Guides on the Air (GOTA) is also known as Thinking Day on the Air (TDOTA). It is an annual event where Girl Guides team up with amature radio hobbiest to talk to other Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. This year it will be head on February 20th and 21st.
Alberta has a challenge relating to participation in GOTA. In addition to participating in GOTA, it challenges girls to learn a little more about amature radio and amature radio trations such as the phonetic alphabet and Morse Code.
If you are interested in learning more about GOTA check out the yahoo group.
Although it isn’t used much today, Morse code is the oldest electric encoding system and has been around for about 160 years. During it’s heyday it was used to send telegrams across long distances.
Telegram companies charged their customers by the word so the style of telegrams often resembled that of modern text messages. Wikipedia has a great list of abbreviations that are used in Morse code. They include some that any text message sender would recognize, such as UR or TXT but lots of others that aren’t uses today such as 88 for love and kisses.
Here are some activities your girls can do to try out Morse code.
Heliograph – A heliograph is a signaling device used to send messages at night using lights. Today they can be simulated quite easily with a flash light. Split your girls into two groups and have each group devise a simple Morse code message. Then have them transmit the message to the other group by flashing a flashlight on and off.
Bracelets – Get some beads and explain to the girls that each colour bead will represent a different aspect of Morse code. For example: blue beads are short, green beads are long, red beads are the spaces between letters. Let each girl make a bracelet using this system. Younger girls would likely enjoy writing out their name, older girls might like to leave themselves a secret message in the beads such as “courage” or “be brave”.
Secret Code – You could write out a message to your girls in Morse code and have them decipher it. It could be the hiding place of a treat or could be something like the promise, law or motto.