Category Archives: Scouting

1958 Boys’ Life Radio Contest

1957DecBLSixty years ago this month, the December 1957 issue of Boys’ Life announced the 1958 running of the magazine’s radio contest for hams and SWL’s.

According to the magazine, over 300 Scouts and Explorers at the 1957 Jamboree had been licensed hams, and most of them got their start with one of the BL radio contests.

The 1958 running had two classes for SWL’s. Class A entries used manufactured receivers or converted surplus sets. Class B was for scouts using homemade receivers they made themselves.

There was also a class for licensed hams, but the magazine noted that licensed hams were never eligible for prizes for winning contests. Hams were to call CQ BSA, and exchanged message number, RST, rank in scouting, and BSA region or country.  For the SWL categories, prizes ranged from ARRL memberships to receivers.

This year, the SWL contest was based entirely on the number of US and Canadian regions logged, number of states, and number of countries. Once a station in a particular region, state, or country was logged, there was no reason to log another. There were bonus points for logging all regions and all states, and any station qualified, whether it was broadcast, TV, FM, code, armed forces, police, amateur, or other.

The log had to include a 25 word written statement of either “I like short-wave radio because…” or “I’d like to get an amateur radio operator’s license because….”

Logs were to be signed by an adult certifying that the scout logged the stations by himself, alone.



Peace Light 2017

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This cartoon marking the 1st anniversary of Pearl Harbor appeared 75 years ago today in the Pittsburgh _____, Dec. 7, 1942.

This cartoon marking the 1st anniversary of Pearl Harbor appeared 75 years ago today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 7, 1942.

Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, marking the entry of the United States into World War II.

 

The Peace Light

As a symbol of peace, we show the flame above, which has been burning for hundreds of years.  This flame was burning throughout the Second World War, the First World War, the U.S. Civil War, and every other war in modern history.  It’s shown here in my living room, but it originates from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where it has been continuously tended for hundreds of years.  The exact date that some monk struck a flint to ignite it is not known, but it is believed to be about a thousand years ago.

Each year during the Advent season, it is transported from Bethlehem to Europe and North America, courtesy of Austrian Airlines.  This year, it was brought to Kennedy Airport on November 25.  From there, volunteers fan out across the country to distribute the flame.  Most of these are connected with Scouting in some way, and Scouts and Guides in Europe participate in similar activities.

As I did last year, I played a small part in the distribution.  Prior to my getting it, the flame traveled to Indianapolis, and then to Chicago.  From there, it went to Des Moines, and I met an Iowa Scouter in Albert Lea, Minnesota, to transfer it to St. Paul.  From me, it was picked up by others who took it to Wisconsin and North Dakota.  From there, it will travel to Winnipeg, and probably to other points.  Meanwhile, others are taking it to other parts of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

You can read more about the Peace Light at the U.S. Peace Light website or the Peace Light North America Facebook group.  If you’re close to St. Paul, Minnesota, and would like to receive the Peacelight, feel free to contact me and we can make arrangements.  In other areas, you can find a local source on the Facebook page.

 

Lanterns

One common question is how the Peace Light travels on two international flights from Israel to Austria, and then to North America.  The flame is transported safely in an antique blastproof miner’s lamp.  On the ground, it is walked through customs by airline employees to the airport chapel.

1916JunBL

 

On the ground, the most common way to transport the light is with a lantern such as the one at the top of the page.  These are rarely used these days, since mantle type lanterns provide considerably more light.  But in the 19th century, the cold-draft kerosene lantern was something of a revolution in lighting, since it provides a fairly bright flame and is also relatively safe, since it will self-extinguish if tipped over.

 

A good history of the lantern can be found at this site.  Prior to such lanterns, the best available option for camp lighting was the candle lantern.  As the name implies, it was just a ventilated enclosure in which a candle was inserted.

 

The ad at the left, from the June 1916 issue of Boys’ Life, shows both types of lamps.  Interestingly,  in addition to providing more light, the kerosene lantern is actually less expensive.  Candle lanterns start at $1.50, but the cold-blast lantern is only 75 cents.

 

Both types of lanterns are readily available today.  The cold-blast kerosene lantern can be found at Amazon at any of the following links:

 

You can also obtain the lantern at WalMart with this link or this link.  The fuel is available at this link.  You can order the lanterns and fuel online with these links, and then pick them up the same day at the store.

