Scout Project: How to Make a Morse Code Oscillator/ Telegraph Machine




Introduction: Scout Project: How to Make a Morse Code Oscillator/ Telegraph Machine

About: I'm an un-repentant mess creator... I'll turn my hand to anything and providing i get my fingers back... I'm happy.
I have written this Instructable, so that you can see how to construct the above from wood scraps Instead of Cardboard (funnily enough, Card is my usual I'ble medium... go and look at my other I'bles, It does also tie in with my I'ble for treating burns with aloe vera) It is also here to explain a little better how things go together, as i found that just watching the video on :johnnyrockstah 's link was a little confusing

So, please as i said go and check the original video after checking this I'ble out, and I hope it answers some of the questions raised. For those who are interested this I'ble should cover the practical part of the Scout Associations Communicators badge:

Alternative B - Communication codes

  1. Send and receive a short message by Morse code or Semaphore at a rate of five words per minute.

  2. When sending and receiving a message, demonstrate that you know the appropriate procedure.

  3. Know the International Phonetic Alphabet and define at least eight international Q code signals.

  4. Construct a simple Morse code oscillator and send a short message.

I want to make perfectly clear that I got my Idea from!/ this Instructable... It is VERY clever, I made one myself after watching the video, and decided to fill a badge requirement of my Scouts to get them to make one in wood. So please go have a look at the original I'ble as :johnnyrockstah is brilliant... really...  just brilliant! Due to me using :johnnyrockstah 's idea I'm not going to explain how i made the battery box (which is also from :johnnyrockstah ) If you want to see how its made please go and have a look at the link.

Step 1: Ingredients

Right well, to help you find items used I am going to give you the Maplins product codes I have also lifted a few pictures from their site so as you can identify them quickly

* Plyboard I used a 3mm ply, nothing special, its just a tatty old peice left over from a long ago project
* Pencil
* Ruler
* Saw
* Tacks/ Nails
* Tacking hammer
* Work bench
* Aprropriate Safety gear- This I shall leave to you, providing you have the same ammounf od fingers as what you started with you should be okay
* Soldering Iron
*Long nose Plyers
* Glue gun (maybe)
* Duckt tape/ Insulation tape

Morse code machine componants:

* D Cell (1.5V) battery
* Alluminium (not AH-LOOM-IN-UM...AL-UH-MIN-I-UM) pie trays ( People in the UK places like Wilkinsons, or Poundland sell them, alternitivly you can use the ones from yout local takeaway... providing they havent any curry left in them ;) )
* 6V Buzzer FK81C
* One LED WL84F
* Black Wire XR68Y
* Red wire XR69A

Componant cost: £5 (ish)

Additional Items:
+ Plaster
+ Ice for amputated finger
+ Aloe Vera plant for burns

Step 2: Saw !

What we need to do first is cut out the base and clicker for the machine.

If you intend to make a single/stand alone unit only cut out one base and one clicker, If you intend to make a send/receive unit, cut two of each

Firstly take your ply board, and after measuring a 5" by 7" rectangle cut it out using your saw. I then cut the clicker section this time cutting a 3" by1.5" rectangle. I also cut a small square section that will act as a spacer between the base and the clicker. (See photo 3 if you can't figgure out what i intend to do)

Step 3: Connect-em-up!

Before you nail ANYTHING down your going to need to glue/tape or otherwise affix toy aluminium conductors onto both the base and the clicker.

I found that when it somes to wireing up your telegraph the more wide you make the conducting tab (within reason) the easier it is to attach the wire securely

As you can see from my pictures i cut all mine into L shapes as when it came to wrapping the wires, i found i could get a much better contact.

Step 4: Placement

Regardless of if you are making a stand alone unit or a two way unit, your going to need to think about placement...

It is now at this point when you can nail down your switch (see picture)

Step 5: Wires!

so now you have the buzzer section pretty much glued down, your going to need to add the wires in the next two steps. This step is to give you an idea how to do it to get the best possible connection, see image three for how i did it

Step 6: Stand Alone Unit

Okay so for just a sound buzzer circuit/ setup.... all you need do, is to wire your switch between your battery abd buzzer like in the circuit diagram provided.

If in my second picture i where not making a dual way receiver, I would run a wire from the buzzer to the switch and from the switch to the +VE side of the battery

Clear as mud?

