The 1997 Morse Day Meeting of the Tampa Chapter of the Morse Telegraph Club

From Section 18 of the Articles of Incorporation and By-laws of the Morse Telegraph Club , Inc.

Professor Morse's Birthday

On the last Saturday in April of each year the Grand Chapter will, and each Local Chapter is expected to, hold a meeting, luncheon or banquet to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the inventor of Morse Telegraphy, namely, Professor Samuel F.B. Morse, who was born April 27, 1791, and died April 2, 1872.

See some photos !

by Gregory Raven

The Tampa Florida area has the highest incidence of lightning strikes in North America, and a new record was broken this April on Morse Day. A strong front brought with it high winds, heavy rains, and tornado and waterspout warnings. Fortunately the TP Chapter persevered in spite of the dangerous weather.

Continuing a TP tradition of the last several years, the meeting was held at the Brooksville Depot, which was a stop on the Atlantic Coast Line. The rails no longer remain, but the depot has been preserved and maintained in its original location by the City of Brooksville as a historical museum. The museum provides a wonderful location for Morse Day activities, particularly since some TP chapter members telegraphed from office "BR" during their careers. Fortunately the 110 year old building is still rainproof !

Attendees included the usual characters and some new faces. Unfortunately founding member L.A. Bailey and former secretary/treasurer Don Bice were unable to attend due to the severe weather. They were sorely missed. TP's newest and youngest member Robert Finney showed up in 19th century style agents uniform. Robert is 10 years old, and he was accompanied by his parents and grandfather, who seemed to enjoy the festivities almost as much as Robert !

Morse Day show-and-tell is always interesting. Greg Raven brought his collection of sounders, neatly displayed in a wooden case. Robert Finney brought his collection including working KOBs, straight keys, early radio equipment, and a Speed-X bug. Paul English brought a Morse relay that he had actually used in dispatching trains by Morse telegraph. A copy of the reprinted book "American Telegraphy" by William Maver Jr. was available for inspection, and it was given good reviews by all.

No Morse Day is complete without some genuine brasspounding, and a dial-up telegraph set supplied the requirement with superb reliability. Ace Holman's hub worked flawlessly, and we were able to cut in and out of the hub with ease. Paul English and Jack Griffin put on a great show with some good old fashioned high-speed Morse. A dial-up connection was established with L.A. Bailey who received a detailed assessment of the meeting via well-tuned Vibroplex bug and chattering sounder. A connection to the Canadian hub was not possible due to an international call block-out on the BR wire.

The 1997 TP Morse Day was a success for those who were able to attend. We are hoping for better weather next year !

1997 TP Chapter Morse Day Meeting Attendees:

President Dick Metzger
Secretary/Treasurer Greg Raven
Historian John Wanat
Don Andrus
Paul English
Robert Finney
Jack Griffin

QSY to Morse Telegraph Miscellaneous

QSY to Telegraph Lore Home Page