And for those who want to be even more retro in their camp lighting, these candle lanterns are also available at Amazon:

The lantern shown below is very similar, or possibly identical, to the 1916 candle lantern shown in the ad:

How to Transport the Peace Light

If you need to transport the flame only a short distance, one good option is to use a votive candle at the bottom of a coffee can. For longer distances, I place the lanterns at the top of the page inside a 5 gallon bucket similar to the one shown at the left, wtih sand or cat litter at the bottom.

Carrying it in this manner is very stable, and I have never experienced it tipping.  If it does tip, the entire lantern is safely contained, and the lantern will self-extinguish.

It should be noted that because there is an open flame, you should not refuel the vehicle with the Peace Light in the car.  Fill up your gas tank before picking up the light.  If you need to buy gas before you reach your destination, it will be necessary to leave the lantern at a safe location before driving to the pumps.  And while the combustion of these lanterns is very complete, it is a good idea to keep a window of the car open slightly.

Plans for a more a elaborate carrier are also available at the Peacelight.org site.

 

 



1957 Boys’ Life Telephone Circuit

1957NovBL1Sixty years ago, Maurice Peacock, Jr., of Radnor, PA, got $5 for sending these simple circuits to the “Hobby Hows” editor of Boys’ Life, where they were printed in the November 1957 issue.

The circuit shows how to rig up a telephone system to a friend’s house nearby, using an old radio headphone. One earpiece is used at each end, with batteries wired in series. Peacock explains that the wire needs to be insulated, and suggests that old thread spools can be used as insulators. The basic circuit is shown in figure 1. To save on the cost of wire, a good ground can be used as the return, as shown in figure 2.

I suspect the Boy Scouts of 1957 eventually figured it out, but the diagrams shown here wouldn’t work. A minor change needs to be made.

I suspect that, just like the Boy Scouts of 1957, our readers will quickly spot the problem. When you’ve found it, please comment on our Facebook page.



Billy Hallicrafters to the Rescue Again

1957NovBLA few months ago, we reported how young Billy Hallicrafters used his Hallicrafters shortwave receiver to save the lives of some men aboard a sinking ship.

Here, we see young Billy at it again, saving the life of a pilot in distress, as reported in the November 1957 issue of Boys’ Life.

Billy was apparently late for school that day, but I’m sure his tardiness was excused.  We enter the story as Billy’s mother reminds him that it’s time to get ready for school.  He prepares to shut down his receiver and get to school, but at the last minute, he hears something truly ominous.

He hears a pilot, apparently in communication with air traffic control, since the pilot is acknowledging a message. But the pilot interrupts the acknowledgment to declare a mayday, which apparently only Billy hears. The pilot had “flamed out 10 miles south of Westport” and was bailing out.

Billy interrupts his school preparations and frantically calls the Civil Air Patrol to report the emergency. Within minutes, a CAP helicopter is dispatched, and spots the parachute. One of the crew comments that it’s a good thing that boy was tuned in, since nobody else heard the Mayday.

The crew quickly gets the unconscious pilot out of the tree where he’s dangling and to the hospital. In the next scene, Billy is visiting the hospital where the downed pilot thanks Billy for saving his life.



1942 Primitive Canoe

1942NovBLThese scouts didn’t have to worry about the modern Guide to Safe Scouting, and the procurement of materials right run afoul of modern Leave No Trace principles.  But these scouts 75 years ago put together this primitive canoe according to plans appearing in the November 1942 issue of Boys’ Life.

The plans given don’t go into great detail, but with a little common sense, exact instructions are not necessary.  The frame of the craft is made out of several saplings, and the shell is a 12′ x 12′ tarp.  The author, William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, notes that “a river should be no obstacle for your Patrol if you have an axe, some string and a waterproof tarpaulin.  Then you can produce a primitive canoe, and paddle yourself across, using a couple of trench shovels, pieces of bark or your hands.”

The frame is constructed by lashing the various saplings together, and then the tarp is added.  It should be within the skill level of any scout who has mastered the basic lashings for First Class.

Note:  In my opinion, constructing and using this canoe is a perfectly appropriate activity for modern scouts.  However, proper safety precautions should be followed, and if it’s a BSA activity, then the Guide to Safe Scouting must be followed.  In particular, the 1942 Scouts shown in the picture would not pass muster, since they are not wearing approved life jackets.

