Re: Signaling debate
William H. Sills (email@example.com)
Thu, 24 Apr 1997 12:35:05 -0500
Phipps, Victor wrote:
> To All
> Is there no one out there that can explain why there was a debate over
> the signaling requirment. I ask again If you know something of why there
> was a debat please help me understand why. I have completed reading the
> debate on the archives but would like personel input from any of you who
> have some.
> SSS601 "City of Roses"
> Boatswains' Mate
> Victor Phipps
Dear BnM Phipps:
With the very specific understanding that your query is not a
hidden back door attempt to reopen a discussion of a decision with which
your commissioned officers have vehemently agreed, I will provide some
of the rationale for modifying the Signaling Requirement.
My radio background is that of a formerly active US Marine Corps
Radio-Telegraph Operator and Cryptographer, Artillery and Recon Radio
Chief and US Coast Guard Licensed Radio Officer with sole operator (6
months service) endorsement. I really enjoy CW and use it on the ship
and amateur bands whenever possible. I think CW is fun and so do the Sea
Scouts that I serve.
Sea Exploring is a relevant, dynamic program in the Boy Scout
movement. We learn to be better citizens whilst acquiring seamanship
skills. Radiotelegraphy WAS FORMERLY an essential survival skill. Sadly,
in my opinion, it is now obsolete. The US Navy, US Coast Guard and US
Marine Corps no longer monitor CW. The International Maritime
Organization has allowed Radio Officers to be replaced by GMDSS. The
Great Lakes and Inland Waters have not had a Radio Officer requirement
since the 20s for cargo vessels and the 30s for large passenger vessels.
Western Rivers has never had such a requirement. As a matter of fact,
even SSB is not required for Great Lakes, Western Rivers and Inland.
International Morse Code has a very, very limited utility today.
It is only required for the skill of flashing light signaling for
ULIMITED TONNAGE OCEAN OFFICERS and for the rate of Signalman (PO3) in
the US Navy and for Quartermaster in the US Coast Guard. Wig Wag is also
touched briefly in the Navy & Coast Guard schools.
Unfortunately, the foregoing means that it is basically a
useless skill for all but a tiny fraction of Sea Scouts. I love them but
they are so irrelevant that it should be an optional skill just as is
celestial navigation, another one of my personal loves.
If you wish to learn Semaphore Signalling, since that and WigWag
are still in HO 103, I'll be happy to send you a exchange a blank
videotape with ours on semaphore. However, unless you wish to take the
Unlimited Third Mates license for Any Waters, there's no real need to
learn CW. However, feel free to transfer to one of the ships here in my
squadron and take my CW course <VBG>
By the way, Boatswain's Pipe calls are still used in the USN
and USCG for announcements and ceremonies. However, there's no formal
course. It's now a skill "passed on" to new BnMs.
Finally, the skills required for advancement through the ranks
to Quartermaster are those most relevant to each Sea Scout as a skilled
seaman. Skippers are certainly encouraged to go well beyond the basic
rank requirements but every young man and woman in the Sea Scouts in USA
should not have to learn arcane skills just because skippers like me
revere them. Since I have been around forever, there are lots of
"obsolete" skills that I love. I would never burden my youth with them.
Bruce, yes; but my kids, never! <VBG>