What Is A Message?
Historical Context for
Emergency Communications

by Robert Osband, N4SCY
Titusville Amateur Radio Club

As the announcer on The Lone Ranger would say, "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear". In those days, the sound of "news from afar" was the sound of the telegraph sounder in the Western Union office in the back of the railroad station. "Messages" came off a yellow tape printing machine, and pasted onto a yellow message form, and when a "Message" was ready for delivery, it was handed off to a messenger boy in a distinctive envelope to run over to the Sherrif, or the Widow Jones. In those days, you knew what a message was, and it came on a sheet of paper.

Today, I consider e-mail to be the direct decendant of the telegram, to the point that I indent my "Signature" five spaces, just as the Telegraph Regulations specify for signatures on Telegrams and messages sent via Telex. Of course, this may just be a "geek thing".