They are, however, following the buddy system, and I assume that they have both passed the BSA swimmer test.  They’re obviously staying close to shore, and the craft appears to be seaworthy for that location.

Under current BSA rules, the “craft must be suitable for the activity, be seaworthy, and float if capsized. All craft and equipment must meet regulatory standards, be properly sized, and be in good repair.” Depending on the conditions, a boat like the one shown should qualify.

Since the boat “must meet regulatory standards,” this means that the boat must be legal under state law.  In Minnesota (and probably in other states) no registration is required, since the boat is less than 10 feet in length and non-motorized.

Since constructing this boat requires cutting living trees, great care should be taken in their selection.  Other materials (such as, perhaps, PVC pipe) should be considered.  But in my opinion, with a little planning, there’s no reason why scouts today shouldn’t be able to duplicate the craft built by their predecessors three quarters of a century ago.


Buzzer Converted to Telegraph Sounder

1917SeptPMThis illustration appeared in Popular Mechanics a hundred years ago this month, September 1917, and illustrates a clever solution to a problem that no longer exists.  It shows a simple way to convert a buzzer into a telegraph sounder.

At first blush, it seems rather obvious how to use a buzzer as a telegraph:  Simply hook it up, as shown, in series with the key and the battery.  If that’s how it were hooked up, that’s how I, or just about anyone who knows Morse Code these days, would be able to listen with ease.

It took me a few minutes to realize what was going on.  This was a simple way to create a sounder that would sound like a landline telegraph.  That kind of telegraph didn’t produce a continuous tone, as Morse Code does when sent by radio.  Instead, it produces clicks and clacks as the arm of the sounder hits the coil.  The landline telegrapher is listening for those clicks and clacks, the same way that I would be listening to the buzz of the buzzer.  But the buzzing would be just as incomprehensible to the landline telegrapher, just as the clicks and clacks would be incomprehensible to me.  The code being used is very similar (but not quite identical, since American telegraphers used American Morse, while radio operators use International Morse Code).  But the medium being used is very different.

The secret of the diagram above is the wire run from point C to point F.  Normally, a buzzer makes noise because the coil energizes and pulls the arm down.  But in the process, it breaks the electrical contact between the arm and point C.  This causes the coil to de-energize, and the arm swings back.  When it gets back in position, the coil is powered up again, and the cycle repeats.  This happens fast enough that a buzzing sound is produced.

In this diagram, the vibrator contact is shorted out.  So when the arm is pulled toward the coil, it stays there until the key is released, just as would happen in a landline telegraph sounder.  So instead of buzzing, the buzzer now clicks and clacks, and the aspiring landline telegrapher can use the modified buzzer to practice the trade.

According to the magazine, the idea was sent in by one Clarence F. Kramer of Lebanon, Indiana.  Interestingly, Mr. Kramer apparently knew both versions of the code, since he was also a radio amateur. He is listed in the 1921-23 call books as being licensed as 9AOB, with an address of 414 E. Pearl St., Lebanon, Indiana.  The April 1923 issue of Wireless Age shows that he pulled in, on a crystal set, 27 different broadcast stations, his best DX being 825 miles, WBAP in Ft. Worth, Texas.  Another one of the stations he pulled in was WLAG in Minneapolis, the forerunner of WCCO.  In the December 30, 1925 issue of the Indianapolis Star, he describes himself as an “ardent radio bug.”

He also appears to have been a Boy Scout, since one Clarence Kramer of Indiana, with various interests including wireless and telegraphy had a penpal request in the January 1915 issue of Boys’ Life magazine.  While it could be another person with the same name, one Clarence F. Kramer was an engineer with Ford, holding a number of patents.  If he went to work for Ford, then he is probably the Clarence Frank Kramer who died in Michigan in 1994 at the age of 92.



1957 Boys’ Life Hallicrafters Ad

1957JuneBLHallicraftersAdSixty years ago this month, the June 1957 issue of Boys’ Life carried this Hallicrafters ad, highlighting the excitement available on the shortwave bands.

The comic book style ad featured a young hero with the unlikely name of Billy Hallicrafters. Billy and his friend Tim have been out boating and were securing their boat after a quick storm blew up. Billy agrees that the storm is a bad one, and invites Timmy to come tune the marine frequencies on his Hallicrafters S-85.

