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Re: Passing on the Ransome Legacy-now MORSE CODE

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Posted by Ed Kiser on October 22, 2019 at 06:36:31 user Kisered.

In Reply to: Re: Passing on the Ransome Legacy-now MORSE CODE posted by Martin Honor on October 22, 2019 at 00:21:14:

Martin - thanks for the reply.

GROUPS - excellent memory gimmick for learning MORSE CODE

The pairs of opposites, such as S O, I M, E T, G W (gee wizz), A N, R K, L F.

Some words are good practice, such as LEFT, with it's two pairs of opposites. L F, and E T.

The similar patterns, as Y and Q, as both have 3 DASHes and one DOT, but differ as to where that DOT goes among the DASHes.

In the special chars are also pairs, such as COMMA and QUESTION MARK.

Those two have a somewhat cute memory gimmick: COMMA, which is:
DASH DASH DOT DOT DASH DASH. Draw it and look at the pattern. The COMMA means a PAUSE for a moment, a sort of interruption. Think of driving down a highway, hit a pot hole, and continue down the highway. The "?" is DOT DOT DASH DASH DOT DOT, just the opposite. When one has a question, that questioning look is eyes wide, and a wrinkled forehead. So think of two eyes with the wrinkled forehead in between. Each EYE ("I") is DOT DOT, and use DASH DASH for the forehead wrinkles.

The MORSE CODE patterns define individual letters. There is the usage of a single letter to mean a whole statement as you pointed out. This is a sort of "code within a code". In a way, that is what ordinary SPELLING is, where a group of LETTERS signify a WORD. For that matter, speaking in any language can be considered a code, where certain sounds mean a concept. Here again, the receiver has to know the code to understand what the sender is saying, or "sending".

The short wave radio has quite a collection of a few letters that have a detailed meaning, such as "CQ" - "CALLING, IS ANYONE OUT THERE? IF YOU HEAR ME, PLEASE ANSWER." There is quite a shorthand language used by those operators.

TEXTING on a cell phone is developing along similar lines, where a brief set of chars has a meaning, like "U" for "YOU". The old rules of SPELLING seem to just get in the way, and take up too much effort.

There are other codes, not just MORSE. Such as, a WINK can mean, "Just kidding". A traffic light has a RED to mean STOP, and a GREEN to mean GO. We use abbreviations as a sort of code. Sometimes a word is really just the first letters of some expression, as SCUBA is from "Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus." And there is USA, a code for the country. Those three letters is not the name of the nation, but is a commonly understood abbreviation. There are certain movements called "body language", facial expressions, hand movements - each has a certain meaning. My car beaps when shifted into reverse. It beats faster if I forget to fasten my seat belt. The car flashes warning lights that to understand the problem, I have to get out my owner's manual and look up that code to find out what it is trying to tell me.

There are alarms, loud, irritating, but have special meanings. Our town sounds an alarm at NOON, meaning two things: "IT IS NOON", and "THE ALARM IS WORKING OK." Now, I hope that tornado does not strike exactly at NOON, or we just might get the wrong translation of the meaning.

Code is all very good, short, abbreviated, but is meaningless unless the receiver understands the code. I was in a department store with a rather loud alarm suddenly went off. I wondered if perhaps I should dive under a table, or just run for it. I asked an employee clerk near by as to what that alarm meant. She paused what she was doing, looked up with a questioning frown on her face, listened for a few blasts, then said, "The alarm is working." I don't think she understood that alarm any better that I did. Perhaps she had heard it so many times before that really had not noticed it this time at all. Whatever that message was, it was not properly received.

Our lives are full of codes, special symbols. We try to learn about these to get the message. Sometimes a code however is not understood.

I enjoyed Ransome using codes, such as SUSAN blowing her whistle, a DOT DOT DASH, which sometimes had perhaps a different meaning from time to time, other than "YOU ARE STANDING INTO DANGER" as sometimes she meant "COME HERE." Ransome did make use of a single FLAG of a certain design to have special meaning in several situations.

WINTER HOLIDAY used MORSE, and the single flag with its meanings, as well as the two flag semaphore. That book was the start of my wanting to know more about that concept of communication, and set me to studying MORSE as one of those methods. I am grateful for him opening my eyes and mind to those fascinating modes of communication. But then, his writings taught me so much, things like building an open fire (the wigwam of twigs), the concepts of sailing that were enough for me to manage my own sailboat without any further readings on "HOW TO." I feel a strong sense of gratitude for what I learned from him, and that just adds to the frustration when I want so much to share that Learning with my subsequent generations, to try to get them to read Ransome, and somehow pick up those teachings that were significant in my growing up, but then to be frustrated by their showing no interest in READING Ransome. They are missing out on so much.

It meant so much to me, for that, I am grateful.

Ed Kiser, Kentucky, USA

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