3. The top of 5 and 7, and the bottom of 2 are
straight lines. The number 1 also has a straight line
under it, slightly below the stem, to distinguish it from
the letter I, and the zero has a bar diagonally through it
(Ø) to distinguish it from the letter O. A horizontal bar
through the riser of the letter helps prevent its being
mistaken for the numeral 2.
The heavy dot at the end of each of the light lines,
which parallel each letter and figure, indicates the
starting point for the stroke. This dot and arrow
indicate the direction in which the letter or figure is
drawn. The numerals 1, 2, and 3 placed just beside
each of the light lines indicate the number and the
sequence in which the strokes of a letter or figure are
Practice printing the 26 alphabet letters and 10
numerals until you can make each character easily and
legibly. Use a pencil with a good point, print each
character carefully and accurately, and take care to
have your printing evenly spaced. REMEMBER, the
key to legible writing is practice.
The Message Blank
Once you have mastered the phonetic alphabet and
practiced the principles of legible printing, the next
step is to learn about the message blank. As illustrated
in figure 1-5, a typical signal bridge message blank has
spaces for the different parts of the message (the
different parts are discussed in chapter 3). It is also
broken down so that each group (for example, a
complete word or code group) of the text has a separate
space. This aids the counting of the groups. The
well-trained recorder can tell at a glance if the message
"Stand by your bag" is a statement that is
frequently heard on a signal bridge. As the flagbag
operator, it is your duty to ready your flagbag.
To become an efficient flagbag operator takes
work and practice; you must become familiar with the
contents of the flagbag to the point that you can close
your eyes and be able to locate the various flags.
Figure 1-5.Visual message blank.