The Bunnell Secret Sounder

From the January 1982 "Dots and Dashes" by Cecil Combs

Back in the 30's a dear friend, Bro. Bob Jensen, and I worked at a local broadcast station in Lincoln, Nebraska. Many years ago Bob moved to California and now resides in Sherman Oaks. We had not met in forty or more years. Bob remembered that I used this type of sounder when copying baseball games for radio rebroadcast and knew I was fond of tele graph equipment of that era, but he didn't realize that I never expected to see a secret sounder again. The picture showing Bob presenting the little gem to your Editor cannot possibly convey my pleasure and words are inadequate to express my thanks for his thoughtfulness.

These Morse circuits extended over the entire nation in those days. The operator at the ball park was sending the story as it happened and could not tolerate a break or an open wire. Western Union CND center in Chicago was aware immediately of the failure of any leg of this wire and CND copied the game and as soon as the circuit was restored, they filled you in until they were caught up with the game. Many times my announcer would tell the listeners the game was being delayed because of rain or some other reason.

Recently President Ronald Reagan said when the wire went out, he had the hitter bitting foul balls by the dozen. Wonder who paid for all those balls? By the use of the Secret sounder and a pencil the audience was unaware that the radio announcer was not present at the ball park.

(By C. D. Combs)

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