telegraph Set, if you discount any outside spiritual or inexplicable forces driving me to do so, as I got a little older from that meager start, I began building what was called foxhole radios, because they could be put together and used at practically no cost, being made up mostly of readily available already laying around parts that were cheap, easy to build, or free.



TYPICAL FOXHOLE RADIO USING A RAZOR BLADE AND PENCIL LEAD


I built crystal sets pretty much for the same reasons and in the same way, except for one or two I made from actual purchasable commercial over the counter products. If I bought the first one new or traded something for it from another kid I don't recall, but one way or the other I ended up with one. I remember the set well to this day, a Philmore Crystal Radio Detector. It came in a box with instructions just like in the photo below:


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As per the original suggestions from my babysitter's grandfather along with the devices he gave me or I expanded on for use, for most of my young growing up childhood life I sent and received Morse code from one set to another through wires, continually stringing the devices further and further apart in a attempt to expand the distance between them. For me at the time, even though I may have stretched the distances, the distances weren't so great that wires didn't still remain the simplest most expedient method of transmission.

One day, in about the fifth grade or so while living on the ranch owned by my Stepmother in the high desert of the Mojave, I came across a photograph of a World War II jeep that had a battery operated radio that could both send and receive Morse code with no wires for transmission. Well, we had a jeep, so I figured if I could come up with some sort of transmitting device that ran on batteries I could send Morse code from across the farthest reaches of the ranch from the back of the jeep without the need of transmission wires just like in the photograph.



HOME BUILT SPARK GAP TRANSMITTER. SENDS MORSE CODE W/O WIRES
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I began to research and asking around if there was some practical way I could build or make what I needed either inexpensively and/or with stuff I already had laying around. It wasn't long until I came across with what is known as a spark gap transmitter. From my research I discovered you could build a fairly powerful transmitter centered around an automobile ignition coil. Along with a little adult supervision I was eventually able to build and operate a successful spark gap transmitting device, easily sending Morse code clear across the ranch to my brothers with a receiver in the barn.


SPARK GAP TRANSMITTERS



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ANGRY-26 RADIO RIG. MY HOME DURING CUBA CRISIS, KEY WEST 1962 AND FOR TRAINING
AT THE U.S. ARMY SOUTHEAST SIGNAL CORPS SCHOOL, FORT GORDON, GEORGIA, IN 1963

ANG/RC-26 GRAPHIC COURTESY ANTHONY DEBLASI AND KWLF
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RETURN TO:

WESTERN UNION STANDARD RADIO TELEGRAPH SIGNAL SET


MORSE CODE, HAND KEYS, AND DA VINCI


KLONDIKE BIG INCH LAND COMPANY


FIREHAIR, QUEEN OF THE SAGEBRUSH FRONTIER

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CLICK
HERE FOR
ENLIGHTENMENT

ON THE RAZOR'S
EDGE


E-MAIL
THE WANDERLING

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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.



















MY DAD BOUGHT A WWII SURPLUS JEEP OFF THE DOCKS FOR $225 BUCKS.
SAME AS THE SARGE IN THE PHOTO I WANTED TO SEND MORSE CODE TOO

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Footnote [1]


HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN TELEGRAPH KEY