An amazed Tim asks whether it’s really possible to listen to the fleet talking, and Billy assures him that it is. In addition to the exciting traffic from ships, he tells Tim that he can tune in police, fire, amateurs, planes, and foreign stations.

They get to Billy’s receiver, where on an international emergency frequency they hear a desperate distress call from a ship run aground on a reef and sinking. The ship tries in vain to raise the Coast Guard, but to no avail.

Our hero Billy quickly gets on the phone to the Coast Guard and gives the ship’s position. The Coast Guard tells him that they didn’t pick up the SOS, but had a cutter and plane in the area. Twenty minutes later, the Coast Guard has rescued the ship, which included an injured man.

In the next scene, Billy and Tim are down at the dock talking to the grateful Coast Guard officer, who tells them that this proves that shortwave listening is both exciting and fun.

An ambulance is seen waiting to take the injured man to the hospital, and it turns out that Billy had taken it upon himself to have the ambulance standing by.

Tim adds that he’s going to get his own Hallicrafters shortwave set.

Billy’s S-85 is revealed to have a list price of $119.95. For the more budget conscious Scout thinking of listening for distress calls, the ad also showed the venerable S-38D with a list price of $49.95.



Eclipse Boy Scout & Girl Scout Camping

In earlier posts, I posted regarding hotel availability, with updates for the western United States and eastern United States for the total eclipse on August 21. I also have links regarding where to get your eclipse glasses , which you will need to safely view the eclipse before and after totality. In general, hotel rooms are still available (but going fast) in the eastern U.S., but are very scarce in the western U.S.  Also see my list of over 100 eclipse campsites.

If your family is involved in Scouting (and in some cases, even if you are not), one option for camping in the path of totality might be Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps. The following camps have special camping events scheduled for the eclipse weekend. Some of these are open only to troops, but a phone call might allow your scouting family to join in with a local troop. Other events are open to individual scouts and their families. Other events are open to the public. If you still need a camping spot, one of these might be your best option.

These are the eclipse scout camping opportunities I’m aware of. If you know of others, please let me know.  They’re listed here from west to east:

Oregon

Camp Pioneer
Cascade Pacific Council, OR
Weekend event for Boy Scouts, Venturers, Explorers

Idaho

Camp Bradley
Snake River Council, Idaho
Event appears to be open to public

Grand Teton Council, Idaho
Various events

Wyoming

Teton High Adventure Base
Great Salt Lake Council, Utah
Teton Eclipse Adventure

Camp Laramie Peak
Longs Peak Council, WY
Solar Eclipse Weekend at Camp Laramie Peak

Girl Scouts of Montana & Wyoming
Camp Sacajawea
Casper, WY
Wyoming Eclipse Event for Girl Scouts

Nebraska

BSA Cornhusker Council, Du Bois, NE  SOLD OUT
Camp Cornhusker, viewing and camping, open to public.

BSA Overland Trails Council
Doniphan, NE
Camp Augustine, viewing & camping, open to public

Nebraska Girl Scouts
Camp Cosmo
Grand Island, NE
Solar Eclipse Camporee for Girl Scouts & Families

 

Missouri

Pine Ridge EclipseFest
Greater St. Louis Area Council, MO
Weekend event for Boy Scout troops

Illinois

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois
Carbondale, IL
Total Eclipse of the Heartland for Girl Scouts

Kentucky

Pfeffer Scout Reservation
Lincoln Heritage Council, KY
Weekend event for Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs

Kentucky 4H Camp for Ages 9-18

Tennessee
Boxwell Reservation
Middle Tennessee Council
Great Eclipse Campout

Camp Buck Toms
Great Smoky Mountain Council, TN
“Be Totally There” for scouts & scout families

Georgia

Camp Rainey
Northeast Georgia Council
Scouts, Family Members, and the Public

South Carolina

Indian Waters Council
Columbia, SC
Camp Eclipse 2017 for scouts and families

The BSA is offering an eclipse patch that scouts can earn.



1917 Boys’ Life: Signaling and Beans

1917JuneBLCover

A hundred years ago this month, both the front and back cover of the June 1917 issue of Boys’ Life magazine featured signaling methods. In the cover art shown above (with no attribution to the artist that I could find), a Scout is shown relaying a semaphore message to a distant point.

