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But what if your in a survival situation and you need to send a message?
Here is how to hack any torch or lamp into a Morse Code Transmitter, using only a few basic items you may have with you.
You Will Need:
1 'Darkness into Light' light (or any torch)
2 Paperclips (or strips of metal)
2 Lents of Wire
1 Solid Base (log, tree stump, plank of timber, etc)
Step 1: Breaking the Circuit
Most switches/buttons on torches are too slow to send Morse Code efficiently, so you will need to make a new faster switch and bypass the old one.
Locate and open the battery housing, batteries are usually held tight with a spring. You will need to insert a piece of plastic, or other non-conductive material, between the batteries and the spring. This will brake the circuit. To check this worked, move the switch to the 'ON' position, if you were successful the light will not come on. You can leave the switch in the 'ON' position.
Step 2: Making the Key
The button used for sending Morse Code is call the 'Key'. A key is simply a 'fail off' switch, meaning if the button is not being pressed it will spring up to the 'Off' position.
To make one, you will need to find a thin piece of metal, I'm using some paper clips but you could cut a strip off a tin can, etc. Bend the metal so it makes a kind of elongated 'Z' shape.
Strip 1cm of the insulating from the wire (you could use tin-foil if your stuck) and wrap it around the base of the paper clip.
Pin the paper clip to a log or other non-conductive base. When you press on the upper part of the paper clip it should touch the base and spring back up when released. This is the first terminal.
Step 3: Finishing the Key
Now you need to make the second terminal, simply connect another length of wire to a second piece of metal (paper clip) and pin it under the first terminal. When the first terminal is pressed it should make contact with the second terminal.
Step 4: Connecting the Light
For the key to work the light you need to connect the wires to the light (one either side of the plastic 'breaker').
Strip 1cm of insulating from the end of each of the wires from the two terminals. Connect the first wire to the spring in the battery housing, this one is easier as you can just work it in at the base and the spring will 'pinch' the wire and hold it in place. To connect the second terminal, you may need to make a flattened loop to push between the plastic and the batteries. Be careful this may cause the batteries to become dislodged, it took me a couple of attempts to get the wire and batteries to stay in the housing. A different torch may have an easier way to connect the wires you will just need to see whats best for you.
Step 5: Morse Code Transmitter
When you press down on the key the light should come on. If nothing happens, check the original switch is in the 'ON' position and all your connections are good.
You can now send out your distress signals.
Morse Code SOS = ...---... (3 short, 3 long, 3 short)
The recognised mountain distress signals are based on groups of three, or six in the UK and the European Alps. A distress signal can be 3 fires or piles of rocks in a triangle, three blasts on a whistle, three shots from a firearm, or three flashes of a light, in succession followed by a one-minute pause and repeated until a response is received. Three blasts or flashes is the appropriate response.
In the Alps, the recommended way to signal distress is the Alpine distress signal: give six signals within a minute, then pause for a minute, repeating this until rescue arrives. A signal may be anything visual (waving clothes or lights, use of a signal mirror) or audible (shouts, whistles, etc.). The rescuers acknowledge with three signals per minute. In practice either signal pattern is likely to be recognised in most popular mountainous areas as nearby climbing teams are likely to include Europeans or North Americans.