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.