Step 7: Dual Way Receiver

Okay in the original I'ble I had a REAL tough time working out what was connected to what, so hopefully from my little diagrams you can see how its all connected up?

REMEMBER when soldering an LED you will need someway of protecting the LED itself from the heat from teh solder, to creat this heat sink, grip the LED in a pair of metal plyers to draw the heat away from the filaments see pic 4

If your like me, nows the time to go and treat your burn off the soldering Iron with your AloeVera plant.... Goon ...we'll wait

Step 8: THE END!

Well... That is it... Hope it helps you understand the Original Instructable a little better... please let me know if you have any questions or whatever

All the best


Here is a good Phrase for your scouts to transmitt:

--- -. / -- -.-- / .... --- -. --- ..- .-. / .. / .--. .-. --- -- .. ... . / - .... .- - / .. / .-- .. .-.. .-.. / -.. --- / -- -.-- / -... . ... - /

On My Honour I promise that I will do my best

- --- / -.. --- / -- -.-- / -.. ..- - -.-- / - --- / --. --- -.. / .- -. -.. / - --- / - .... . / --.- ..- . . -. /

To do my duty to God and to the Queen

- --- / .... . .-.. .--. / --- - .... . .-. / .--. . --- .--. .-.. . /

To help other people

 .- -. -.. / - --- / -.- . . .--. / - .... . / ... -.-. --- ..- - / .-.. .- .--

And to keep the Scout Law

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    1 year ago

    I love it!!


    6 years ago

    im just now making this and the clear version isn't working like the video so how do you make this it is kind of confusing.


    11 years ago on Introduction


    We did this at my troop the other week....a few problems were encountered. Firstly, the switch did not work - not enough flex in the ply to make a contact without ripping the nails out! Either needs to be much longer or use cardboard - this was ok as it meant they had to come up with a solution. Secondly, the LEDs would not light at all, we tried direct connection to battery, then some bright spark asked if they were a higher voltage......they seem to be 2.5v according to Maplin and the battery is only 1.5v of course!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    My wooden switches worked... i wonder why yours didnt


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Just found this, when looking around for a simple/easy project for a Scout class I am presently teaching for the new/old Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge in Communications. This 100th birthday of Scouting here in the USA has provided us with an opportunity to allow boys to earn this badge again. It was one I myself earned back in the 50s, but has since then been abandoned. Just this one year, it has been brought back, with a special edition of the badge itself. It looks exactly like the old badge, but instead of being trimmed with green thread around its perimeter, it has been trimmed in gold thread.

    I went to our one and only local store that has any electronic parts (Radio Shack), and once again was disappointed in their downgrade of parts, to next-to-none. No buzzer, no keys, no code generators, etc. They have taken the name "radio" out of their name, and left only "shack" but that should be taken away too - since we hams and professional communicators know the word "shack" to indicate a radio area. They are neither.

    Anyway, I cannot find,a buzzer!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thats rediculas! Do you have maplins over there? best thing to do id have a look on EBAY or do a quick google search... SOMEONE in the usa must sell them


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, I managed to get down to a privately owned store yesterday, which also handles Radio Shack junk, and found he did have a couple of different buzzers available. One, using 1-6 volts and the other using 12 volts. I bought the former. Both are listed with the same sound output freq of 300-500 cys and 75 dB. This guy has a LOT more parts than RS has had in many a year, but still doesn't have all that much. It will "do", but isn't exactly the nice tone output I was hoping for. Its cheap enough for the boys to copy the one my grandson and I built last night. Of course I have all sorts of keys/keyers to use with it, but will have each of them build one with just a strip of aluminum and a couple of screws. After posting yesterdays note, I saw ( on a separate group) an announcement that Radio Shack (now known simply as "The Shack") just announced they were going to be changing direction and would be stocking many more electronic parts than they have in the past decades. We shall see. Maybe someone finally figured out that cellphones are not just making enough sales, considering every other Tom, Juan, and Mustafa are selling them on every street corner, at cheaper prices.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Here's hoping for you, and I hope your troop have fun... I know mine did


    Finally a project like this, are you comming to jingi 2011 in sweden???


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Ricky, No I didnt put my name down for selection... I take it your a scouter then?

    I'm the Jay who is trying to meet one person from every scout group in the UK