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Surfin': Amateur Radio When You Least Expect It

08/01/2008

Over the years, Surfin' has noted Web sites that document the appearance of Amateur Radio and Morse code on the silver screen. So it is apropos that I mention an excellent film I watched on DVD a few nights ago: The Bank Job, a true story about a bank "heist gone wrong...in all the right ways."

While watching the film, I was surprised when an Amateur Radio transceiver -- a vintage Yaesu FT-101 -- appeared on the screen. As it turned out, Amateur Radio plays a key role in the story. I don't want to ruin it if you have not seen the film, so I will say no more except that I highly recommend it.

By the way, Al Rabassa, NW2M, has the ultimate Web site about the FT-101 and I highly recommend it, too.

Getting back to those past installments of Surfin', all the Web sites mentioned in those old columns have bitten the dust, so it is time to dig up some new ones.

Warner Brothers has a history of including Morse code in their cartoons as evidenced by the User Comments posted on The International Movie Database (IMDb) entry for the 1939 Porky Pig epic The Lone Stranger and Porky. Searching IMDb resulted in 52 titles where Morse code makes an appearance, including seven additional cartoons.

If you ever watched an old film from RKO, you may be familiar with the company logo at the beginning of RKO films featuring Morse code emanating from a huge radio tower sitting on top of the world. The Closing Logos (CLG) Wiki has a Web page all about the RKO logo.

Not exactly related to a motion pictures, but definitely Hollywood-related, the Seeing Stars in Hollywood Web site mentions that a red light atop the Capitol Records building in Hollywood flashes Morse Code all night long. According to the Web site, the granddaughter of Samuel Morse threw the switch that turned on the light back in 1956.

Until next time, that's all folks and keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, prefers Daffy to Bugs, but would watch any Warner Brothers cartoon in a heartbeat. To communicate with Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.

 

Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor



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