With Your Keyboard
Signalman Sam suggests that a very good way to practice receiving is by typing each letter on your
keyboard as you receive it. Start Notepad (on Windows) or some other simple text processor that you can type
the message into as you receive it. Then have Signalman Sam send you a message either with the
Semaphore Flagman or the Morse Code Transmitter. Here's a screen shot in the middle of receiving
by Morse Code a message which, of course, is the Scout Law.
This also happens to be very good practice to improve your typing skill, which is certainly another
valuable skill for a communicator such as a signalman to have.
You probably know that a century ago, when the BSA first introduced the Signaling merit badge,
a Scout could not copy
a message by typing it on the keyboard of his computer, because the invention of the PC was still more
than sixty years in the future. Manual typewriters had been invented, but most Scouts probably
did not have access to one. Half a century ago, however, a good operator would often use a typewriter
to help him receive code faster.
This picture of 1950's era Coast Guard radio operators comes from a BSA Signaling merit badge
pamphlet. Clearly this is a Morse Code operation. One operator has his hand on his key,
and both operators have their typewriters at hand.