The Westlakes news broadcast is transmitted
every Sunday at 9am on
2 meters at 146.900
(the Hunter Radio Group's Repeater)
Standing room only in the car park was
the obvious appearance to everyone who arrived at the
club yesterday. We must be doing something right when it
comes to teaching a thing or two, because the lack of
standing room overflowed to the Class Room. The
temperature was just right for the Seat of Knowledge
which gained a lot of use. How much knowledge that was
imparted off course is another story.
In the Common Room there was the usual discussions about
all things of little importance, while in the
Intelligence Room, there was the usual argy bargy taking
place over some products on the test bench, but little
results were made known.
In the Meeting Room, it was a visit down memory lane,
with lots of talk of what was but isn’t now. We even got
a lesson from Dave VK2RD on how to get a horse and cart
into a drive-in movie theatre. A few more memberships
were paid with the new Treasurer rueing the fact of all
those who pay by direct credit do not put their callsign
in the transaction notes. Does anyone run a course on
mind reading? We know someone that needs it.
We then came to the time for the all-important Meat
Raffle Draw. As Richard VK2SE won it last week, he was
asked to draw out this week’s winner. A mistake
regretted by most present, when it turned out he drew
out his own number. To add insult to injury, he then
proceeded not to tell us where the barbeque was to be
held. It might pay for most of us close to Toronto to
stick our heads out the window and check the incoming
breeze for guidance.
In this week’s historical look, we look at the life of
Samuel Finley Breese Morse who was born in Charlestown,
Massachusetts, in 1791. He was the first son of Jedidiah
Morse, a clergyman, and Elizabeth Breese, of New Jersey.
"Finley," as his parents called him, was the son
quickest to change moods while his other two brothers,
Sidney and Richard, were less temperamental. His
brothers helped him out many times in his adult years.
The Morses' commitment to education had Samuel in
Phillips Academy by the age of seven. Though not a star
student, his drawing skills were good. Both his
teachers' and his parents' encouragement led to Samuel's
success with miniature portraits on ivory. Samuel
graduated from Yale College in 1810. He wished to pursue
a career in art, but his father was opposed to this.
Samuel took a job as a clerk in a Charlestown bookstore.
During this time he continued to paint. His father
reversed his decision and in 1811 allowed Morse to
travel to England to pursue art. During this time, Morse
worked at the Royal Academy with the respected American
artist Benjamin West.
In October 1832 Morse returned to the United States. On
the voyage he met Charles Thomas Jackson, an eccentric
doctor and inventor, with whom he discussed
electromagnetism. Jackson assured Morse that an electric
impulse could be carried along even a very long wire.
Morse later recalled that he reacted to this news with
the thought that "if this be so, and the presence of
electricity can be made visible in any desired part of
the circuit, He could see no reason why intelligence
might not be instantaneously transmitted by electricity
to any distance." He immediately made some sketches of a
device to accomplish this purpose.
Even as an art professor at the University of the City
of New York, the telegraph was never far from Morse's
mind. He had long been interested in gadgetry and had
even taken out a patent. He had also attended public
lectures on electricity. His shipboard sketches of 1832
had clearly laid out the three major parts of the
telegraph: a sender, which opened and closed an electric
circuit; a receiver, which used an electromagnet to
record the signal; and a code, which translated the
signal into letters and numbers. By January 1836 he had
a working model of the device that he showed to a
friend, who advised him of recent developments in the
field of electromagnetism—especially the work of the
American physicist (scientist of matter and energy)
Joseph Henry (1797–1878). As a result, Morse was able to
greatly improve the efficiency of his device.
In September 1837 Morse formed a partnership with Alfred
Vail, (who we talked about last week) who contributed
both money and mechanical skill. They applied for a
patent. The American patent remained in doubt until
1843, when Congress approved thirty thousand dollars to
finance the building of an experimental telegraph line
between the national capital and Baltimore, Maryland. It
was over this line, on May 24, 1844, that Morse tapped
out his famous message, "What hath God wrought [made]!"
Morse was willing to sell all of his rights to the
invention to the federal government for one hundred
thousand dollars, but a combination of a lack of
congressional interest and the presence of private greed
frustrated the plan. Instead he turned his business
affairs over to Amos Kendall. Morse then settled down to
a life of wealth and fame. He was generous in his
charitable gifts and was one of the founders of Vassar
College in 1861. His last years were spoiled, however,
by questions as to how much he had been helped by
others, especially Joseph Henry.
Morse died in New York City on April 2, 1872.
This week on the local airwaves, we heard of Dave VK2RD
and his half an antenna which he had to roll up to let
in a caravan staying at his place. We heard Greg VK2CW
with his Bill Lawry impersonation, “It’s all happening
here at Merewether.” It wasn’t quite cricket, but a side
fence being replaced, together with all the noise that
goes with such a project. It was thought that the fence
was a late anniversary present.
We then got a call from Terry VK2MTJ all the way from
Bathurst. Terry introduced himself to the group as an
active member of the Amateur Radio Central West Group
based in Bathurst.
Wednesday was one of the quickest nets we have had in a
while. At one stage we thought Croak was back with us,
with Col VK2YP telling us of his son who is doing his
Foundation Course Training. Luke VK2LGW popped up to
tell us he was back in the country after his holiday
away in China.
Meanwhile Jeff VK2MCD picked up Alan VK2JED and brought
him down to the club to give Alan a day out. At the Club
Rooms Jeff did some secretarial stuff and Allan gave a
demonstration of how to handle a vacuum cleaner and then
then proceeded to test out the patch cords in the Shack.
Glenn VK2GST decided to go whacko with the weed wacker
and attack the undergrowth which was starting to grow
over the trees. Ken VK2UTC did hi usual morning How-di-doody
on the net, after which time he set about tidying up the
Archive Room. Jamie VK2YCJ kept the conversation
reasonably well levitated with his usual banter.
Alex VK2ZM made an appearance with some antenna joint
grease for the antenna and set about attending to some
QSL duties in the Bureau.
On Friday, Dave VK2RD advised that his lawn mower man
had just been and taken away a dead wattle tree. A
question was posed as to the origins of the saying, “In
this neck of the woods.” The Answer was carefully given
to us by Dan VK2GG. After this we had a conundrum that
Les VK2LT should have been round to help us with. In the
days before motorcycles had signal lamps, how did you
ever indicate your intention to make a right hand turn?
Then someone came up with this little gem. It appears
that the powers that be, will charge a late fee of
$28.00 if your amateur licence lapses by one month. A
few of us got caught by a matter of a few days last
year. Remember? There is an easy fix to this problem.
Have a look at the date due on your licence and put it
into your birthday or calendar app on your cell phone.
You won’t get ever get caught again.
Now from the info bureau. We are procuring a limited
number of 2019 VK call books. Anyone wanting one, please
let Greg VK2CW know and one will be reserved for you.
Cost – only $25.00.
Now for “When is it? And what is it?
Sun 24th February. Wyong Field Day
Sat 9th March. Special General Meeting to ratify changes
to the Constitution.
Sat 30th March. The infamous Westlakes Car Boot Sale
Free entry – gates open 0900hrs
Barbeque and Raffles to be enjoyed.