1917JuneBLBackNot to be outdone, the back cover, an ad for Colgate toothpaste, used International Morse Code to proclaim the messsage, “I BRING GOOD TEETH GOOD HEALTH.”  Since the nation was at war, the ad also reminded Scouts “how soldiers and sailors benefit from good teeth, and that they must have them to pass the physical examination.”

But the wartime service promoted by most of the magazine was the Scout’s duty to feed the nation and the troops.

It proclaimed that “no organization in the United States acted more promptly than the Boy Scouts of America when Congress declared, on April 5th, that a state of war existed between our country and Germany.  ‘Be Prepared’ is the Boy Scout motto, and more than a quarter of a million Scouts proved they WERE prepared.”  One of the first actions suggested was that in every large city, the Scouts should mobilize, march to the City Hall, and offer their services to the Mayor.  According to the magazine, many Scouts immediately did exactly that.

Mobilized Scouts offering their services at an unnamed city hall.

Mobilized Scouts offering their services at an unnamed city hall.

But the biggest task undertaken by Scouts was to help win the war through the gardening movement. As soon as the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that every citizen was needed to increase the food supply, the National Headquarters of the BSA issued an emergency circular urging every scout to start a garden and persuade nine other people to do the same.

The slogan adopted was, “every scout to feed a soldier.” It meant that every Scout was expected to raise enough food to feed himself, thus freeing up enough food to feed the soldier.

Almost immediately, National Headquarters fired off a telegram to London, to none other than Herbert Clark Hoover, who was already “famous for his great efficiency in managing the enormous relief work among stricken peoples of Europe.” The cable read:

Two hundred fifty thousand Boy Scouts of America tender services as your aides as producers and conservers of food as service to our country.

Mr. Hoover immediately cabled back his response, and his response was that Scouts should raise beans:

The prime service of our Country in this War is ships and food, and we can here display the true American ability at great efforts.

In order to provide the food necessary we must from this moment eliminate all waste and stimulate food production at every point. We must send to our Allies more wheat, corn, beans, meat, bacon and lard than we have ever sent before if their men are to fight and their women and children to live; and our people must economize and eat other things.

Among these foodstuffs couldn’t the Scouts take as their own province the stimulation of bean production, for there is not only a great shortage at Europe and at home, but they are the best of foods. Let them help make America able to export ten times as many beans as she ever exported before. To do this, let the Boy Scouts see to it that they are planted everywhere, so that the biggest bean crop ever known shall be the war contribution of the Boy Scouts to America and her Allies.

(Signed) Herbert C. Hoover.

Theodore Roosevelt, upon receiving a copy of Hoover’s telegram, signaled his assent: “I think Mr. Hoover’s suggestion that the Scouts take as their own province the stimulation of bean production is particularly good. Let each Scout start a garden and thereby help feed the soldiers.”

Scouts clearing idle land in preparation for a crop. The caption notes that fire is a useful ally, but the Scouts watch it closely. In a month, this field was to be covered with navy beans.

Scouts clearing idle land in preparation for a crop. The caption notes that fire is a useful ally, but the Scouts watch it closely. In a month, this field was to be covered with navy beans.

The magazine noted that navy or field beans were an easy crop to grow. They would show good yields even on poor soil or thin soils. They could be planted late, after the rush of other planting had subsided, and required only a third of the cultivation required of corn. With a good season and average care, a yield of 10 to 25 bushels per acre was to be expected. Their high food value and ease of storage made them an excellent war crop.

The magazine also noted that many Scout camps would turn into farms. Since there was a scarcity of farm help, the Scouts would help to fill the gap. Even though they would learn to plant and pick, there would still be plenty of fun after the day’s work was over.

Finally, the magazine announced that the BSA would be offering a War Service Emblem for Scouts who were responsible for starting ten gardens or inducing ten people to increase their garden acreage.



1942 QST: Visual Signalling

1942JuneQSTSignalling

75 years ago, American amateur radio operators were off the air for the duration, but QST kept rolling off the presses, and continued to encourage hams to hone their skills for the war effort.  One skill, of course, where hams had a natural edge was their knowledge of the International Morse Code, which was widely used both in the military and by government and civilian radio stations.

In the June 1942 issue, long time QST Editor Clinton DeSoto, W1CBD, wrote this article about methods of visual signalling. He noted that many a young amateur “joined up with the Navy or the Sginal Corps secure in the belief that because he knew radio he knew all there was to know about communications.”

