BSA Official Twin Signal Set

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015Right here in front of you is an Official Boy Scout Twin Signal Set bought in the basement of Buckner’s for $4.25 about 55 or 56 years ago. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Contained two “sturdy plastic instruments”

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015

Inside were two “sturdy plastic instruments” that would allow you to send Morse code to a buddy using buzzers or lights. Included was a length of wire to go between the two units and the batteries to power them.

Cheat sheet provided

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015In case you didn’t KNOW your Morse code, there was a handy-dandy chart on the top of the sending and receiving unit.

My KFVS television debut

I wrote about my first TV appearance in a 2011 post. (By the way, your computer isn’t broken. We didn’t have sound movies back in the old days.) Here’s how I told the story:

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015I think my TV debut might have been during Scout Week in the eighth grade or my freshman year. Boy Scout Troop 8 was supposed to have someone tap out “Scouting is fun” in Morse code, but the guy who was supposed to do it backed out at the last minute for some reason or other. I could send like a demon (but couldn’t receive worth two cents), so I was sent in as a sub.

Dad set up the family’s Bell & Howell 8mm movie camera to record the moment off the Zenith television in the basement. For what it’s worth, he had a guy working for him who could read code who pronounced my transmission flawless. I’m not sure who the Scout was looking in awe over my shoulder.

The whole escapade ended with future debate partner John Mueller being interviewed. I’m sure he said something about how important being able to send Morse code would be in an emergency. Unspoken was the fact that my buzzer couldn’t be heard on the far side of the room and that the little light on the key was a tiny flashlight bulb. I guess it was OK for close emergencies.

I could sell it for a profit

Ken Steinhoff's BSA Twin Signal Set 03-08-2015The bugs have gotten to the box in a few places, but I see a “Vintage Official Boy Scout Twin Signal Set” priced as high as $75 (or best offer) on ebay. One just sold for $9.99 a few minutes ago, so that’s probably what it’s really worth, give or take. Of course, MINE could carry the tag, “As seen on TV.”

You know, I should hold onto in case there’s an emergency where I need to send a message to someone sitting across from me in the same room. I can tap out “Scouting is fun” and S-O-S really well, but don’t expect me to translate anything you send me.

Preservation Homework: Parks and Buildings

This is a continuation of the links I’m posting to help students in a SEMO Historical Preservation class. They’ve been given a list of Cape landmarks to research. It turns out I’ve written about most of them, so I’m going to give them a some background information about some of the parks and random buildings they’re looking for. I posted churches and cemeteries yesterday.

I’m doing a presentation to the class on April 8 where I will tell the students what I do and why I do it. After that, I’ll talk about how I do it. I hope I can get across there is no better way to find out things than to knock on doors and talk with people like I’m doing with The Last Generation project. I won’t swear that I get all the facts right, but you readers do a good job of setting me straight when I’ve miss the mark.

Cape Rock Overlook Park

Old Bridge Overlook Park

 Cape Girardeau City Hall

Indian Park

Indian Park 04-16-2011Louis Lorimier and his Indian cohorts, battling the Americans, captured Daniel Boone.

Houck Field House

KFVS TV Studio/Tower on Broadway

Mark Steinhoff, KFVS-TV cameraman in studio c 1967This story has lots of links about KFVS

Fort D Park

Cape Girardeau Regional Airport

Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, Cape Air flight CGI - STL, Lambert Airport



KFVS-TV Turns 58

I saw a posting on the KFVS-TV fan page that the television station went on the air Oct. 3, 1954. Actually, according to a letters received by the station, people were watching the test pattern days before the station went live with programming.

Brother Mark wasn’t there for the very first broadcast, but he worked a number of jobs there, including cameraman, in the mid-to-late 1960s.

KFVS-TV video about 58th birthday

Here’s is a video KFVS produced to mark the October 3 celebration.
KFVS12 News

Other stories about KFVS


View from KFVS Tower

I’ve seen Cape Girardeau from the ground and from 1,500 feet in a small plane, but I had a chance to see it from the 11th floor of the KFVS Tower recently. That’s a nice height to pick out landmark buildings.

This view is looking west down Broadway. You can click on any image to make it larger. The building at bottom left is the old Federal Courthouse. The tall building with yellow brick in the foreground is the Marquette Hotel. The pink building with a mural is where the old Idan-Ha Hotel stood before it burned. The nearest intersection is Broadway and Fountain.

Broadway to the east

This photo looks in the opposite direction – east on Broadway toward the Mississippi River. The Missourian is on the bottom right. The metal roof in the foreground is the N’Orleans. On the right is the First Presbyterian Church. The rusty steeple near the top of the photo belongs to the former General Baptist Church.

Common Pleas Courthouse

A view to the southeast picks up the corner of the First Presbyterian Church, the red tile roof of The Southeast Missourian, the Common Pleas Courthouse and old library, the steeple of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and the Bill Emerson Bridge.

Cement plant in distance

This photo is similar, but it shows a bit more of the neighborhood and gives a glimpse of the cement plant way off in the distance.