We are a group, men and women, old and young, interested in preserving the history and knowledge of Morse Telegraphy. Some of us once earned a living as telegraphers, others are amatuer radio operators, some are both, while still others are just interested in the historical aspects of the craft. In other words, there is room for anybody with any level of interest. We invite you to join us in our effort. Click on the "JOIN" button to go to an application to be printed and mailed with your dues, which are $15.00 per year and include a subscription to Dots & Dashes, the quarterly journal of the national club. If you live outside the Southeastern United States, you will be directed to the chapter for the area in which you live. There are 30 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
All Morse Club chapters hold an annual meeting on the last Saturday of April to celebrate the birthday of Samuel F. B. Morse, born April 27, 1791. In recent years, the Florida chapter annual meeting has been held at the Central Florida Railroad Museum, Winter Garden, FL, located just a few miles west of downtown Orlando on S.R.50. During the celebration telegraph instruments are set up and through the miracle of modern electronics, involving hubs and slow speed modems, telephone lines are converted to telegraph circuits and telegraphic contacts are made with other Morse Club chapters throughout the United States and Canada. If your only knowledge of telegraphy is from old movie Westerns, we invite you to visit the museum on that day to hear and see the real thing.
In addition to the annual meeting, Florida Chapter members get together to stage demonstrations at festivals and celebrations such as the annual Pioneer Days held at Plant City and Dade City FL. Some members are especially interested in Civil War re-enactments and participate in those to demonstrate the use of the telegraph in that era. Some members take advantage of the U.S. and Canadian "Dial-Up" hubs and dial-up from their homes to swap a few stories in Morse with other members throughout the U.S. and Canada. Other individual members might present demonstrations at schools and civic clubs in their home area.
Those viewers who wish to learn and use American Morse Code or those who wish to practice sending and receiving American Morse Code with other beginning telegraphers may wish to log on to Member Les Kerr's site, using the link found on the "Links" page of this site. There are regular sessions, monitored by an experienced American Morse telegrapher, utilizing Morse KOB, a free computer based program developed by Les Kerr, which allows American Morse code to be sent over the Internet with a keyboard, a telegraph key or a bug. Get full details by contacting Les Kerr on his site.
Another, free, computer based program for learning or practicing American Morse code is the Instructograph, developed by Member Ted Wagner. This program is similar to and a tribute to the original Instructograph, whose tapes were used by thousands of beginning telegraphers. Look for a link on the "Links" page of this site.
For those visitors to this website who might be interested in learning about telegraphy and railroading in the early days, the University of Minnesota Press has reissued the Harry Bedwell novel THE BOOMER, A Story of the Rails. Bedwell was a lifetime telegrapher and railroader who wrote numerous short stories and this novel about those two subjects based on his own experiences. (Boomer was the term used to describe railroad men, usually but not always, telegraphers, who roamed about the country following railroad jobs in boom times.) The book has an excellent introduction by noted railroad writer James D. Porterfield and an extensive glossary of railroad terms. Any bookstore should be able to order it, if it is not in stock.
COLLECTING TELEGRAPH OFFICE CALLS
In an effort to preserve railroad and Western Union office calls before they are lost forever, FX Chapter is collecting railroad and Western Union office calls from our members who might have those calls in their memory, or even written down. If you worked as a telegrapher, anywhere,whether or not you are a member of the Morse Telegraph Club, please take a few minutes and write down all of the office calls that you remember from where you worked. Some railroads may have published the office calls by Division or by System. If you have a copy of those type publications, that would be a bonanza. Send what you have to the webmaster of this site. All of the call signs will be posted on the chapter's website and will also be shared with MTC International headquarters. in a permanent repository.
If you have any questions about any aspect of telegraphy, or if you have a question or a comment about any item on this website, or if you wish to know more about any scheduled demonstration, please contact the Webmaster of this site by clicking on the "E-Mail" button on this page. Answers to questions and comments may be posted on the "NEWS" page.
(UPDATED MARCH 7, 2014)