But DeSoto noted that knowledge of CW and radiotelephone, and even a smattering of wire telephone and telegraph, covered only a part of communications methods then in use. In many cases, radio was unavailable, such in cases where a ship had to observe radio silence, and wires were not always an option. Therefore, especially in the Navy, but also in the Army Signal Corps, a knowledge of visual signalling methods was critical.

In the article, he gives a primer on the methods then in use, and encouraged hams to learn these methods. Those methods were (1) aural; (2) blinker; (3) wigwag; (4) semaphore; and (5) the international flag code.

DeSoto noted that aural signalling would require little or no new knowledge for a ham, since copying Morse from a fog horn or siren was no more difficult than copying CW on the air.

Copying code from a light blinker required a bit of practice, since the ham had to use a different sense to transmit the signal to the brain. However, he noted that most hams could acquire a speed of 8-10 words per minute with just a few hours practice. This speed was quite useful, since 12 WPM was about the maximum ever encountered in blinker work.

The third method, wigwag, was rarely used, but since it was also based on International Morse Code, most hams would have an edge when it came to using it. In wigwag, a single signal flag or light is used. It is dipped to the left (from the viewer’s point of view) for a dot, and to the right for a dash. Between dots and dashes, the flag or light is held vertically above the head.

Wigwag is very slow and cumbersome, and had a maximum speed of a couple of words per minute. For that reason, it was rarely used except when nothing else would serve.

The much more efficient system of signalling with flags is semaphore, and DeSoto devoted much of the article to its explanation. As shown in the diagram above, semaphore uses two flags held in the positons shown above. Semaphore had been around since Napoleon’s day, and in addition to flags, shore-to-ship communication, and even inland links, of the past had used stations with tall masts and giant signalling arms.

With practice, a skilled operator could achieve speeds up to 25 words per minute, making semaphore a vitally useful skill.

The article gave the basics of the procedure used. To begin, the sender would wave the flags for the attention signal, until the receiving operator answered with the acknowledgment “C”. As the sender completed each word, he dropped his arms to the “break” signal. At that point, the receiver would acknowledge with another “C”. If no acknowledgement was received, that word would be repeated.

Some of the prosigns and abbreviations used by hams were also used in semaphore. For example, the symbol AR was commonly used to indicate the end of a message.

Finally, DeSoto spent some time discussing the international flag code, which used individual flags for each letter of the alphabet. Each flag also had an independent meaning. Therefore, if a single flag was displayed on the signal mast, it was understood that it was conveying that message.

To minimize the number of flags that had to be carried, four flags were assigned as “repeat” flags. The “First Repeat” flag would be used to indicate that the first letter of the word was being repeated. The “Second Repeat” flag would mean that the second letter of the word was being used again.

The international flags were reproduced in the article, but in black and white. DeSoto warned that it wouldn’t be a good idea to attempt to learn them from those illustrations. He recommended either coloring them on the pages of the magazine with water colors or crayons, or simply making a set of identification cards in the correct colors. He also included the source of flashcards, available for 50 cents postpaid, or the official “International Code of Signals (Vol. 1, Visual and Sound)” available from the Navy Department for $2.25. A more recent edition of that text is available at this link.

This article would be of particular interest to Boy Scouts or their counselors working on the Signs Signals and Codes merit badge.  As I discussed previously at this post and this post, that merit badge includes Morse Code, semaphore, international flag codes, in addition to other topics.  Therefore, DeSoto’s 1942 article includes much of the information necessary to earn the merit badge.

Elsewhere in the same issue of QST (page 53), ARRL Communications Manager F.E. Handy, W1BDI, suggested a use for the signal flags. With amateur radio off the air, there would be no Field Day in 1942. Handy suggested that hams could use the traditional Field Day weekend, the third weekend in June, to make an outing to their usual Field Day location to practice some of these techniques:

Working in pairs, amateurs should call out characters as they are interpreted from the flags, impressing a bystander for ‘recorder’ if necessary. With some experience you will with to try for greater DX. Then we also suggest a planned trek to the usual FD location if you can make it on that third weekend of June. This will make a good outing for those of the group that can be rounded up; it will rouse afresh the memories of the last ARRL Field Day. Don’t forget to give the signal-flag idea a Field Day workout!